Saturday, June 6, 2015

Bringing Passion into Science

We always wrap up our year in science with informational writing. For four years (the entire time I've been a 5th grade teacher), I have changed the project. Fourth quarter would roll around and I would get the itch to switch things up a bit and make the project more fun and even better

Back in January, I read the book "A More Beautiful Question" and was inspired to structure my informational writing unit around asking an "un-googleable" and more beautiful question. We used the Genius Hour approach to form our research topics and my kids were OFF.  You know you've got your students hooked when they asking to write ALL day.  

I wish I could have bottled that excitement and engagement for writing and sprinkled it throughout the year when we needed a little bit of motivation. Hmm.. maybe I should call Shark Tank?

Fast forward to 4th quarter in science. At this point, we've wrapped up our state testing and my kids were ready for a new project. I used the same approach as earlier in the year and asked the students to focus on a topic (science related) that they were passionate about. 

On day one... I walked through the thinking process myself. I narrowed down my absolute-favorite science subject (solar system) and started thinking aloud to help pinpoint a specific question. Through all of my thinking, I came to the big question: how can humans live on the Moon? Then, I sent my scientists on their merry-thinking way. 

On day two... I introduced our nonfiction magazines. I projected a picture of Sports Illustrated and asked my kids to discuss what kind of information I would be reading in this publication. Hands flew up in the air and everyone told me it was about... sports. I showed a few other magazine covers and had similar discussions. I wanted to illustrate the idea that some magazines are meant for specific audiences. I'm only reading HGTV magazine because I'm super into home improvement right now! You won't find me reading a Sports Illustrated anytime soon.. sorry Scott. Then, I had my students break into small groups based on their passions. These small groups had the task of designing a magazine cover and picking a title. 

From there, students took their passion projects through the writing process and published magazines! 

This may be the project I'll be repeating during year five!

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