This year's TD theme: How the World Works
Guiding Concepts: Discovery & Innovation
Teachers' initial feelings before beginning:
OMG, no one has ever done this before! Literally, we scoured every corner of the internet and we couldn't find much. The only glimpses came from a blog I read from time to time. For the first time in 4 years, our team is moving away from our traditional TD theme of How We Express Ourselves and trying out something completely new. Why didn't we just going with something we see all the time like Sharing the Planet? Apparently we are up to the challenge!
Some of the questions we had before beginning:
How will we keep this from looking like a science fair?
Can we have an exhibition where student collaboration is not dependent on creating groups?
Can we allow for independent inquiries?
What will we expect on the day of Exhibition?
What is our expectation for action?
How can we backwards plan when we don't really know what things will look like in 8 weeks?
How can we more effectively use our school community and mentors?
How can we get parents more involved?
It went better than I had actually imagined. We brought all of our grade 5 students down to the auditorium. There, they were presented with large pieces of paper with the following prompts on them: What is Exhibition? Questions I have about Exhibition & What skills and Attitudes will be important for me to use during the Exhibition? Students were given markers and sticky notes to share their ideas.
We then went into watching a movie we knew would get them excited about this year's theme of science, Mysteries of the Unseen World . The silence was only interrupted by the ooohs and ahhhs of the students in the theatre. Student were more than excited about the images of science they had seen throughout the movie.
Back in the classroom, students were presented with the TD HTWW theme descriptor:
Inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
They were able to deconstruct it to come up with many valuable words and ideas to connect to our potential Exhibition projects. While talking about some of the meanings of words, students were even able to come up with on their own, the ideas of discovery and innovation.
On Tuesday, we began by talking about the word discovery.
Here were a few of their ideas to describe the word discovery:
Students then posed questions about past discoveries they wanted to know more about. Who invented electricity? Who invented language? Who discovered Japan? Who invented the first cell phone?
We had our students participate in a Discovery Walk around the classroom. Their challenge was to find to look deeper and closer than they ever had before, in order to find things that they had never noticed before. At first it was difficult to find things, but then all of a sudden, people started noticing all sorts of strange things about our classroom. It was amazing!
On Wednesday and Thursday we presented students with what we called "Experience Stations", where in each classroom, students were presented with different materials and challenges to experiment with. No explicit instructions were given, so students had a lot of freedom to try out different things. We followed with some refection questions to prompt track their discoveries!
On Friday, we gathered our students to begin looking at the concept of innovation. We know that people/scientist innovate things to make our world a better pace and or to help people, so we asked: were there objects in our room that were innovated in order to help us as students and teachers? Staplers, white out tape, iPads, cork boards, water bottles and the list went on and on. How were the Experience Stations we completed earlier in the week connected to possible innovations of the past or the future?
Next week, we look forward to diving further into our tuning in!
Check out the shorter version of the video we showed on launch day!