Learning Through Investigation

What can I say?  Students love to learn about science!  There are many different approaches educators take with regards to teaching the subject – with our class every lesson always involves kinesthetic learning with lots of differentiated instruction.  This term our theme is Habitat and Survival with a lot of focus on investigating and experimentation.

We began our exploration of the topic with a class discussion around habitat and what different living things need to survive.  In groups the students created webs.  Once the webs were complete I posted them up around the room.  The students came up with so many different ideas that I didn’t even think of!  The students were then given the opportunity to do a gallery walk to see the wonderful ideas their classmates came up with.  Each student was provided with sticky notes, which they wrote down one compliment about each web after they read them.  We discussed what informative compliments are.  For example, instead of writing “I like your web” or “it is nice”, write WHAT specifically you found interesting about the web.

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In the next segment I had the student rotate through science centres.  I love incorporating centres into a variety of subjects because it’s good way to meet the various learning needs of the students.  The students are engaged when there is variety and you key into their interests. 🙂

For one of the centres the students used Educreations (free App for iPad) to create a habitat through drawing and/or text.  The students experimented with the different features of the App and enjoyed using the microphone option to also explain what they drew & wrote.

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The students researched habitats further using the World Wide Web.  They worked individually and together to find answers posed regarding different habitats.  One thing I learned for myself for this centre is to have the site bookmarked PRIOR to the students beginning this centre!  The first group typed in the long address, and after a few attempts were able to start.  It was all ready to go with the other rotations, thanks to the first group!

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The other centres included learning about our new class pet, a Beta Fish (which they had an opportunity to name later).  They observed what is required for his habitat and how it may be different in the wild.  They also enjoyed the survival section which included experimenting with a mirror and noting what the Beta’s reaction was!

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I like to have the students moving around whenever I can, so one of the centres involved creating a skit demonstrating the positive and negative results of making specific changes to a habitat.  All the students had an opportunity to present their skits to the rest of the groups in the end.

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For assessment, I looked at the KWL charts and Exit Slips the students completed at the end of our webbing section, and for the centres it was mainly observation by me, reading over their centres booklets, and individual/group assessments provided by the students.

It was cool hearing the students talking to each other about the different centres and sharing what they learned during other times of the day.  As an educator it feels good knowing when your students have been fully engaged, and actually learned a little something as well! 😉

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