Science

PENGUIN RESEARCH

Project Background

This project was aimed towards kindergarten children.  We have recently completed the majority of this project with what I would consider a successful result.  My goal for the project this year (last year I did a similar project with slow internet, no ipads, one computer and absolutely no awareness of Aurasma or Draw&Tell – so it was a paper presentation and very ‘flat’!) was to make it more alive, to make it more visual, to make it more student directed and student focused as well as for it to have a ‘amazing’ finish for the presentation!

The project basically followed along like this:

1. Children research various habitats via the internet, books and tweeting other classes/people.  Then then create a habitat poster.

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2. From there we narrowed it down to focusing on one habitat (we will be returning to the other habitats in our next project which will be focused on their own choice of animal).

We focused on Antartica and polar animals, in particular penguins. We created questions based on a KWL chart, taking ownership of our own question.  From these questions I helped them to gather information, research findings and we placed it on pages documents which included pictures, text and links to website and video clips.  They then revisited this pages document several times to really learn about the answer to their question, share with other, discuss the best way to verbally answer the question and a variety of other activities associated with their own question.

Examples of research documents the children and I created for further research:

How do penguins walk? PDF

How do penguins slide? PDF

 

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3. After completing various forms of research and activities the children started working on presenting their findings.  To do this we used Aurasma and Draw&Tell.  During this year and during this project the children had to learn how to use Aurasma, the purpose and meaning behind it as well as Draw&Tell.  I have found both of these tools the children respond extremely enthusiastically too and it covers my goal of late being able to export it and present to other people in and around our school, parents as well as around the world.

The children videoed each other talking about the answer to their question and used visual pictures / drawings as well to explain the answer.  We then created penguins pictures to use as the trigger picture.

We held an presentation party with another KG class in our school where they presented their research via ibooks and my class with Aurasma.

The Draw&Tell was used for their responses to explaining why fiction and non fiction books are different as well as why animals appear different between fiction and non fiction books.

 

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Final project thoughts…

From start to finish the children were engaged!  This is what I was definitely hoping for.  I was continuously hearing chatter amongst them about research and things they had ‘just found out’ on the spot!  Being able to have instant access to the ‘world’ via internet, our class twitter account, you tube etc I was able to challenge them to find answers to their question instantly which gave them an instant satisfaction…which created a ripple effect amongst each other as well as developing a desire to “learn more”!

Creating the documents based on their own questions allowed them quick and easy access to revisit their thoughts, learn more as well as visit other peers question/answers as well.  They could access these from school or home at their leisure and I would often find them being accessed during free choice time.

The final presentation was a huge success and it really helped the children feel a sense of achievement that they could inform other people as well as being astounded by Aurasma (which they now refer to as “magic paper”).

By using various digital tools throughout this project both in the process and the presentation I believe it helped to keep the children engaged, allowed a platform for all learners to achieve at their own pace and in their own style.  It catered for EAL students, students who could gather from pictures, video or text alone and challenged the high achievers who could make meaning from all – it therefore allowed for differentiation among my students as well as participation from all!

The students collaborated, participated and transparently showcased their research and learning!

Next steps…

The final steps to complete is to place the Aurasma and Draw&Tell presentations on the class blog and make it accessible to the visitors, tweeting out the link to our other friends / classes around the world.

TREES

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that:

  • Trees are a natural resource.
  • We have a responsibility to our earth.
  • Trees have defining characteristics
  • Trees change for many reasons.
  • In science we investigate and communicate our observations and findings.

Essential Questions

  •  What is a tree?
  • Why must trees change? (Do all trees change?)
  • Why is it important to protect trees?
  • Why do we ask questions?

Skills

The student will . . .

  • Observe and describe the properties of trees and leaves in the schoolyard
  • Compare the similarities and differences of the trees and leaves observed
  • Compare shapes of leaves to geometric shapes
  • Compare the size and edges of leaves using reference cards
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with properties and structures of trees and leaves
  • Gain early experiences that will contribute to their understanding of several pervasive themes that relate one scientific idea to another: Structure and Change
  • Observe trees throughout the school year and changes that come
  • Help plant and care for a tree
  • draw and speak to describe observations

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