5th grade's inquiry into How We Express Ourselves gave students and opportunity to collaborate and practice looking at problems with a variety of perspectives. Their central idea, Open minded communicators grow their thinking through collaboration, helped drive their learning and the fifth graders gained valuable, life-long lessons about working together!
These are two of several examples of a performance task where students worked together to make something that represented their working together. They had the opportunity to explain their creation and the group process to create it.
One of our PE teachers, Cheryl Wardell, recently led students through an inquiry into balance. Rather than "cover" the standards, she decided to allow them to explore this concept with some guiding questions and discovery:
Can you balance on one body part?
Does it just have to be your foot?
Can you balance on a different body part?
Can you do a 3 body part balance?
What does a balance look like?
How long do you need to hold it to count as a balance?
Can you connect your balance to your partner?
Can you and your partner connect to another pair?
Can you balance at different levels and with different base of support or body parts?
These are a few of the questions asked as they explored balance in 1st and 2nd grade. The students were so creative and not only had great balance, but were cooperative with their partners!
Learning through inquiry is FUN, engaging and relevant to our learning targets!
Units of Inquiry often begin with a provocation. A way to "hook" the students and get them excited about their new learning. To kick off their How We Organize Ourselves unit, 2nd grade students participated in a "market simulation."
Without much discussion, students were given $10 (pretend cash) to spend at "stores." Before shopping, consumers got to take a peek at the products and services being sold through various advertisements. Parents were running the stores... and WOW did they talk up their products/services! The excitement was through the roof and students couldn't wait to spend their money.
Once shop opened up, students were able to make choices about how to spend their money. This was tough, as products and services ranged from $1 to $10. Half way through the market, consumers paused while shop owners reflected (aloud) on their sales, their prices, and how much product they had left. At this point, they could change their sale price as they wanted. This caused for frustration in some kids, "I paid $10 for this poster and now it's only $5!", excitement in others, "Yes! Now I can afford the headband!" and curiosity in many, "Should I buy that now that it's cheaper?". Students could also make the choice to save their money; which proved very hard for most to do!
This experienced replicated SO many of the concepts that will be studied in their upcoming unit. It was a fantastic provocation, made possible by the work of the teachers and the AMAZING sales pitches by the parents. I've never seen a market simulation like this!
The school year is in full swing and learning is evident throughout the building...