Phase III of our Project and Reflections
Undoubtedly, and Evening with the Stars was a highlight in this learning journey about Astronomy.
During this event, we invited parents and guests to become part of an extended learning community by adding suggestions on a flip-chart about our unfinished work so that we could expand it and enrich it. We wrote these instructions on it: “Please leave ‘learning suggestions’ for us here!” However, our students realized that some of the adults who wrote on the flip-chart committed a mistake that they themselves have done on innumerable occasions: they did not read the instructions. Even though a couple of guests did write specific suggestions, such as connecting the knowledge we were acquiring with Science Fiction books or finding out about the current Argentine Space program, the rest were all inspiring words of congratulations about our work. We witnessed one of our pupils scolding her mother, making her read the instructions and change what she had written.
Back in the classroom, we discussed the suggested ideas and found that these would not work out due to the time of the year. Nevertheless, students were highly motivated in answering their original questions.
For their final products, we presented a guideline of what a good presentation should look like. Students often referred to it as a rubric in order to design and organize their work adequately.
Children worked hard and very creatively on finishing their presentations that answered their questions. These are some of the outcomes:
Pop Up Books & Traditional Info Poster
When we started this adventure with our pupils, our first thoughts were not ours. They were Carl Sagan´s:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us…a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A vision of the human future in space.
Cornell University, 1994
We feel that our original plan, founded on three pillars, was completed:
- Pillar I: Students were exposed to inquiry-based learning. They formulated questions and created a chart with a very complete list of online resources for every topic, which helped them put together the answers in whichever format they wished. They were highly motivated because they were answering their own questions about space, and that in turn, made every presentation unique.
- Pillar II: We became a community of learners that was avid to share their knowledge and to work together in order to achieve an objective. It was so rewarding to see the enthusiasm of the students from Olivos, Punta Chica, their parents and even their younger siblings.
- Pillar III: Students shared their findings among themselves as well as with third graders in Olivos who had worked on the topic earlier on. During the end of the year Learning Journey event, some of our students shared their final pieces of work with their parents.
Did we finish everything we had planned? No… but we definitely feel a great sense of accomplishment since this year our students were able to deepen their knowledge of the Science Unit contents as opposed to last year´s work that had more to do with hands-on activities and following a more structured format. They were highly motivated to try their very best until the very end, and even after!
Proof of this is an email received today from Clara C., who was sharing the work she did in class but had not been able to submit before school ended.
This is the best gift teachers could ever receive; knowing their guidance triggered students’ enthusiasm in such a way that made them go beyond the expectations to show what they have learnt.
This is the best possible end of the year gift.
Ms. Florence Zanocchi, Y6 Science Teacher
Ms. Nancy Lopez, IT Teacher