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Showing posts with label inquiry learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inquiry learning. Show all posts

Building Blocks Stations: Playing With Purpose

The week before spring break and all through the school...there's a full moon in the sky and the teachers didn't know what to do...

Our little kiddos have a look. You know what I mean. It's a crazy kind of wild eyed look they get when they need a break! I try to finish up all of my FOSS kits right before break so that I can finish the school year with the last kits I need to do, so one last week of FOSS Balance and Motion. I wanted to find a great way to tie in the concepts of rolling, spinning, and sliding and wanting to make it completely hands on! I LOVE Legos and so did my son. He is now almost 14 and the Lego box has not come out in a while. Why not pull them out and take them to school for my first graders to play with.

Did I say play? Okay...what I really meant was learn with. No...I really did mean play! I am so very fortunate to be able to use my time to integrate fun ways to tie in our concepts through toys and STEM activities! I try to find ways to play with a purpose whenever I can!

So what I did was planned 6 stations that had the students rotating once they finished the building and reflection sheet...they could move onto the next station.

What I didn't realize as my first graders started working and playing with the Legos is that on average 4-6 students per class had never played with Legos before. Legos are expensive and I teach at a school that is 82% poverty. Sometimes I forget that the opportunities that my own children had are not accessible to my students. I realized that these stations meant more than I originally thought!

Wanting to set up these fun Stations in your room? Here is the linkto my TPT store...Give these stations a try!

I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite poets..."It is a happy talent to know how to play." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Makey Makey Magic

STEM is about all four of those amazing letters! S=science...T=technology...E=engineering...and M=math! I was able to save some of my science budget money this year to invest in MaKey MaKey Boards for our school. My wonderful librarian and I are coordinating efforts to teach our students how to use them! I was a little nervous about setting up a lesson about something based on technology with no background in this product at all. I took a kit home...played around with it with my son...and wow it was amazing how exciting it was when I played my first banana bongo!

My students in fifth grade are two weeks ahead of schedule...so I decided to bring out the Makey Makey Boards...create a lesson linked with lessons found on Scratch and the rest is magic!

Here is what I did...
1. I first showed them the Makey Makey set up video...

2. I shared with them the scientific process and made sure that they knew that it was about trying...testing...troubleshooting...and then sharing!

3. Then, I shared with them how to get to the assignment...I set up a google classroom for the students to enter and find my sheet with direct links on. This is helpful when using one computer and one Makey Makey box per table.

4. Their goal was to first, make an instrument out of what was placed on their table. This is the fun part...on each table I placed a tray with different objects. (veggies, fruits, foil, play dough, school snacks, and treats) They are all great conductors!

5. I give them a piece of aluminum foil to ground themselves to. They can make a bracelet or arm band or even a ring.

6. I then let them have at it! It only took three minutes and I heard music once they got into the google classroom sight.
7. Once they play some music...they then have to create a controller for a game! They can choose Mario Brothers, Pac Man, or Tetris. Each of these games can be found at Scratch: Explore. I then looked for music and games then reviewed them.

I found this on my hunt to teach MaKey MaKey lessons...great fun connection to use if you want to!

8. We finish our fun up with groups able to create an art project that uses graphite to draw pathways that connect to the MaKey MaKey board! Not all groups get to this task...but before we wrap up we complete the sheet and rate the lesson! On a scale of 1-5 we averaged a 5 on this one!

MaKey MaKey Freebie Sheet and Links I used...
What I learned...using new technology might be scary at first, but the kids pick up on it faster than you think. Give something new a try...you might find out that your kids will love it! And so will you!

Science: Inquiry Based Learning...Rock ON!

Our new inquiry activity in the library based on what we are doing in science and I love how excited the kids are. This time, we focused on the rock cycle and shells! Check out our corner...
I wonder...the students are writing I wonders, but not based on rocks or shells...so we are reteaching:)

If you were a geologist, what question would you ask about these rocks? Inside the binder, we had some great questions that we will make into a book for the library!


Rockin' It...Inquiring Minds Want to Know

We now have a name for our inquiry based library corner...the Encorner!

OK let me explain...

The PE, art, library, music...and me the science teacher are called ENCORE...otherwise known as specialists. Prep time classes!

So, encorner works because we are all working together to create inquiry based questions and activities for our kiddos at our school. This corner was a success...using rocks from the 3rd grade unit along with scales, books and our inquiry question..."If you were a geologist what is a question you might want to know about rocks and minerals?"

Here is our Encorner for the next two weeks. Stay tuned we are working on a motion corner...PE, music, art, library, and science...WHOA!
Rock on! We even put our kiddos rock collections into the locked glass case. They feel so proud of their rock finds. 

Here is our I wonder board on the first day...not all about rocks, but they still wonder...


Science Inquiry Based Learning In The Library!

Sunflower Inquiry Freebie

This year, we have a few new ENCORE or specialists in our building. I love our new librarian, music teacher, EBD teacher, and of course I already loved our PE and art teachers. We make a great team. This year, with our new librarian we are working on incorporating each of our special areas and tying it into the library through inquiry based learning. I took a summer class based on this way of teaching science and due to the fact that we use FOSS I have been trying to twist our questions to fit this model. This week, in the library corner we are focusing on seeds and sunflowers. We just harvested them from our school garden. Take a look at how the art teacher and librarian have helped make this corner wonderful!
Books, pictures, artists, and I wonders...

Seeds, tweezers, books, and ...

An inquiry question and activity!
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