PBL Dinosaur Unit M3U4A2


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Dinosaurs and Volcanoes A project under construction

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My Current School’s Curriculum Our curriculum is inspired by IPC, an international, inquiry-based curriculum similar to that of IBPYP. Our current curriculum is structured to allow students to brainstorm in the beginning and take projects into a different direction as they move through the unit. However, many of the plans given still resemble plans I have personally call Pinterest planning. Yet, it is imperative of the teacher to take the ideas offered and apply them to the interest and direct the unit is going with the kids. Main Objectives for this unit (I realize this is very broad, yet I am just writing what I was given) Have students become more interested and aware of dinosaurs Have students be aware of and practice using the past tense Have students categorize dinosaurs according to their diet, body features and size Have students inquire about the life of dinosaurs

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Day One: Entry Point: Grab their Attention, Get kids wondering We set up the Dino Den and placed a dinosaur puzzle inside. We later discovered the dinosaur den was not a healthy place to have the kids try to make a puzzle. It was too fun of a place to play in and it was too dark to see the puzzle properly. So we moved it to a better area….different groups of kids tackled this puzzle throughout the day. It actually took them a total of three days to finish as they were not forced to finish it in one sitting. Also, it was interesting to see which kids at which times of the day came to focus on the puzzle.

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Circle Time We have a weekly routine called word of the week. Each week students have to learn a new word. They are given a piece of paper with the word written at the top and the paper divided into two: what I think/what I know. In class, students are asked to draw a picture of what they think the word means. At home they explore and draw a picture of what the word really means. Each week we choose a word that starts with a different letter of the alphabet (we go in alphabetical order). Last week, we sent home the word Velafrons. It was a nice way to help kids transition into the new unit as they brought in their work and shared what they learned about the dinosaur. I misunderstood the student…he said his mouth is not small…I understood the animal was not small…these things happen, which is why documentation can be a vital tool to teach us to be aware of our own flaws

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Knowledge Harvest: Collect ınfo from Kids We warmed up with a book titled Dinosaur Roar! Just to help students think about what they know about dinosaurs. Reading one book helps students recall vocabulary they know related to the topic without providing them with too much new information. This first collection of information session can be quite challenging at times, especially since English is student’s second, sometimes third, language. Yet, we constantly have students inquire during the whole unit. Many times we build on a previous line of questioning to further their research and interest in the topic.

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Initial Inquiry: We used a dinosaur song to start of students’ initial inquiry. We had students collect dinosaurs they could find in the classroom and bring them to the circle We asked students to guess the names of the dinosaurs we have in the classroom We asked students how we might be able to find out their real names

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Initial ınquiry

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Research Students asked to watch more videos which led to more questions as well as discussion about how we could learn more. One child suggested he had information about dinosaurs on his iPad. We said he could bring it to school. He replied that his mother wouldn’t let him as he can only use the iPad on the weekends. Yet, we said he would not use it for leisure, but for research and to ask his mother just in case. We also introduced how we would take advantage of mobile learning this unit. We said students could take pictures of what they wanted during this unit, create seesaw and shadow puppet videos as well as even look up information using our classroom IPad. We discovered that the dinosaur we have in our classroom is a brachiosaurus.

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Day TWO: Relaunchıng Inquiry in Circle Tıme Original Morning Song: Look who came to school today, school today, school today Look who came to school today, we’re so glad you’re here…. Jump, Jump ……, Jump, Jump,……., Jump, Jump, ……we’re so glad you’re here! Song Changed to: Look who came to school today, school today, school today Look who came to school today, we’re so glad you’re here…. (Kids then chose a dinosaur of their choice and picked an action to go along) D picked: Triceratops and he chose to scream Scream, scream Triceratops, Scream, scream Triceratops, Scream, scream Triceratops, We’re so glad you’re here Students were given the responsibility to go home and research about dinosaurs with their parents the night before. They were asked to learn and write down the names of at least three. This led to further discussion and questioning about dinosaurs. The picture shown was posted on class dojo for parents to see. Accompanied was a note that read: Look what we explored in circle time. You can explore more at home if possible. For example, ask your child why they wore those strange shoes….

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Our Mobile Learning Experiment began We allowed students to start documenting at will. We spoke with them about using the classroom iPad to document their work. Some students took pictures and others took videos. It has been interesting to see how and what they choose to document. Y chose to take a picture of the dinosaur chateau she and her friends had constructed during free play time The group also made a few videos talking about their classroom.

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Interdisciplinary Learning The art teacher had students make dinosaur eggs. This sparked their curiosity as well as helped them strengthen their fine-motor muscles.

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Day Three: Egg Day This day began with me writing one single word on the board: egg. We first wrote the word on the board and then asked students to read the board before we started circle time. We asked them to just keep the word in mind. After we sang our daily routine songs and filled out our daily calendar, we started to brainstorm. We had students name as many things as they could that had something to do with the term egg. As you see, some students were confused ( we have a few students that have difficulty paying attention). Yet, most of the students were able to brainstorm a variety of different things associated with eggs. This mind-map led into a discussion on eggs and soon enough the topic turned into a topic of how penguins take care of their eggs. We then decided to have a penguin walk.

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The Penguin WALK Here is us taking our eggs for a walk. My partner teacher wanted to point out the need to stay as a group as we have had issues with students not treating each other as equals. One of the students wanted to record the walk before he joined in…

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Egg Day Continued: Let’s make a Hypothesis We laid the items in front of the class: we told them that we are going to do a test: we need to find out what would happen if we stood on pile of eggs…could the eggs hold us? The students then made some guesses. First, they offered a few hypotheses and then they voted. Hypotheses: The egg would break We would fall down A chick would come out Our feet would get dirty The yolk would ooze out and spread everywhere They eggs wouldn’t break (my hypothesis) The Dilemma: more students voted that our feet would get dirty than that voted the egg would break. My partner teacher tried to help students figure out why that was a dilemma. It took them a while to understand that their feet could not get dirty from the egg if the egg didn’t break. We did not proceed until the two categories had the same number. We also established later that the egg could break without our feet getting dirty.

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And the experiment begins… In the background of this video, you can hear students discussing as they were watching…I noticed after watching this video that some kids thought that the eggs would break had we had kept our shoes on…this could have been tested as well…It is important to not only allow students to make hypotheses, but allow them to test those hypotheses as well. The kids tested it out. Some kids were a bit reluctant to try. Yet, we were able to convince them, especially after we, the teachers, also had a go…

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Then we made our very own dinosaur eggs After watching some videos and discussing dinosaur eggs, we had the students make Paper Mache eggs for our dinosaur den. First we made the mixture, then we started cutting and pasting newspaper to balloons. Next week we will paint them and put them in our dinosaur den! We also put some toy dinosaurs in the balloons just for fun. Every activity starts with initial questioning related to what we will make, how we will make it and why

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Day Four: Measurement We started the day with a footprint in our circle time area (we measured it according to the measurements we were given for a t-rex. Yet, I think next time we will pick a more rare dinosaur as that is the only dinosaur they all know). We started circle time with the word footprint, just as we had started it with the word egg the previous day. Yet, this time, Students were asked to guess who footprint it belonged to. Then after play time, we got our measurement activity going. We asked students what they thought we would do with the footprint as well as the items we had collected: measuring tape, chalk, and shoes. “we will take the tape, measure it, then write the number with the chalk” “we will see how many shoes fit around the footprint” We then told the students the objective and had them guess how many shoes would fit inside the shoe. Then we got measuring. We first measured with the measuring tape and then filled in the foot with our shoes. After it was done, we had students turn back to their guesses and compare them with the real answer. One student replied “ mine was lower, but it was really close…just 10 difference” This image was shared with parents on class dojo….

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We still have 15 more days to go In my experience, young Learners learn best through project-based learning. They learn to make connections between information/facts they learn to real-life problems or experiences. In our class, we have small projects within larger projects as a means to keep students interested as well as help them connect small ideas to larger ideas or rather to a big picture. This project has been fun so far, yet, we still need to work on differentiation: we need to give more room for individual projects as well as help weak students find a voice. In the weeks to come, we will try to find ways to get passive students into more active states of learning. Creativity and Tangram puzzles: one student wanted to make the dinosaur found in the left-hand corner of the activity’s border…two others wanted to make twin dinosaurs… One student took a picture of the puzzle once it was completed…

Summary: Preschool/Kindergarten PBL