Guest blog: Investigate & Create

Just as students grow and learn by working with their peers, so do teachers! How fortunate to be able to work with Deb Koh, the recipient of Queensland College of Teachers’ Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013.

Working with Deb is rewarding and exciting, taking risks and trying innovative approaches to engage our girls to thoroughly enjoy their learning (and to learn along side them), there’s never a dull moment! Deb very kindly accepted an invitation to be a guest blogger this month……huge thank you Deb 🙂

Year 5 students have been studying the adaptations that allow organism to survive and thrive within their specific biomes. After investigating the features of the five main biomes, students spent some time exploring a variety of behavioural, structural and physiological adaptations of plants and animals, and discussing whether they were unique or common to other living species.

Then, in the imaginary role of a scientific explorer, students were given the task of investigating a newly discovered location in which they were the first to discover a previously unknown animal. They were required to describe the features of the biome and detail the characteristics, behaviours and appearance of the new animal in a formal report.  Finally, they were tasked with creating a 3D replica model of their creature, highlighting the adaptations that have enabled its survival.

Students were thoroughly engaged in the process of planning, designing, evaluating, re-designing and creating their 3D creatures. Splat3D’s were used in the design phase, and recycled materials were carved, cut, moulded, painted and pasted to bring their designs to life. The added bonus was getting to enhance their creatures with some form of technology, including MicroBits, LittleBits, and Chibitronics. Tinkering with technology in this way was very conducive to collaboration and sharing of tips and tricks. More experienced students were able to provide suggestions and assistance to those students for whom the technology was new.

An important part of the activity was providing students with the opportunity to reflect upon the whole design process. When given opportunities for reflection, students build and strengthen skills in critical thinking and problem-solving.

This unit of work integrated Science, Technologies and General Capabilities curriculum descriptors… well as English and Art!

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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!