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Active Since: May 7, 2021
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Replies Created: 13

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Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    My preference is to have the students select their own approach for assessment.  Their responsibility is to select the style of assessment that works best for themselves and their project.  This does make things more complext, and certainly we do not start at that point - but it is the end goal.  We start by using assessment styles that I choose, but end by having the students determine how they should be assessed.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    The two most pressing challenges I face in leading or accessing inquiry-based activities occur as a result of my position.  I spend half of my day as a reading specialist, the other have as a teacher of gifted and talented students.  For both areas I use science as the vehicle for teaching the students - as much as is reasonable.  However, time becomes a significant issue as I only meet with students for 30 minutes per day.   For the gifted learners, the struggle becomes that they want more time on the projects and associated activities, time I cannot give them inclass.  Thus I have to work to develop aspects that are more independent, as well as try to include the classroom teachers.  For the reading students, we spend 4 days on traditional interventions and 1 day per week on our inquiries.  I am of the firm belief that science and social studies are two areas where students apply their language arts and math skills.  That they need to have application time as part of their curriculum.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    Our school started a monarch tagging program 3 years ago utilizing our prairie restoration garden.  This was done through Monarch Watch.  We started by initially counting how many monarch butterflies were seen over the course of a month, and how many milkweed plants we could count along with catapillars.  This was so that we had a baseline, and led directly to collecting data on types of plants vs butterflies, moths, can caterpillars.  We did have to ask the nighbors to quit collecting catapillars during our research.  We sent the tag information along with counts to Monarch Watch. Currently the data has been shared with Monarch Watch, the local naturalists, a group that helps maintain a prairie near our school, the teacher garden comittee, admin, and different students as they go through the grades. This next year we are organizing to start investigating ways to support specific species of insect life.  The data indicates that we are doing well with monarchs and admiral butterflies, as well as a wide ranger of bees and wasps.  They have completed the initial research on proposed modifications in the garden to try and encourage rusty patch bumble bees and karner blue butterfly.  Part of the investigation will involve the impact on other species.  My hope is that the students will present to the school board and county commissioners next year as part of seeking funding.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    I begin by sharing my own "I wonder..." moments and topics, and scaffolding student learning topics as the year progresses.  With the gifted learners I meet with daily I start the year with a topic and series of activities of my choice.  Very guided unit which encompases several topics and projects.  The next quarter students help me select the topics for projects.  The students make a list of possible topics to explore and help me narrow down the list.  Then I create the projects and experiences.  We work our way through student selected topics.  Within reason of course.  The next quarter students select topics and projects.  They write proposals for which standard they will study, how they will present their learning, and what assessment they will take (does not need to be pen and paper).  Then working in small groups they work their way through the projects with my support.  I do warn them in advance that I have the right to reject a proposal or request changes.  I have found that letting students share their interests combined with sharing my excitement about different subjects often leads to even more curiousity.  My philosophy is science is two fold: My attitude is "I don't know let's try it!" and "If you haven't made a mess you might not have done science."
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    I dicided to connectd with Feeder Watch since we have multiple bird feeders at my home, live right next to a forested park, and have additional feeders here at the school. The most challenging part for me was finding the time to simply sit and observe.  Over a period of 3 days I also discovered that the birds are more active at different times of the day. An additional challenge was the noise level associated with the school.  Both of these challenges will be something I have to consider if I engage in these types of activities with students. My goal for learning outcomes would incllude a social goal as well as a scientific.  Having the students track the data - especially over time - would lend itself to the science aspect.  Having students connect to their local environment and discover that even a relatively unknown individual can change the world would be the social aspect.  Changing our school yard changes the neighborhood which in turn changes our town, our county, our state, our country and eventually the world.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    Each day, each lesson is an opportunity to encourge curiosity or stiffle it.  The goal is to find the balance within ourselves that allows for freedom of thought and curiosity while also developing logical thinking skills.  Of course the second half of the equation involves getting through the standards, ensuring that students have enough base and background knowledge to move forward, and the skills that they will need in the next grade or phase of their life.  Ultimately, it starts with me nurturing my own sense of wonder, my own curiosity and drive to learn.   So much easier said than done.  So much.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    I'm afraid I had to complete this activity more than once as I kept getting distracted.  My school is on the edge of a small town, has a prairie restoration garden right on the side of the school, another large one down the hill, and a retaining pond that has been planted with  native plants.  I found myself repeatedly lost in thoughts or just the enjoyoment of listening. Makes me wonder how challenging it might be for my students.  It also reminded me of a listening activity I've done with students.  I play a piece of mustic that I hope they haven't heard before, ususally instrumental although sometimes it is from an Italian opera.  Their job is to find the story in the music and draw or write the story.  Sometimes a student will get so caught up in the music that they don't write or draw anything - but can orally share what they heard.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    As of right now I am focused on the concept that testing and data do not prove a hypothesis, rahter they can disprove a hypothesis and guide further investigations.  The importance of sharing data, being willing to openly critique the data and conclusions, and continue to test and explore cannot be over stated.  Doing so also helps promote a growth mindset and long term thinking.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    My day is spent divided evenly between gifted learners, and struggling learners.  I utilize project based learning and an integrated approach whenever possible.  For example, while I have to take time to do directed instruction in phonics, I find that science is the place where students apply their reading and writing skills.  Because of the needs of the two groups I teach, my focus is on both youth as scientists and global / local connections. Especially for the struggling learner, using hands-on, meaningful and engaging lessons offers strong support to the learner in multiple ways.  The other nice thing about making it local is the opportunity for students to first see that yes, they can have an impact on their world.  Shifting then to a more global perspective helps ensuer their awareness of a greater need and opportunities. The idea is that we do not have to be Dr. King, or Bill Gates to change the world.  There are many ways to have an impact both locally and globally.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    I have not used the specific citizen-science projects that I just read about.  The closest I have come is having students maintain a nature journal.  Each week, on the same day of the week when possible, we spend 20 minutes in the prairie garden and record in our journals.  Sometimes I provide a focus or other specifics.  There are some always required elements - noting the date, time, and weather. In the future I would include a focus on inverts or the phenology of plants in the garden.  The idea would be for the students to use their journal as a guide for inquiries and eventually a presentation to the class.  This will take some thought on how best to develop the project.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    It would be neat so see a longitudinal study done on their solutions, in particular with respect to Canada Warblers since they migrate between the two countries.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    My 3rd grade gifted students are conducting an experiement with darkling beetles while studying life cycles and food chains/webs.  This is an introduction to scientific thinking and processing.  While we go through every stop of the scientific method together, the goal is simply to familarize them with the process and how methodical it is.  I presented the question, "Which food is best for meal worms, oatmeal or cornmeal?"  We then discussed everything we might need to know before we can answer that question.  This leads us to making observations of the meal worms, and learning about darkling beetles and their life cycle.  Then together we make a guess as to which type of meal is best and give supporting reasons.  We do this as a whole group, although if anyone disagrees they are welcome to write their own response.  Often the students hypothesize that cornmeal is better for meal worms because it is in small pieces which is better for their tiny mouths. I then provide them with directions on how to test their hypothesis.  Each partnership is given 12 larva, they split them into 2 groups.  One container has cornmeal the other oatmeal.  Over the next couple of weeks we record how many of the larva has survived, how many  have turned into pupa and finally how many adults.  We then work together to analyze this data and make a conclusion. This activity blends aspects of both structured and guided inquiry.  The concepts I want to have them develop strong understand of is that when presented with a question or problem start by analyzing it.  This leads naturally into supporting our opinions or thoughts with facts and then how to use data to draw conclusions.  This is just an introductory experience, and is followed up by similar activities as we build awarness and comfort with inquiry.
  • Rebecca
    Participant
    Inquiry learning is, in general, initially innate for humans and some other species.  Objects capture our attention and curiosity, we explore those objects and draw conclusions about them.  As we mature that curiosity tends to lead our interactions with the world, sometimes with positive outcomes others with not so enjoyable endings.  Ultimately, they help us develop our own paradigm for understanding the world. In a classroom or work setting, the inquiry method is experiential, first hand, personal, and concept based.  It mimics much of the scientific method in that the learner asks a question, thinks about that question, predicts the answer based on their research and thought process, tests their thinking and draws conclusions.  Rather than being given conclusions the learner is provided with experiences, guidance, and resources to develop their own thinking.  Ultimately however, thinking must be challenged, defended, and when appropriate modified.
    in reply to: Intro to Inquiry #813241
Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)