Friday, 20 April 2012

Nature Walk: Living and Non Living

This term, we are very excited to be embarking on a new topic.  We are going to explore living things.  But, we feel very strongly that students learn best by doing and when their learning is interactive and hands on.    We want our kids to guide their own learning.  We will not be standing at the front of the class spouting facts about different living things.  Instead the kids and their wonders will guide us.  But, before we get started we want to check for understanding and establish some background knowledge.  First order of business, a nature walk.

Armed with clipboards, magnifying glasses and pencils we headed outside.  The kids were asked to to write down everything they noticed.  We walked around the school examining trees, litter, rocks, spider webs and playground equipment.

Once inside, we sat in a sharing circle and each student shared one thing from their list.  As they shared from their list I wrote down what they shared on recipe cards.  Now we had 22 different objects from outside.  Next, we played a game where I showed a card and they had to decide whether the item was living or non- living.  We classified (a grade one process of science) our items and created a two column chart on the chalk board using masking tape.

There was a lot of great discussion and big thinking about how to tell whether an object is living or non- living.  Part way through our discussion we realized we needed to add a new column.  We decided to call this category, "used to be living" in order to provide a list for leaves that had fallen to the ground and dead spiders.

After our discussion, the students were asked to go back and work in their science notebooks.  I wanted them to classify the objects on their personal lists and record their classification in their notebooks.

This is a great opportunity to see the children's thinking skills in action.  How will they classify their own lists and how will they represent their learning?  Will they use a t-chart, a labelled diagram or a web.  These are all different tools that the students have been exposed to throughout the year from their peers and modeled by their teachers.  This open ended type of activity allows every child to succeed and show what they know.

This lesson leads nicely into our next lesson, what living things need to survive?  To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. I like how the children were allowed to choose how they wanted to represent their knowledge (categories), either through webs, charts, diagrams, or in writing. A great example of differentiated learning!