25 May 2014

Science inquiry - Why is Planet Earth the best place for me to live?

This term's school-wide inquiry is a Science them of outer space....

Our key understandings:
* The earth is the ideal place to live because it has water, atmosphere, food, gravity, animal live and the right temperature. 
* The sun is vital to our existence as it gives us light and heat. 
* The moon affects the earth. 
* Space is vast and made up of many galaxies.

The core knowledge:
* The earth is ideally located from the sun to have a temperature range that supports all kinds of life. 
* The sun gives light and heat. 
* Planets and moons rotate and orbit around the sun or their planet. (Rotation produces day and night. Orbit produces years.) 
* There are different types of astronomical bodies e.g. stars, comets, asteroids, planets, protoplanets, moons. 
* Each planet has a unique gravity, atmosphere, surface and composition.

Due to a combination of many factors (a nine-week term, a senior production happening in Week 3, my student teacher being on posting with 8 days of control in Weeks 4-6, and speeches happening before the end of term) I have broken the inquiry into three sections:
  • Weeks 1-3 (mainly 1-2 due to rehearsals for the show) are our exploration weeks, running on a Star Trekking theme - 
  • Week 1: the children contributed their first thoughts about the inquiry question to a padlet.com page and then, during reading time, the pupils used the links on a class blog post to find out about one of the planets:  Week One: classroom/student blog post - Star Trekking mission #1
  • Week 2-3: they can use the links on this blog post - Star Trekking mission #2 - to find out about other celestial bodies in our universe, whichever they were interested in.  We had first completed a group brainstorm of space-related words.  I have also given a list of the main words to our ESOL pupils so they can bring in their home-language words for the word-wall.
My  student teacher began a Social Sciences inquiry based on celebrations last term and will continue this in Weeks 4-6, coinciding her inquiry activities with the Maori New Year celebrations "Matariki" (the late May/early June appearance of the Pleides above the southern horizon) so this fits really well with our science theme.

In Week 7 the children will use the information they have learned to write a speech about any aspect of the topic (if they choose to) and for Weeks8-9 I plan to have a few HOT activities eg questions to debate, such as 'If we had to leave Earth, where would we go and what would we need to have?'  or "Which is more important - sunshine or water?"
Some other bits and pieces I have found along the way...

A great introductory/motivational video:

A cool video with examples of how to show the proportions of the planets and sun etc with everyday objects:

11 May 2014

Awesome poem...

Found this reverse poem "Lost Generation" by Jon Reed being used as motivation for a writing unit on the Runde's Room blog.  I doubt I will use it with my pupils, I think it is more suited to Year 7 & 8, but I am a bit of a collector of poetry so I just love this...

2 May 2014

2014: Inquiry: Being a life-long learner

Term One 2014 - INQUIRY - How can I be a life-long learner?
The wall display at the end of the term - most activities were digital and are on the pupil blogs.
Reason for this inquiry: 
* We have a new school logo, slightly changed motto and vision statement.
* The logo has children with backpacks – in these backpacks they put their learning tools: we need to introduce these images and concepts and help the children embrace them as their own philosophy.

HOST CURRICULUM: HEALTH - target curriculum level: Three (Year Six pupils)

Understandings: (Big Ideas/Key Concepts) 
  • I am unique; so is everyone else. 
  • I have different strengths that complement the strengths of others. 
  • Making healthy choices helps my learning. 
  • Great learning happens in partnership. 
  • I am responsible for my own learning.
Core Knowledge: (Baseline knowledge)
  • We can create our own toolkit for learning: SMARTS, turn-ons/turn-offs,school vision/motto/quotes/values; personal learning goals, making healthy choices (relationships, attitude, food, exercise, hygiene, sleep), working in partnership with others.
Inquiry Skill: Thinking      Key Competency: Managing myself      Value: Self-responsibility
Strategy: Six Thinking Hats         Blended Learning Opportunities: blogging, photos, tagxedo etc

Some of the concepts: motto, vision, competencies, backpack (toolkit) for learning
And, following our EDENDALE inquiry process, there was a huge range of possible learning activities...

(Covering the information in the core knowledge to build up a base of understanding to help pupils learn the Big Ideas.)

Attitude - having an attitude that is positive and healthy is important:
What the competencies mean for us...
We carried out a variety of discussions and activities to reinforce the key understandings, and found that our Year Six Camp was the most relevant activity of the whole term for pupils to be able to put the concepts into action!
Showing we were lifelong learners with our activities at camp...
Pupils used the experience for a variety of follow-up activities - writing about their demonstration of the aspects needed to be a lifelong learner - many of these were expressed with digital tools...

Year Six Camp from Edendale Primary School on Vimeo.

Take Two News 2014 - Year Six Camp from Edendale Primary School on Vimeo.

E is for Explore!: Kandinsky Math

This is a blogpost with a cool way to incorporate art and maths (fractions) - I have used Kadinsky's circles before, will definitely use again!

E is for Explore!: Kandinsky Math