Ogden River Informational Fish Pamphlets
My 3rd-5th grade students created informational pamphlets to educate the local community about the importance of the Ogden River in the hopes that community members would become better stewards of this local life-giving force. My class was responsible for educating people about the different species of fish that could be found in the river. They were divided into expert groups and invited to research the unique adaptations that allowed their fish to survive in the local river.
STUDENT FINAL PRODUCTS: Final products drive the expedition and reflect a culmination of student learning.
TRR Boomtown Model
One of the projects leading up to our final product for the TRR Expedition was a small-scale railroad model. I say small-scale but it was actually over 10 feet long! Each of our six 3rd-5th classes was responsible for bringing a section of the model to life to reflect one impact the railroad had on either the people or the landscape. My class was so excited to create a thriving little boomtown at one end of the model. We brought in an expert railroad model builder to teach the students how to create scaled boomtown businesses out of cardboard and toothpicks.
I am Some"body" Sculptures & Plaques
My fellow K-2 teachers and I immersed our 1st-2nd graders in an expedition about the amazing human machine, with an emphasis on the daily choices that students could make to live active and healthy lifestyles. It is amazing what little minds are capable of when given the opportunity. These little 6 and 7 year olds studied 6 different human body systems to an unbelievable depth. I immersed them in expert terminology and by the end they were using words like trachea, bronchial tubes, alveoli, esophagus, tendons, involuntary muscles, and much more in conversation.
I developed a "Little Hands on the Farm" expedition for my first and second graders, immersing them in the water and time-saving techniques of square-foot-gardening. The students planted and cared for their own vegetables in square foot gardens along the side of the school. Their final product consisted of gardening pamphlets, written to educate readers on the square-foot-gardening method and a farmer's market held in the school's auditorium.
Fabulous Frogs Book
My first year teaching, my fellow K-2 teachers and I engaged the students in an in-depth expedition on frogs. Each class selected 6 species of frog to study. We divided our classes into expert groups and assigned each student one frog attribute for which they would be responsible. This met the collaborative learning target and individual accountability target. A "Fabulous Frog" final product drove the learning and motivated students to do their best work. This sample 2-page spread on the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog is a reflection of months of in-depth study, engaging the students in off-site fieldwork, and a tribute to their stamina during the multiple revision process.
Transcontinental Railroad Tableaus
I discovered the true power of expert groups during our 3-5 Transcontinental Railroad Expedition. The students were divided into 6 expert groups to study the impact of the transcontinental railroad on the Irish, Chinese, Native Americans, Homesteaders, Boom Towners, and the “Big Four” bosses. Each student was individually responsible for crafting a small-moment writing piece from the perspective of an individual in their assigned group. Then, each expert group selected one of those stories to collaboratively turn into a tableau. The groups performed these tableaus at their celebration of learning as a student narration of the small moment played for the audience. Each scene represented a powerful moment frozen in time from 6 different historical perspectives.
Studying the 5 Senses
We began our 1st-2nd grade human body expedition with an in-depth study on the 5 senses. This was the perfect way to launch the expedition as the students were able to use their own senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and sound to engage in the experiments. The students created labled, scientific drawings for each of the five senses as one of their assessment pieces.
Arthropod Shadow Boxes
The final product for our 3rd grade Arthropod Expedition was an Arthropod Exhibit. The students became experts on one of 6 native Utah arthropods: Monarch Butterflies, Wolf Spiders, Honey Bees, Praying Mantids, Crayfish, and Desert Hairy Scorpions. Through extensive fieldwork, multiple expert guest visits to the classroom, and in-depth research, the students gathered enough data to create scientific illustrations and craft informational paragraphs about their expert arthropods. I created an Insect Research Packet to help guide my students through the research and revision process. Their final illustrations were pinned inside shadow boxes and displayed next to their informational plaques for the Celebration of Learning.
Poems for 2 Voices
During our original K-2 installment of the Arthropod Expedition, I invited my first and second graders to create Poems for Two Voices to perform at their Celebration of Learning. The students were placed into expert groups of 4 to study the habitat, diet, behaviors, life-cycle, predators, and physical adaptations of their arthropods. Within these expert groups, they collaborated with a buddy to craft Poems for Two Voices, comparing and contrasting their arthropods at different stages in their life-cycles.
Vegetable Farm Logos & Packaging
During the 2nd installment of the Little Hands on the Farm Expedition, instead of creating square-foot gardening pamphlets, I invited my students to design logos for their own vegetable farms as well as packaging for one of their products that would entice consumers to purchase it. The re-designed expedition placed more of an emphasis on producers and consumers, wants vs needs, and supply and demand. My first and second graders worked hard to create eye-catching logos that were later scanned and shrunken down to fit onto their product labels.
Interactive Frog Museum Displays
During the 2nd installment of the Fabulous Frogs Expedition, one of my co-workers and I teamed up to help our 1st & 2nd grade students create interactive frog panel displays. These displays educated guests about the habitat, physical attributes, prey/predators, and behaviors of 6 species of frogs in a fun and very interactive way. Guests would press buttons to hear student recordings about special frog behaviors. They would lift flaps to learn more about each frog's physical attributes. They would turn a wheel to reveal interesting facts about each frog's prey and predators. Our little guests in particluar were totally engaged in learning about frogs through this interactive experience.