Winter Inquiries

Sunday, 10 April 2016



     We began with a winter walk which turned into more of an "I spy tracks in the snow." This is where their interest was, so we went with it. We found animal, people, tractor, and snowshoe tracks on that day.

Winter Inquiries

Winter Inquiries

Winter Inquiries


     Following the walk and a few read alouds about winter, the children chose a research group (animals, plants, weather, and people) and posed a question for us to explore.

Winter Inquiries

     We then began to meet in small groups while the other children worked at centers. I began by asking them to hypothesize about what they thought the answer might be. This is one of my favorite parts as I'm fascinated by their ideas as well as their enthusiasm for wanting to "figure it out." This time around, I could see how some of their ideas/hypothesis stemmed from information they had learned from the questions explored in the fall. It was nice to see their knowledge, as well as their vocabulary, building in this way.  

Winter Inquiries
    Their questions about squirrels in the fall helped them answer questions about deer and fox in the winter as they applied what they had learned about animal adaptation. 

    We used books, videos, and hands-on materials to listen, observe, talk, and discover the answer to the question. As I listened to the children, I really began to understand the meaning of the word "synthesize" as I saw them combine learning from previous questions with new information. I also noticed that there were concepts that came up that cut across the different research groups. For example, insulation was touched upon with the Weather group (Why do you have to wear a hat in the winter?) and the People group (How do we go outside with hot cocoa?).    This provided the opportunity for children to see the relationship between the different areas of science. 

Winter Inquiries
Plant Group exploring, "How do leaves grow from trees?"

     People group exploring, "What do people drink in the winter?"


Winter Inquiries
Weather group exploring, "How are snowflakes formed?

Winter Inquiries
    Animal Group exploring, "How do snowshoe rabbits hop so far?"
     
     In the fall, the children spent some of their group time thinking how they would share what they learned with the rest of the class.  With this set of questions, I realized that they didn't need to prepare anything special. This is because it had become the routine for the whole class to share where they worked and what they did there so with the research groups it naturally evolved into, "I worked with Mrs. Clarke and we learned..."  I was so surprised at how well they articulated what they were learning that there were days that it brought tears to my eyes!
    We culminated our winter studies by working together to make a board game for the whole class to play. Each group created questions cards (based on the questions explored), board game spaces, and a pawn that represented their research group. 

Winter Inquiries

Winter Inquiries

Winter Inquiries

     The best part was when we put it all together and played the game! 

Winter Inquiries


    The Weather group was the first to finish, but based on their ability to answer the questions, I think they were all winners!  Next up - Spring!  Can't wait to see where their questions will take us!


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