At the start of the year, I always feel like I am data mining. I’m getting to know a new group of kids and I need to see their strengths, interests, and learning stamina. Doing an exploration is always a good way to study a subject from many sides and let different learners shine.
Yesterday we continued an apple exploration. When students arrived for our morning meeting, the following questions were on the board for them:
-If we need four pounds of apples for our applesauce recipe, how will we figure out how many apples we need?
-What are your ideas for how to equally share the apples we need between our twelve classmates?
-When we build our towers, what strategies might you employ to be successful in building a strong, tall or interesting structure? What supplies shall I gather for you?
The students decided we should use the scale to weigh one apple and determine the total number of apples needed. We passed an apple around and each child estimated the weight of the honey crisp apple. We had estimates from half a pound to fifty pounds. Next we weighed the apple on the digital scale. The weight was .66. We talked about how .66 was very close to Liams estimate of 2/3.
I reminded the class our goal was to get to four pounds. How could we get their. Liam suggested added 2/3 together until it added up to four. By the time we had added 2/3 + 2/3 + 2/3 and reached two, Boden shouted “Six! We need six!”.
I asked five students to find apples similiar in size to the original apple we weighed and add them to the scale. We had 3.80 pounds of apples. I asked what we should do to get to four pounds. Ideas included cutting an apple, switching all the apples, finding one smaller apple and finally switching one apple for one slightly larger apple.
Next, we had six apples and twelve students, how would everyone get to use the apple peeler device? Louie told us each apple could have two students. Simple division was used here. Off we went to prep our apples for sauce.
While we waited for the sauce to cook. I asked everyone to take a seat at the work tables and work on a still life drawing. Each student had a different apple and a shared cup of pencils in pink, red, brown, green and yellow. I asked, “Will your drawing look like your neighbors drawing?” I wanted our learners to look closely at the apple, determine what color the outline should be and which colors are on each apple. “No because each apple is different!” Finn told us.
As students finished. I asked them to write their name on the drawing and see if they could find a way to turn one of their letters into an apple. Children finished their work on drawings while others moved on to construction.
Students had requested toothpicks and tape to aid in their construction. Marie Sabine constructed a satelite. Camden worked with his apples horizontal and magically was able to pick up the string of apples and hold them vertically, and Oisin built a big tall structure using the most apples.
Over the next several days we studied the process of oxidation as we tested apples to see if we could keep them from turning brown. We also chain reactions by creating an apple-ruption in hollowed out apples.
Discovery Lab Students are…
Take time to consider and potentially challenge viewpoints
Show concern for, and actively value, others
Set their own priorities and are self-aware
Willing to consider new ideas
Come up with new or different ways of doing something
Challenge themselves to communicate, listen actively and present new ideas
Are curious to explore new ways of thinking
Will embrace knowledge and apply it to a wider context
Capable of thinking or acting for themselves; will take an intellectual risk
Ready and willing to learn from all experiences whether or not
they are successful