We've been focusing on rocks and soil for the last 3 weeks or so. Truly, I used to loathe this unit. I didn't really know how to make rocks and dirt interesting or fun. Good news for me though, because k kiddos think rocks, dirt, mud...is all pretty cool. So we added the cool soil and rock exploration stations and let them get in there and play! It's been amazing watching them draw, weigh, compare, measure rocks and have a darn good time doing it.
So we basically set up each study (we did soil first and then rocks) by completing KQLI charts together. We brainstormed things they already knew, questions they had, and left the "learned" part until the end. We also added illustrations to the chart.
Next we watched short video clips from Brainpop, jr! And United Streaming. We took notes in their science journals (which they LOVE), and we read and illustrated simple emergent readers that gave them some good background knowledge.
Then it was time to explore. The kiddos each brought in 3 different rocks to add to our stations. We set up 6 stations throughout the room. The kids each chose a partner to work with for the week and 2 pairs of partners could work at any 1 station at a time. They chose which stations they wanted to work in and moved around as they completed a station. They didn't have to complete ALL 6 stations but most of them tried to and did because they LOVED them! Yay!
We loved all the discussions we heard. I think that may be what I love the most. I don't really care so much about WHAT they actually write on the recording sheets, it's more about what they TALK about and DO! The recording sheets help tremendously in keeping them focused on the task and keeping them accountable though! Here are the sheets from one little cutie pies pack!
We wrapped up the unit by revisiting our KQLI charts and recorded all the great discoveries they made. Rocks...you ROCK!