Investigating our Questions

Friday, April 8, 2016

Now that we are nearing the end of Phase 1 - "Beginning the Project," we are slowly transitioning into Phase 2 - "Developing the Project." This phase is the longest phase of the project because it is where the research, investigations, field experiences, and basic fact gathering is accomplished. The second phase positions students as observers, investigators, reflective thinkers, and collaborators. They build on past experiences as they interact with their environment, visit field sites, and speak with experts. Through all of this, they construct knowledge and make sense of their discoveries. They form new understandings and hone both academic and high-level thinking skills as they figure out ways to digest and represent what they learn.

Today, we set up a site visit for our own school cafeteria. Prior to our visit, the children worked to make sketches of what they thought they might see when we visited the cafeteria kitchen. They also wrote up a list of questions they wanted to ask Chef Danny and the cafeteria workers.

Chef Danny greeted us at the employee door

We watched how oranges are sliced in a special machine

We went into the 38 degree refrigerator

Then went into the negative 5 degree freezer! Brr!

We got to see the washing machine and locker area

Then got to greet the produce delivery truck to find out where our food comes from!

We headed back inside and went into the dry storage area

We got to see the many warmers, counters, machines, and utensils that are used to prepare the food.

Students did a great job stopping to take notes and make quick sketches!

Last, we got to walk around the serving area to see the inside parts of the steamer stands and the cold storage. So interesting!

We learned so many things from our first site visit. Many questions were answered today and the students had a chance to finalize their notes and sketches upon returning to the classroom.

Beginning our Project: Week 1

Now that we've decided on a new project topic: Restaurants and Food, it's time to get started!

Step 1: Web what we know about the topic (see last week's post)

Step 2: Have the children publish their web (making it visible and open for the children to add to the web)

Step 3: Sharing personal experiences about restaurants and food. I started by sharing one of my own restaurant experiences from when I was young, then allowed the children to write and illustrate their own experiences. These should also be displayed in a way for other children to view.

Step 4: Create visual representations of their personal experiences. I gave the children 8 choices: legos, playdough, watercolors, straws and connectors, iBook, iMovie, mini-poster, and magnatiles. They came up with so many wonderful things!

Step 5: Create fact books to store our learning in. We each created a fact book with a decorative cover.

Step 6: Create a KWL chart on the first page of the fact book and fill out the "K" (know) and the "W" (wonder) on the chart.

Step 7: On page 2 of the fact book, have each child write out a list of their questions they may have on the topic.

Step 8: Gather the class together and create a large class list of questions that we hope to have answered through our investigations and experiences.

Step 9: Begin researching ways to find the answers to our questions.