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A Journey of Exploration Through Multiple Lenses

Sep 9, 2015 | Innovation, Maker

CM7yZRsWwAI5_hmBecoming increasingly aware of how important it is to see the same information from multiple perspectives, fourth graders are exploring American history (1400’s to current day) through multi-modal centers: art, music, maps, timelines and historical/historical fiction books.
Over the summer, Team 4 redesigned the Social Studies curriculum to incorporate more project-based learning and to build out inquiry stations. They started with essential questions: Why do people move? and How do they impact their environment when they leave? Now, several weeks into the school year, students are learning how to be curious, how to analyze the material, how to synthesize materials and how to find patterns/trends through different time periods. As expected, our young explorers are less focused on just hearing the content and more on acquiring it. They are experiencing rich analysis by observing, recording and sharing.
At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher introduces the content in a short mini lesson, raising big questions about that specific time period. Students take that content and review it through the lens of their chosen center, before they rotate through all of the centers. This process allows them to look deeply at their topic throughout the lesson. Data is ultimately captured and recorded in an inquiry notebook, a combination of a writer’s notebook and science notebook.
Realizing she has to wrap up for the day, Ms. Farnham says to her class, “OK, since we’re running out of time, we’ll pick this back up next week.” A chorus of students respond, “Awwwwww, no, it can’t be over yet!”
Supplementing their inquiry units, students participate in home learning options where they can earn points for badges (10 points = 1 badge). In order to earn a badge, they have to earn at least 10 points on the Home Learning Choice Board for each unit. Projects include making cornbread, building a compass, keeping a travel log book and manufacturing a beaver hat.
Every Friday afternoon, or Maker Friday, points are awarded to students who demonstrate exploration and learning. On the first Friday, they made passports where they will collect their Badges from the unit.
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CM7yZNCXAAAH_Fq  Passports copy