How do the landforms and bodies of water surrounding us affect how we live? Where did these things come from in the first place? Why are there so many different strange tools in the world? How and why were these tools discovered?
There are so many questions to answer that sometimes it is hard for a teacher to know where to start! Thankfully, 2nd and 3rd graders are great helpers in this. Giving them an interactive challenge or visual example usually leads them to ask the questions most relevant to them. These are the questions that sometimes a teacher might miss- and it would be a shame if we did!
English (Asking Questions)/Science/Arts and Crafts: What is this?
Prep: Find a few strange objects or tools that the children might not have seen before (I used a collapsible cup, a battery powered engraver, and an 8-minute hour glass).
Task: Divide the children into groups and give them the challenge of guessing what it is and predicting how it is used OR asking questions about where it comes from or what we can do with it.
Assessment: Can they work together in their group to consider what the object is? Are they able to ask their questions to the other group? Did they think about the answers to their questions or what we cannot answer without knowing more? Can they make a connection between these strange objects and their use or reason for being invented?
Testing what they learned (Homework with parental help): Students need to think of one unique object they have and look closely at it at home. The next day, students will have time to draw this object and then other students can ask questions (NOT YES OR NO QUESTIONS) to try and guess what it is.
Reflection: This worked extremely well! But it was really important that parents helped the students to find a unique object that they can describe. I thought about having the students bring the object to class but was cautious about in. The final test really helped us to inquire about where all of these strange tools come from and why people need different tools depending on where they live sometimes.
English (Vocabulary)/PSHE: Learning about Landforms
Prep: 2 different videos about landforms/bodies of water (to compare after) and “My Landform” book.
Task: Watch the videos and discuss which one the students liked more and why.
Assessment: Have the students write the correct landform in each page of the book and then make their own examples.
Give them some examples of different landforms or bodies of water and have them label or add their own.
Testing what they learned: Next class prepare a list of all the landforms and bodies of water from the video or mentioned in class. Cut out each of the words and have the students take turns saying which is a landform and which is a body of water. Some may be more difficult than others so be prepared with examples!
English/PSHE: Tools, Wants, and Needs (The Dessert Island Dozen)
Prep: Basic vocabulary about tools for survival. Worksheet.
Task: Students work individually and then in groups to decide what they would take with them to survive.
Assessment: Are students able to list items they would take and discuss it with their partner? Can they agree on which things they think are important?
Testing what we learned: Write student answers on the board. Have students take turns circling the items in a different color depending on if they are wants (blue), needs (red), or in-between (black).
Science/English: Order of an investigation/landform experiment
Prep: Order of experiment activity (review), plastic container with some dirt or sand, cup and water.
Task 1: In groups students should but the sequence of an experiment together. THEN, using this order discuss landforms. How did these landforms form? Use a lake as an example and have students make guesses. Write the larger questions on the board and discuss.
Task 2: After we have inquired and made our hypothesis, we should test it! Bring out the plastic and dirt/sand and ask what will happen if we make a hole and pour water in. Will the water stay and make a lake? Have the students write their guesses on the board and then test it! It is a good idea to record the experiment to communicate it later!
Assessment: Repeat the experiment and make new predictions! Our first guesses were not as close as we would have liked them to be. BUT if we repeat the experiment more than once we will get closer and closer to the result!
Reflection: Even though this experiment is extremely simple it really helped us see that landforms (such as lakes) don’t form so easily. There is a lot more to it! Over the next few weeks we will be investigating landforms in different places around the world and learning how people live differently based on their different environments.