First Grade STEM Project #3

(This is the third STEM project Ms. Darea has led her first grade class on this year.  Be sure to use the category selector over on the right hand side of this blog to select STEM to read and see about the others.  Below you can read what Ms. Darea said about this weeks project.)

We began learning about forests in science, social stuides, and guided reading this week.  Throughout the week we talked about what we could find in forest habitats, what we can get from forests, and shelters that different animals use in forests.  Before we went to The Outdoor Learning Center on Thursday, we made predictions in our science notebooks about what kind of shelters we would find.  While we were out, the kids were eager to explore everything from holes in the trees to under rocks and inside logs.  We found some pretty cool things!  They drew their observations in their notebooks while they were out there and some kids couldn’t stop!  A few sat down on the deck to finish up drawing while waiting for Ms. Gale to get back with the key to the room.

 

 

On Friday we looked at our post-investigation in our science notebooks where we confirmed our predictions of animal shelters and added others we found.  The children then went back to their observations and counted the total number of individual animal shelters they found.  The students made picto-graphs of the data they collected and organized.  We then compiled the data as a whole class and used the Mimeo to make a tally chart of each shelter.  It was fun doing this.  We went from group to group adding aloud as each student said how many of a shelter they had recorded on their graphs.  The mental math was pretty amazing! 

 

When all the data was tallied up we discussed the results.  I asked why they thought rocks were used to frequently as shelters.  One child said, “because it’s easy to for small animals to get under there.”  Another students said, “it’s makes it hard for bigger animals to find them.”  I then asked why they thought logs had such a low number and a student said, “probably because there weren’t too many logs out there.”  When comparing the number of trees that were counted as shelters to the number of logs, one student said, “there are way more trees out there than logs!”  Wow!  What a great group of thinkers! 

 

 

First Grade STEM Project #2

You’ll remember last week how Ms. Darea and her first grade class were using both her regular classroom and The Outdoor Learning Center throughout the week in an in depth STEM lesson.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Teaching STEM lessons implements higher cognitive skills for students and enables them to inquire and use techniques used by professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields.

Ms. Darea uses this cross-curricular method to instill critical thinking skills and provide hands-on math and science lessons which ultimately results in a deeper scope of study.

Throughout the week, these first grade students had been studying about farming.  They learned about the food system, how tools and machines make farming easier, and about crops and farm animals.  On Friday, they used the students’ cooperative art work to tally up animals, workers, farm machines, and crops that were represented on their farms.  They then talked about numbers and whether or not they thought that there were more crops and animals  or  farm machines on real farms.  This data was then graphed and analyzed. 

 

Finishing up the lesson at the Screen House in The Outdoor Learning Center

 

 

First grade STEM project #1

{First grade teacher Ms. Darea wanted to share how she is using The Outdoor Learning Center in combination with her classroom and technology to implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) into first grade studies.  She provided these photos and the explanation below.  Sounds like awesome stuff!}

Amazing things happened in my classroom this week!  We went to The Outdoor Learning Center for two days practicing our observation and recording skills.  On Friday, during my integrated math/science block, we organized the data we collected, made a pictograph on the Mimeo Board, and analyzed the data!  There was so much math going on it was ridiculous!  The kids were totally engaged for the entire hour and a half!  First, they circled all of the plants they observed and recorded in their science journals in green.  Then, they circled all the animals in blue.  They then counted these in cooperative groups of five.  Each person had a job.  There was a recorder, a plant counter, a plant counter rechecker, an animal counter, and an animal counter rechecker.  I recorded these numbers for each group on the two column chart.  Then, I put a calculator under the document camera and showed them how to add the large numbers.  They counted 100 plants as a whole group and 96 animals.  We then took the difference of the this and talked about the numbers a little.  We even broke it down a little further into how many spiders and birds were observed.  Most kids got to come up to add their group data to our pictograph.  It was truly an amazing experience.  Look for more STEM projects coming up.  I’ve allotted time to be able to do this each Friday.  Our work through the week in science will culminate in a big integrated project like this one on Fridays.  It’s encouraging that this one turned out so well!