Our Latest Inquiry project!

Have you ever had  those moments in teaching where you spend a lot of time planning out a lesson only to have it flop? That has happened to me more times than I care to share! BUT on the flip side, there are those times where you fly by the seat of your pants and it is the best lesson you've ever done! That is where I am at this week.

I am so excited to share about our latest inquiry project!!

We were supposed to be studying properties of liquids and solids with my first graders and energy with my second graders (I have a 1/2 split class) but when you're trying to run an inquiry based program you have to go with the flow, where the students take things!

I had introduced the concept of a science notebook or logbook to my students.  I wrote, "I can write like a scientist" on the top of the chart and asked them what they thought a scientist would write about.  These are the ideas they came up with:

I have to get a better picture because the anchor chart is cut off in this one....I'll try tomorrow!
I like to write the student's names beside their ideas because it helps to give them a sense of pride and ownership. Plus, once other students see that their names could go up their too they start to pay attention more and want to contribute their ideas.

About half way down they ran out of ideas so I pulled up some samples of scientists notebooks on the laptop and projected them for the students to see.  They were then able to come up with the rest of the ideas.

When we were done I told them I wanted to create a sample of what an entry in a science notebook might look like.  I remembered (mid lesson) that we had some soil and bean seeds from our visit to the pumpkin patch the week before. So, I put those in the middle of our circle and said, "Well scientists, what can we do with these?"

Here is what they came up with:

 I did an early morning trek today to Walmart to get all of the things we would need and we went ahead and began all of these experiments!

Here are some photos of their experiments and their science notebooks (keep in mind I have not done any teaching surrounding procedural writing or even a sample notebook entry...all we did was look at other people's science notebooks, including real scientists), these are all their ideas!

From this science inquiry I was able to get a ton of great observational data about my students!  These are great writing samples for procedural writing!

I had another teacher in my room who was observing our inquiry and he said, "WOW, you must have done a lot of pre-teaching before they started their experiments!".  I said, "NOPE, I really haven't done any teaching! I did give some guidance but aside from that this was all them! I helped facilitate some conversations but they came up with all of the ideas and the direction for our learning".

Are you trying any inquiry learning in your classroom? I would love to hear how it's going!  Leave me a comment if you have some stories to share!

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