6th grade Science Loesson #SciencePun #studentcentered #scichat #science #soil

LoESS administering/delivering a curriculum TO kids is MORE….especially when it’s a lesson on SOIL. haha #sciencepun

Putting the kids in the driver’s seat. WINNING!

After #edcampOmaha I’m stoked. Let’s get this day going. Let the kids ‘dig in’ and have fun while learning.

Today’s lesson in my 6th grade classroom:
Objective: What is soil anyway? What makes up soil?
Overarching Objective: Describe the components of soil and other factors that influence soil texture, fertility, and resistance to erosion (e.g., plant roots and debris, bacteria, fungi, worms, rodents)

Traditional teacher-centered ‘teacher delivery’ education format: Open your books to page bluh-blah. Fill out the answers to the questions worksheet. Read for the answers. Check the worksheet (tchr reads answers). Study tonight. Quiz tomorrow. Something like that, anyway.

Student-centered, ‘student-active’ education format as it unfolded today…
1. Invited students to come to the board and write their definitions of soil if they wanted to. Just ‘what’s in your brain’ about it. Read over. Let’s find out!

2. Kids set up their own lab sheet with the following: PRE-definition of soil, 9 boxes for drawing ‘things’ they see or observe in the soil, and POST-definition for soil. (Oops, didn’t take a picture of this. Document, document, Laura!)

3. Kids get Magiscopes, tweezers, notecards. Share proper use of a  MAGISCOPE, a most wonderful microscope to have in the active classroom.  Let kids look at their own fingernails with it (ewww!), at graphite on paper, etc., to practice focusing.

4. Go outside. Kids collect soil from nature area near our school — in baggies. Look at birds, of course! (We observed 2 robins flying into Bradford Pear trees; using my binoculars kids found 2 nests in our time outside today.) #birding

5. Back inside, kids get busy placing our very wet soil onto notecards and then placing the notecards under the magiscopes, FINDING THE ANSWER TO TODAY’S QUESTION, “What is soil made of anyway?” THEIR learning and discovery; not mine.

Cool stuff that happened: They found several worms of different sizes and 2 unidentified grub-like organisms. You’d think they’d just found $100!  All kids gathered around these scopes when announcements were made. This inspired one student to look up earthworm info online to settle debate on how many hearts worms have. The kids were excited & relaxed the entire lesson–a look of delight that they got to DO something and find out stuff that wasn’t already ‘decided’ for them. The learning was their own. In addition to insects and worms, they found roots, other plant parts, water, and small rocks/pebbles.  I walked around supporting them and joining in their delight and discovery. It was a fantastic day all around.

Tomorrow we will look at DRY soil under the Magiscopes to discover the particle sizes and names (kids will use text or online resources to identify names). The kids will then determine what TYPE of soil we have here in Clay County, MO using these hands-on FUN and MESSY soil testsThey’ll never view soil in the same way again. 🙂