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Monday, January 21, 2013

Arctic Animal Research Journal

Well...I think I'm almost ready to begin our first research project! Based on my (limited) understanding of Project-Based Learning, you want to provide opportunities for purposeful learning by presenting the students with a problem for them solve.

A little background...flashback to October in my classroom...
when we did our community unit, I had my brother write my class a letter asking about our community. He lives in Colorado and we live in South Carolina. He sent pictures of places that he lived, worked, and played, and he wanted to know about where we live, work, and play. This gave my students a purpose - we had to learn about our community so we could help my brother. They had a great time with it, and I do believe some of my kiddos were more engaged because of this approach. It also allowed for higher-order thinking skills because we were able to compare and contrast the communities. Because this approach went well, I am really excited about introducing our Arctic Animal project tomorrow!

We have already learned about penguins this year, and we took a break from the "cold" to learn about MLK last week. Now we are jumping back in. I found this GREAT website called Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears with ebooks on different levels and activities. We will read about life at the poles and introduce the Arctic Region. I will have students begin to brainstorm animals they think live in this region...all normal so far...until the alarm sounds on my phone with a message for me to check my email. I can make a big deal about this because I NEVER check my email in front of my kids - but it must be an emergency :)

On my email, there will be  a video link where a scientist (a.k.a my sweet husband) from the arctic requests our help! He will tell us about how they can't get their computers working right and they need help identifying some animals. He tells us he has sent us a package with all the details - we need to go get from the teacher mailboxes ASAP.

Of course, we ALL will get to get to go to the mailboxes where we find this:
Inside the box are pictures of animals he and his team of researchers need help identifying. He needs to know what the animal is, where it lives (land or water or both), what their babies are called and what they look like, what they eat, and what their predators are. He also included these journals for us to use while researching and he needs to hear back from us by Friday or Monday at the latest! Can we help him?

Here are the journals:
I had Staples bind these because our book binding machine didn't look like it was up to the's OLD. It was only $28 for 22 books. I have a terrible addiction to spending money at Staples.

The journals are available on my TpT store for $4, but I'll make them 1/2 off until tomorrow since you've read all of this!

Hopefully, my kiddos will take the bait and be SUPER EXCITED about the challenge of helping a REAL researcher from the Arctic. Talk about making the learning meaningful! I'll keep you posted this week on how things develop :)

What ways to do try to make the learning meaningful for your students?

1 comment:

  1. Do you still have the video you made? I would love to see it, to see if I could have my husband do something similar. Thanks! Looking forward to trying this!!