Do you ever walk into your classroom in the morning and have a weird feeling about the lesson you've planned? I had this idea in my head and it was partially written in my plans, but I felt like there were several holes in my "idea". I kept thinking thinking thinking about how to make it just right. Granted, this was all this morning around 7:00 AM. Have you ever felt this way? Oy! It happens often to yours truly. Today, actually worked out in my favor because the lesson turned out to be quite delightful. Jam packed with collaborative thinking, group work, and whole group time. Here's what we did:
I wanted to connect the reading strategy of cause and effect to our science lesson about Isaac Newton's 3 Laws of Motion. In our text book, it offered a suggested passage and graphic organizer as an intro to the topic but I wanted to take the thinking a bit further.
To start, I displayed a new anchor chart in our room relating cause and effect to the oh-so-popular game Angry Birds. Coincidentally, three of my students were actually wearing Angry Birds t-shirts. Talk about timing! I borrowed the idea from this blog post here. We chatted about the game and how it relates to cause and effect.
Then, we jumped in a slightly different direction and pulled out a classic picture book. My original intention was to read, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." but alas, at 9:00 (five minutes before my kids returned from specials) it was MIA. Instead, we read "If You Give a Pig a Pancake...". Just as great! While reading, I had students interact with the read aloud by identifying causes and effects of different scenarios.
Next, I had each student draw the cause and effect thinking map seen below. Each Law of Motion had 6 boxes for three different law of motion scenarios. My goal was for students to identify examples of each law and plug them into the diagram to identify the cause and the effect.
I got everyone started with an easy example of a book demonstrating the law of inertia by sitting on a table overnight. After the whole group example, I partnered the students up and had them come up with other examples to fit each law of motion. They had their book as a reference as well as a foldable and StudyJams.com. Note: this took some time! I wish my science time was longer, but I had to cut things a little short.
To close the lesson, I brought everyone back to the carpet and told them it was THEIR turn to teach their classmates and me something. While partners were working, I had them pick one scenario to jot down on a post-it to share with the whole group. Once we were on the carpet, partners got up in front of their peers and shared their examples. I loved hearing their use of our science vocabulary and key phrases to describe cause and effect scenarios. They grow up so fast! We stuck the post-it notes on an anchor chart for everyone to see and now it's on my stack of papers to be laminated. :)
Tomorrow, we're going to start our conversations about simple machines. Any tips? Suggestions?