Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Volcano Museum

Remember when elementary school science projects consisted of dioramas in old shoe boxes?  Well, in our 4th grade they still do.  Only they are now accompanied by iMovie multimedia presentations created by each student on their iPad which convey the facts, pictures, maps, and video clips, they found while conducting independent research on the topic at hand.

For three weeks, our fourth graders have been learning about volcanoes in their science class with Mrs. Triplett.  As we have been pushing throughout our curriculum, however, their learning happened through doing - what is known as PBL, or project-based learning.  In this unit, each student chose a volcano and had to do the research (on their iPads) to answer several key questions about their volcano, its location, its type, and its history.  Along the way, they learned basic facts about volcano formation and the geology behind it. Their research, though, was geared toward yesterday's culminating activity, a "Volcano Museum," in which the fourth graders led the other elementary school students and their teachers on a "tour" of all they had learned.

It was a remarkable display of 21st century skills such as information literacy, digital fluency, verbal and digital communication, as well as global awareness.  It was also a remarkable display of genuine enthusiasm and excitement for learning.  You can catch a glimpse of it in the video and pictures below.

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