Me to students : Does that make sense?
Students to me: (after a while)...not really...
Their understanding of "energy" during the pre-assessment task also reflected a superficial knowledge of the term. And thus our unit of inquiry started. As I was browsing the net, I came across this picture prompt- a map, which I thought would serve as a great provocation. The annual energy consumption per person. Kids love guessing where countries are, so it was a great way to address some geography at this point.
I had also been reading Craig Dwyer's post which inspired me to change my inquiry cycle and use a simpler one. Wonder (while exploring)- Explore (while wondering)- Create (while reflecting)- Reflect (with subsequent wonderings). I was feeling more at ease now. The map allowed the students to make a lot of inferences based on patterns which slowly started emerging during our class discussions. Here is a visual of their wonderings once they went home and revisited the map on their class blog.
Over the weekend, I requested the students to help out with resources. I had no clue what they would come up with, but it had to be something to do with energy. Now the part where I step aside.
At this point, no knows how we are going to sort all this junk into centers.
My students suddenly took charge. The junk would remain where it was. They would pick what they wanted and work with whom the felt like. Here is what happened next...
Soon I would need to step back in and ask them to share their newfound understandings, thoughts and wonderings. Maybe after another day of uninhibited, joyful exploration. How do you feel the unit should go on from here?
Second day: Notice how the students' creations are becoming more sophisticated.
A day later, posted on our class blog...Student action (Inquiry Phase - Create)
Following our tuning-in activity, we are moving into the guided inquiry phase. A class discussion is in progress.
Task: What do the pictures depict: Kinetic or potential energy?
Here, the students were asked to visit a website (in the form of a QR code) and take notes. However, the next day, they didn't seem to have a clear idea about the different types of energy. I put them into groups and asked them to explain the various types of energy to each other. Suddenly, the whole energy level changed. Watch!
I realised how technology was being used seamlessly by the students. Watch how they are using their ipads, androids and other gadgets.
At this point we stopped and reflected about each source of energy. We then asked as many questions as we could think of in order to clarify our growth in understanding. The sorting out of the questions into various concepts was great fun.
During the short holiday, my students will be researching about renewable sources of energy. My colleague and I have identified a few questions which will help guide them in our absence.
I came across the wonderful website www.thekidsshouldseethis.com which I think is absolutely brilliant. There are some delightful videos on energy. One particular one took the fancy of my students:
This inspired them to do something for the class too.Their idea is not new of course, yet it provided them with a great opportunity to understand what inquiry in real life meant.
Check out their to-do plan which I have posted on a padlet.