I really think that I’m part plant.
I’m attracted to warmth and heat. I instinctively move toward open windows and sunshine. When the weather gets hot, I want nothing more than to be outdoors.
This year I’ve been saving one last science unit for May and June. The last bit of science that we have to finish this year is a unit about The Conservation of Energy and Resources (pg. 105-107) at the core of which are these three overall expectations:
I’ve been saving this unit so that we can go for lots of walks in our neighbourhood…. you know, for learning and research.
We started the unit by taking a look at a dusty text and playing a snakes and ladders game that used “energy wasting” tips as the snakes and “energy saving” tips as the ladders. As students played the game, we made a list of the saving and wasting tips.
When we finished the game, we looked at our list. I asked the students if they really thought that there was a way to live without using energy. They tried to come up with a way, but classmate retorts made them quickly realize that there really is no way to completely avoid using energy. There are, however, many ways to use energy responsibly and irresponsibly:
We then watched this wordless video that I scored from the European Commission’s Energy Department:
After viewing the clip, we added more responsible uses and irresponsible uses of energy to our list.
At one point I asked the students “do you see any of this in your neighbourhood?” They all started to rhyme off ways that they saw uses of energy around them. That’s when I said “show me”. We grabbed some clipboards and took a walk.
The next day we took our list and planned out how we could celebrate and educate our community. We were going on chalk walk. Students had to think of messages that they could write to their community about how they chose to use energy.
Then we revised and hit the road:
The students’ favourite part was seeing people stare at the sidewalk after they had covered it in chalky graffiti. The kids would say: “He’s reading mine!” or “See, mine is important! She smiled!”
They took their learning and did something with it. They used their superpowers for good.
One girl even wrote a message over the accessibility button that opens our school doors for disabled people. Her message was “every time you press this button you use energy. Please hold the door for yourself and someone else.” All of the students in my class have been avoiding that button and holding doors since our walk.
I think that that’s the true power of learning. Learning needs to live and breathe and DO. The walk got students looking for ways to fix their community and improve their world through knowledge.
We have a few more weeks to wrap up this unit. I’m really excited to see where it goes.