We were learning about continents. I wanted students to experience something different than the usual song and maps I used in the past. And so... Continents in a Bag! Students worked in small groups or pairs. They chose a continent to research. They spent the week elbow deep in books and computers. Students were given expectations and a rubric. They could bring items from home. When finished students made video presentations about their continents. Even though each group researched only one continent they learned about all seven continents from their favorite teachers ... each other!!
Here are some of the resources I used:
When our class studied transportation many students chose to research famous inventors. This experience was perfect background knowledge for our study of inventions that changed our lives.
I purchased these three packets from Teachers Pay Teachers. In groups students made timelines of important inventions and wrote about how they have changed our lives. They investigated the steps of creating a new invention and introducing and selling it to the public. Then it was time for them to create their own inventions.
As part of our Kansas Career and College Ready Standards (KCCRS) in Social Studies, specifically history, we began a comparison of the daily lives of plains indians and pioneers of the 1800s and of modern living of today. Part one of this project involved learning about the daily life of natives and pioneers of Kansas Territory in the 1800s.
Students were so excited to share as experts about their chosen monument.
I had planned an 80 minute work time. I had 2 classroom volunteers helping for about 45 minutes. Students were so engaged I had to remind them to take a break and get a drink or use the restroom. We stopped for lunch and I asked students to clean up and explained we would work on their research the next day. They begged me to let them finish after lunch. What can I say... I'm a softie. We finished and their end products were amazing. Sometimes I have to remind myself they are only 7 and 8 years old because their stamina and work products surpass my expectations.
My research goal for students was for them to read information, choose the most important ideas, organize ideas and share them in their own words. We made great progress on using your own words instead of just copying from the text. We still need to work on choosing the most important information and organizing that information.