Materials: Glue stick, note cards and the Fossil Unit Vocabulary Sheet
To open up my lesson today, I wanted to strengthen science vocablary through personalizing notecards. I grouped my students as desk buddies and told them that we would develop some vocabulary visuals for our science unit. In order to do that, I gave them note cards for each word on our vocabulary grid. I asked them to cut out their words, glue the word to one side of the notecard. From these words, they would find a definition to write near the glued word. They were to write the part of speech the word can function as and then illustrate an example of each word on the back of the card.To reinforce understanding of what they needed to do I asked a student to repeat our strategy so that everyone could hear instructions once more. This made the process smoother and I notice when I do this, there are less questions about procedure.
Afterward, I asked them to each pick one of their notecards. The goal is to get as many words done as possible. I roved the class helping them by affirming their definitions. They were able to use their dictionaries and Google to help them define the words. As thirty minutes was eaten up quickly, most words were defined and drawn. I encouraged them to finish up as we moved into the next part of our lesson.
I stopped them and explained that they would be using some of these words as they developed their own "mind map" about fossils. I told them that I wanted them to think about the words they had just been working with as they delved deeply into learning more in the next two days.
My app of choice is Total Recall for this lesson. A mind map is a way of being able to graphically organize their thinking and is a flexible way to solidify their knowledge as they gather more information. It's a great tool for studying for a test. SimpleMind is another graphic organizer map that is excellent and they could choose between the two. I took a few moments and instructed how to use the app first since my students have not used it before.
As we played around with the app for a few moments, I began to get them set up for their mapping project. I opened up the Mind Map Example SB File to guide us along and get started. This file would help them understand the concept that they would be learning more things about fossils and maybe the things they list today might change as they read and gain information. This document will be a living document that we refer back to throughout the unit.
I had them create a center circle and type "My Fossil Map" as the title. I then had them create another circle connected to it and labeled it " What I Think is True About Fossils..." I asked them to create other branches from this circle as we discussed what we believe to be true about fossils at this point in time. They shared that they believe that fossils are only animals, they are extinct, and that fossils are a hundred years old or more. Some students listed more ideas they have about fossils. One student did list that fossils are found in rock.
We were off to a good start.
As we finished up the first part of our mind maps, I gathered students on the floor in front of my smart board and asked them about the questions they may have in their mind about the fossils they found in their Classroom Dig. I referred to the discussions we had after the movie presentations and how well they could verbally ask questions to one another about their work. I asked them to think about that experience and think tonight about questions they are still having about fossils and write them down in the notes in their iPad Notes app. This helps prepare their minds for the exposure to the information text they would use tomorrow to build their knowledge.