Thursday, April 12, 2012

1L Loves Trash

As part of my Teaching Elementary Science class at Wheelock, we have to design and teach a mini-unit. Roughly 7-9 lessons on a topic that is part of the state and school curriculum.  We were encouraged to use a pre-designed unit and make it our own, I of course had to challenge myself and designed my own unit, pretty much from scratch. I designed a great unit on Trash, Decomposition, and Recycling. 
One of the big parts of the unit was learning about different types of materials that make up our trash and what happens to these materials. We sorted trash into different categories and it was amazing to see how much they already knew about trash!
   We learned the terms biotic (breaks down) and abiotic (doesn't).  We observed an apple core and a yogurt cup decomposing (or lack their of for the yogurt cup) and discussed what was happening to these pieces of trash.
 I loved, loved, loved watching my kiddos engaged in scientific thinking and talk. They loved laying on the rug observing the materials and writing in their science journals.  Their observations were so fantastic and deep, amazing to see and hear what six and seven year olds are thinking.
 They were so excited to write their observations and some of the kids begged to keep working after science was finished. Now if that isn't great for a teacher's ego, I don't know what is!
 The best yet, may be their spellings! I loved reading their science journals after each lesson, seeing their thought processes and spelling patterns!
 To wrap up the unit, we briefly learned about recycling. We spent the last day of the unit taking recycled materials and reusing them, turning them into something different and useful! Oh man, did they knock my socks off!
They created the most amazing treasures. Binoculars from paper towel tubes, yogurt cup maracas, doll houses from food boxes, puppets, and more! 
 They were so engaged they begged (begged!) to keep working into the much loved center time! Never in the 138 days of school have they asked to skip center time (free time for the last 30 minutes of the day).
The best, truly, best part of the unit may have been one of my kids running up to me and saying, "this was the best science lesson, EVER!"

Ah, 1L thank you for teaching me just as much about trash as I taught you!

15 thoughts on the matter:

Danelle said... {Reply}

Awesome! I love it when my kids get this kind of fun, hands-on learning at school.

Heather said... {Reply}

so awesome. I love coming to you blog, i bet the kids just enjoy everything!

Susan said... {Reply}

Now that is a really neat idea! Something they will all remember for sure.

Secret Mom Thoughts said... {Reply}

Sounds like a great lesson. Way to go teach!

tinajo said... {Reply}

Great theme for lessons! :-)

tiarastantrums said... {Reply}

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!! Feel like giving this homeschooling mom some hints on the curriculum for this unit??

Gina @ Gigi Marie Photography said... {Reply}

So cool- great to really get their minds moving like that.

Susan @ Sunflower Status said... {Reply}

Fun! That's great they enjoyed the lesson so much they wanted to keep at it.

MG Atwood said... {Reply}

You are one of those over achiever, fabulous, gotta have kind of teacher. Please don't burn ARE amazing! We had a song about recycle, I'll have to think on used to play endlessly in my mind. :-)

deb duty said... {Reply}

You are such an awesome teacher! Great job on your unit!

Kim Stevens said... {Reply}

Oh how fun, and I would think you would need a handwriting translator - sometimes at that age it's really hard to read. What a testimate to your teaching to want to skip "free" time!!

Nancy Claeys said... {Reply}

I believe children learn so much during these hands-on projects. :)

Buckeroomama said... {Reply}

Oh, the rewards of teaching young minds! You are an awesome teacher, Tamar.

Just curious, is the school where you're teaching following the IB Primary Years Program? What you do with your class seems very similar to what J does in his. :)

Anita Johnson said... {Reply}

I enjoy your classroom creative, makes me miss my teaching days.

Melissa said... {Reply}

What a cool teacher you are! I hope my kids do cool projects like this in school one day. :)