Thursday, September 29, 2011

Science Experiments and Activities

What a crazy day! I had to put myself in the hallway this morning because I had 27 students running walking around loud and aimlessly this morning, along with 4 other adults standing there watching and not helping manage them. My blood pressure sky rocketed through the roof!!! I put myself in the hallway to calm down and remind myself not to cry, save it for later, things could always be worse.

BUT, things started looking up this afternoon! I have a double special (when my little buzzers go to Gym and Art) so I went into a fellow first grade room to teach them how to do individualized spelling! It was SOOO good. Great therapy! My attitude brightened because I had to show off my mad teaching skills, ya know.

Anyway, onto Science! I have no pictures from this year. Remember, I am studying bees as a starter project since our theme in our classroom is Busy Bees! The kids LOOOOOVE it!

Since I don't have pictures from that, I want to share a project-based learning unit we did last year. I came up with this totally on the fly. Remember in I think October, when rescuers FINALLY reached the Chilean Miners that were trapped underground? I remember like yesterday. I found a live internet feed and showed my kiddos right away that morning of the first miner being lifted up in the capsule. They started asking these AMAZING questions, dealing with science, social studies, math, and much more. I started writing them all on the whiteboard because they were so engaged in the live internet feed. THANK GOD for smartboards!!!

They had to rush off to Art right after that, of course, just my luck. But I continued to do research to answer their questions that whole planning period. I found amazing news articles, more footage, etc. When they came back from Art, they wanted to know how many more miners had been freed while they were in Art. They took such ownership and showed incredible empathy toward each and every miner and their family. I literally threw out my lesson plans for that day and the next because we studies the miners and the country to Chile for the next two days.

The kids were anxious to know how big the capsule was that the miners were being rescued in. We researched, found the measurements, and "built" our own. My little buzzers then wrote notes on the capsule to the miners and their families. The messages were SO heartfelt.
They also were curious as to how big/small the mine shaft was. So, in true teacher fashion, we measured that out too (our reading buddies helped us this time). We did that on the playground and made a chalk etching of it so they could go back during recess and "play" miners.

 This was my first unofficial project based learning unit. I hate to call it official because it was totally on the fly. But the kids remembered that ALL year and I'm sure they will remember it FOREVER. I know I will. We even had two local news stations come out and interview us. You can find one of the articles HERE.

I hate to say I hope there are more national news things we can research, but it is such a great way to teach a plethera of subjects and "teach" empathy at the same time. I will forever watch the national news stories to gain more ideas on project based learning units!


1 comment:

  1. What an authentic teaching moment. I like the life size replicas.