Sunday, July 5, 2015

Science Fair in the Classroom: Creating Interactive Learning Centres for Our Younger Friends

Have you ever wondered what to do in those last few days of school with your class?
I have had a wonderful group of grade 6 leaders this year and I thought it would be great to end of our year just as strong as we started off. So, I asked my students to consider partnering up with their younger friends in the grade 1 & 2 classes. These grade 1 and 2 students, partnered with my class all year visiting our classroom for puppet shows, iMovies, our inclusion gallery & performing arts center, etc. We have also visited their classrooms to act as reading buddies, help facilitate turkey and Easter egg hunts and so much more! My class really wanted to create something fun for their younger friends and landed on the idea of doing a small-scale science fair. 
Our school has often called on the support of places like Scientists in the School (more info here) to help deliver our science curriculum, make it more interactive, hands on and fun. As much as I have appreciated using this service in our school, it gets costly and I have only been able to have them come in once a year for one unit of study. With my students running our science fair, I realized that they set up a very similar style program for their younger friends and for only a fraction of the cost…almost entirely free!
What my students did:

·    They each formed groups and began to search for interesting science experiments that they would like to lead for their younger friends. After they decided in their groups which experiments they really wanted to do, they researched the actual science behind it and made sure they understood what they were talking about. Some of the groups did science experiments from learning they did in previous years and some did science experiments with science topics they haven’t even learned about yet! An example of this was the Density group. What a rich learning opportunity for all!

    
    My students wrote out a “script” of sorts, what they would say to their friends, what questions they would ask and what they would explain to the inquiry minds that came to their learning center. 

    My students unanimously all wanted to make their learning centers interactive so they made sure to incorporate opportunities where their younger friends could inquire, explore and learn through the materials my students provided.
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    Each group, made a poster for their learning center (some examples above), brought in and collected all materials they needed and even set up and cleaned up their learning center before and after each rotation. 

     


Younger students were asked to rotate from learning center to learning center. My students did this for a total of 3 grade 1 & 2 classes!
    I am so proud of the ability of my students this year. They were able to take an idea and bring it to life in  just 1.5 days!! We had our Science Fair on the second last day of school and my students had so much fun. 
They felt accomplished, they also felt appreciated. For example, one of the grade 1 classes led by my teacher friend Ms. Violeta Serbu, created thank you cards to my students for all their hard work this past year. Watching my students take pride and receive thanks made me really appreciate the beauty of passing along the love of learning to others. The act of thanks brought some of my students close to tears. I know they will treasure that experience for years to come, as will I!


Thanks for stopping by! :)


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