Monday, October 3, 2011

Building Models in your classroom....

Okay, after my day of play...I am back to thinking about science.  Today we began our Ecosystems unit by building a model of a schoolyard environment. First we brainstormed what things we might put in our model - at first the kids said "a playground"  but I quickly told them this is a science model and we have to think small.  Eventually we got around to mentioning the three components that I had planned on: grass, soil and worms. 

Next we got into our small science groups where everyone has a job.  Getter 1 came and got the materials, Starter knew they would be first to start the job, Getter 2 would clean up and Reporter knew they would share out at the end.  The cutest thing happened as we were building our models...the kids said, "Let's turn out the lights so the worms will feel more comfortable while they are digging."  So we did...and we joyfully and silently watching the worms dig deep in the soil.    After we finished setting up the models, we placed them all on a table so that they were all in one spot.  Each day we can get the models to observe, water, etc..

We went back to our seats where the students began to pepper me with a million questions...when do we water them? How much? What about food?  That's when I said...well we need a plan. So together we developed a plan -
  • Water 2 X a day at Morning Work time and at Science Time
  • Water - 4-6 squirts (from a mister)
  • Start collecting food for the worms - dead leave or fruit peels
I then asked the kids to draw a diagram of what we built and label the soil, worms and seeds (for the future grass).  Many added other labels as well.  The last part was an "I wonder question."

Here is a sample of one of my students, Jordan's, notebook entry.

You can see how we talked about the materials, the plan, then drew the diagram which is Accurate, Big, Colorful and Detailed (ABCD).  He finished it by wondering how long the worm's would live...

 The final part to the beginning of making a model ecosystem was the class model.  I also made a model that is somewhat larger to keep just in case the students over water their models...Not that it will happen, just know that it might happen.

Looking forward to tracking the progress over the next few weeks as we add a few new elements each day....

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