Sunday, February 3, 2008

Inquiry Science and Technology in a Primary Classroom

Using Technology in an Inquiry-based, 5E, Primary Classroom
Presented by Melissa Ross
Chets Creek Elementary, Jacksonville, FL

“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I presented this session yesterday. I teach inquiry science in my classroom using a variety of technology each day.

Inquiry Science is the hands-on, minds-on approach to science. Students are the scientists. They have many questions (oh boy, do they!) and the want answers. Inquiry science is their chance to explore and find the answers themselves. Students connect their previous knowledge with new ideas and findings.

Today’s demo lesson involved a “Yikes, Stripes!” lab. Ever wondered why the stripes on a zebra are considered camouflage? If you have a newspaper and several pieces of white construction paper, you're ready to find out. (Place 4 white rectangles and 4 newsprint rectangles on top of a piece of newsprint. Have students look at the newsprint for one second and count the number of rectangles seen. Have the students look at the newsprint for one minute and count the number of rectangles seen.) As promised, here are the materials from the session.

Second Grade Lab Report K Lab Report PowerPoint

Technology I literally don’t do a lesson without it! From the projector and document camera to the Cricut and podcasting the possibilities are endless. I have discovered some great tools that I would love to share with you.

Melissa’s Favorite Things

(Okay, so they may not be as popular Oprah’s list, but I guarantee once you try these, you will be hooked.)

1. Cricut Expression personal electronic cutter from Provocraft. This machine has been a time savor on many lessons and projects! It has many teacher-friendly options such as setting the size and quantity of items to be cut. A class set of anything you need cut is completed at the touch of a button. Each cartridge comes with several hundred variations of shapes and sizes to create and explore. They have an entire line of cartridges designed for teachers. The latest Cricut project includes a Cricut Classroom where teachers can share and explore standards based lessons using the products of the machine. This site is set to "go live" on March 1. Check often for creative, standards based lessons you and your kids are sure to love. Rumor has it they will be giving away a machine a month to people registered on thier site. (Good luck!)

2. CPS Clickers from eInstruction. These personal computer response pad systems allow students to answer questions and have reports compiled based on results. With a wide variety of question types, reports to print, and even imported state standards, these clickers are great way to assess students or to survey them to check for misconceptions. Question types range from multiple choice up to 8 choices, true/false, yes/no, and numeric values. These can be used for any subject and are a valuable assessment tool.

3.Virtual Fieldtrips from DigitalFrog. These computer programs will allow your students to research and explore different habitats from your classroom. They are very kid-friendly and very easy to use. The set includes a virtual fieldtrip to the desert, rainforest, and wetlands. The students can explore different plants, animals, etc. Almost every word is defined with the click of a button and some even pronounced. Students also have the option of creating their own habitat.

4. Podcasting is great tool that allows audio feed to be recorded and used in a variety of ways. The program is free to download online. All you need is a microphone. The ones that work best are the headphones with the microphone attached so that the student stays the same distance away from the microphone the entire recording.

5. Cool Timer is what I use is students need to be able to keep track of the time during their lab. It is free, and a great visual. They also have really cool tools like the sorting hat to randomly order and sort your students.


Brooke said...


How cool are those Virtual Field Trips?! That would be perfect for our habitat unit. :-) We must look into that.


Suzanne said...

Melissa did an outstanding job presenting this session. The electronic tools really make learning visible for her students. Kudos to Melissa.