Monday, April 26, 2010

Inquiry Learning

Today we had a "teachable moment."  One of our students brought in a "mystery item."  So we became scientists!  Over the past several summers, I have participated in classes through Miami University's Green Institute.  The classes are taught using inquiry and teach us how to incorporate inquiry in the classroom.  With guided inquiry, I direct students to use their senses to gather information and collect data.  The last inquiry lesson we did was a Native American lesson on how the Wamponoag Indians used animals in their daily it's been awhile and we have missed it!  Today reminded me of why  inquiry is such a powerful teaching tool.

Students began by studying the object and drawing what they saw.  Then students asked questions about the object.  Where was it found?  Did an animal live in it?  Many students knew it was a bird's nest and cheered when that was confirmed.  Now, what type of bird created this nest?  It is extraordinary and unique.  We discussed what resources we could use to help us search for our answers.  Students decided books and the internet were the most useful tools.  Some students began to look right away.  We found an illustration of a Weaver Bird's nest and it looks very similar, however, it appears to be larger and use different materials. And we do not know the circumstances, but that is what inquiry is all about.  We will keep searching. We may never exactly know what type of bird created the nest, but that is okay.  We are learning how to ask questions and how to search for answers.  The students will learn more through the process.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.  We have been learning about taking care of our Earth.  This week, students learned about landfills and water conservation.  Today we created a class book on how we can help our Earth.  We also celebrated by taking an after school "field trip" to see DisneyNature's newest film Oceans.  The film was beautiful!  We saw many AMAZING creatures of the sea and how they live.  The film touches on how humans have hurt the oceans and creatures, but really focuses on ocean animals from around the world.  We would recommend it!  To learn more about the film, please visit

Please check back next week.  We have many exciting things happening!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roller Coasters

This week we studied forces of motion using a lesson from the book More Picture Perfect Science.  Last year Milford teachers were lucky to receive professional development from the authors of this book.  I am excited to be taking their class this summer through Miami University.
We began the lesson by reading Roller Coaster.  This simple, but powerful children's book shows readers the various emotions of riding a roller coaster from beginning to end.  You can see our students' roller coaster expressions above.
After the book, students were presented with several roller coaster challenges.  Could they get the ball to go faster?  Slower?  Could the ball go over a hill?  Two hills?  The ultimate challenge was to get the ball to go around a loop.  One group had success with this twice!
The next day we learned about gravity through the book I Fall Down.  Did you know that if there was no air a hammer and feather would land at the exact same time?  Check out this video.Apollo 15 feather drop

Monday, April 5, 2010

We've Missed You Miss Moore!

Students were surprised I did not pick them up from special today. Miss Moore did! They were so excited to see her. Miss Moore is now teaching in the autistic unit in Goshen Schools. Goshen was still off for spring break today, so Miss Moore could not resist stopping in and checking on her "first class." Students shared about what we have been learning and of course what they did over spring break. Mikey the Manatee was happy to be a part of this special photo.

Mikey the Manatee

Welcome Mikey the Manatee! Today we received our last buddy from Florida. Before we opened the package, students predicted what type of buddy would represent FL. Most students guessed alligator. We were pleasantly surprised to find Mikey and cannot wait to learn about manatees.