Category Archives: Research

Biomes for Everybody

Our fifth grade has been working on biomes, interdependence between plants and animals, and food webs. Some of the classes came and did research on it in the library but each focused on it in different ways. One class researched the biomes, but wanted more focus on the interdependence portion and then used Discover Ed to create boards about their biome. Another class researched the same things but then focused more on going in depth on particular animals in the biome to trace out food webs for the biome. We will be creating a Google Slides presentation showing the information and creating a food  web with images or using shapes. Here are a few pictures of some of the boards they created in Discovery Ed. There are more to them than what you can see if you scrolled down the pages, but I couldn’t fit it all in to take a picture. (We talked about making the backgrounds reflect their biome and they did a great job while still being creative, I think!)

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What Pet to Get?

I introduced the Super 3 to my Kinders recently and wanted to use a real life situation to help them understand the process. So, we talked about getting a new pet. We talked about the questions you would need to think about before you get a new pet, how you could learn about it, and then we voted using the SMARTboard to see what pet we would research that day to help us decide what to get. I think it is important for kids to see how the research process is not just for school but also for thinking through any real life decision or question. It was really interesting that different classes had different animals that won the vote, two classes were dogs, one was cats, and two were gerbils. Here are some photos of one of the classes voting. This also let us practice 1 to 1 counting and which is the biggest number when we counted up the votes.

Polar Chatterpix

Third graders have been working on our research process, the Big 6. Lately, we have been researching a polar animal and then working together to combine their information to write a script and create a Chatterpix. They did a great job! One note to remember is that the Chatterpix Kids app only allows you to narrate up to 30 seconds, so some of them wrote more but it wouldn’t all fit. We used the ipads we got with our grant earlier this year, but it would go a lot faster if we had more than two.

Here are some of the final ones we have filmed so far.

Polar Bears

I am finishing up a short unit on polar bears with second grade. We spent a couple of weeks on it and covered things like our Super 3 research process, sources of information, considering the actual source of information, and organizing our information. The second graders looked at a nonfiction polar bear e-book and how to log in to our e-books first. Then, we used some videos from Polar Bears International and talked about sources from people studying polar bears are going to be more trusted sources than random videos we could find on google. Finally, we looked at National Geographic’s webpage. We made these flip booklets as we went. Here are some shots of a few finished ones.

Finding Winnie

I have been working my way through the NCCBA books with my K-2 students, and always think of so many ways I can use them in later years for other lessons. This past week, we were reading Finding Winnie and it was one of those books. As I was reading it, there were so many tangents you could go on – how transportation and life has changed in the last 100 years, biographies, WWI, family trees, and so on – but my favorite idea that I think I can see myself using a lot is PRIMARY SOURCES. The book has a section at the back with photos of the actual people involved in the story along with photos of items like Harry’s diary where he wrote he bought a bear and the zoo card that showed Winnie coming to the zoo and some other information about her such as date acquired, where from, death date, etc. This could be an excellent introduction to primary sources in future years, and could even start with these BEFORE we read the story and have them make predictions about the story the evidence tells. Then, we could use other primary sources sets from the Library of Congress to do something similar and make predictions about what the sources or photos tell us.

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Apps for iPad Minis

We have recently purchased two iPad minis for the library to use with classes thanks to a grant. We are hoping to eventually get up to about 10 or 12 so students can work in small groups to use apps (you can help us do this with our Donor’s Choose project!). The first ones I am considering using are the Stickbot app for stop motion animation, Chatterpix for kids to do something similar to Blabberize (but easier), and Shadowpuppets edu that allows kids to create narrated slide shows. All would still include research, but would give them some different, more fun and more thoughtful presentation forms than simply writing it out somehow. Did I mention these are all free apps? (Although I did buy a Stikbot kit that includes a green screen, a blue screen, and some poseable people from Costco.)

I am especially excited about the stop motion animation because in order to create it, the students have to actually understand it, storyboard it, think of how to represent it, and then create. I also think it will get them far more engaged and excited about a project.

What apps do you use in the classroom or library and what would you recommend for me?

 

Owls and Bats

I try to do something with a bit of the season without doing Halloween in my classes, so I often do owls and bats with my first graders. They do Stellaluna and a bat/bird comparison in class, so we do bats and owls and take it a little different direction with adding some type of technology. This year we started with a PowerPoint because the kids have not practiced with images and typing much yet and they loved it! We spend a week on owl research, a week on bats, and a week on dividing similarities and differences. We are finishing up typing the information and will add images this week. Here are a few “in progress” shots. (Sorry some are sideways! I upload them and rotate them, then it changes back!)

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