Thanks to everyone who was able to come out to Curriculum Night. We did quite a bit of work with science. For those who were not able to make it, I'll share a few of things we are doing in science.
First of all, whenever conducting science investigations, we usually begin with some kind of probing question - a question that will get kids thinking in the general area we are studying. For instance, I showed students the following picture and asked students why the ground is not level.
Students made comments such as the grass and roots pushed the ground up. Some thought water was causing the ground to look like that. These questions start the inquiring into the topic.
At this point, we use water tables to simulate erosion. Students set their water tables with several pounds of sand, a ruler, and a cup of water. We fill the cups with water as it drips water onto the sand causing erosion. Not using the word erosion, I ask students what is happening. They make comments such as "the water is drilling into the sand" or "the water is cutting into the sand." These words are in a sense synonyms for erosion. It's at this point that I begin to introduce particular vocabulary such as erosion, deposition, constructive and destructive processes so that students have some kind of experience to relate the language to.
Students also noticed that sand has moved down father down the table. This becomes deposition. Students made connections with deltas such as the Mississippi delta or the Colorado River delta. To describe the movement of the water on their tables, we discuss terms such as meandering and oxbows and find examples on the internet.
Next, we use a different cup which simulates flood. Students made many connections because of their experience with our big flood two years ago. They came to understand that the speed and amount of water causes much more erosion. They connected this to why so many dams and roads washed out during our big flood.
After using the tables a second time, each group was allowed to develop their own experiment to simulate real-world experiences. Student built dams, some built levees, some built small hills with homes on them.
To extend the concepts of constructive and destructive processes, we will spend some time talking about landslides and volcanoes.