Denver Museum of Nature and Science was the location for a week long teacher training on a subject I am passionate about- inquiry based learning. In particular, inquiry based science learning. Like it’s a whole new thing, the educators in ivory towers are beginning to see this as the “new” way towards building the whole learner. Hmmmm……and the International Baccalaureate has been doing it this way for how long???
Anyway, my bias aside…..the New Generation Science Standards are bringing inquiry into the classrooms and that’s what’s important in my book.
Space -the Final Frontier
As the USA moves forward into the latest “trend” in education( I know, I’ll get off my high horse in a minute) , we moved into our next unit of inquiry. Actually, we, wasn’t actually me and my fifth graders. It was our 4th graders. I was the avid spectator since I will be teaching this grade next year and I’d been asked by a school in Puerto Rico to develop a Space unit of inquiry!!! ( wooohoooo!!!)
The theme is How the World Works and the central idea is focusing on how space exploration throughout the years has led to our greater understanding of our place within the universe. This was a very interactive inquiry with my usual interactive notebook technique, experiments, researching and even rocket science! And, of course, all trans-disciplinary. I am truly passionate about this way of thinking and learning, to the point that I wish to share the love through my stores where I share the units I develop for the kids. It takes me about 6 weeks to complete a unit of inquiry, since I am actually using each and every activity and lesson with my kids. They are my beloved guinea pigs…..and are NOT shy with their opinions! (mostly positive, phew)
Staying on Our Science Kick…..
You will recall our adventures with the Human Body Unit of inquiry? Oh yes, the shenanigans just continued. Not satisfied with a chorus of “anus”, we created the end result from our digestive system ( oh, yes I did!!), using bread and lemon juice, developed working lungs ( destroying a few diaphragms in the process) and delved into (literally) the lungs of a smoker and a pig. Hey, the concepts were connection and function! What’s a 5th grade PYP teacher to do BUT delve?!
As always, my complete IB units of inquiry are interactive, engaging and rigorous.
|The kids summative assessment pieces blew me away with their knowledge, creativity and CONNECTION! Love me some IB Key Concepts
Please feel free to ask any questions regarding teaching within the international Baccalaureate’s PYP . I would be happy to try to help. Also, if you ever have any questions about any of my products, let me know.