Curriculum, Elementary

What is Palaeontology?

The best part about teaching fourth grade is getting to teach about fossils in Social Studies (Alberta’s history).

When I introduce the unit, I have the kids do a fun activity which allows them to get moving and access prior knowledge and lets me assess what they already know (and thus their learning at the end of the unit).

When the kids come into the classroom, I have a big T and F written on the whiteboard, which peaks their interest and gets them excited for the lesson.

True or False!
True or False!

We start the unit by talking about how we learn about dinosaurs and fossils, which leads us to palaeontologists! I prompt a discussion by asking kids what they already know about palaeontology and then I simply google palaeontologists and show them some images, which prompts further discussion. It’s really easy and allows us to touch upon what we already know.

For our activity I give them a T/F What Do Palaeontologists Do? worksheet. I read each question out and have them circle in ink or hi-light their answers. At the end, I have all the students stand up and come to the front of their class. We go through each question one-by-one and the kids have to move to the side of the room that represents the answer they circled.

Doing this, I can tell which students picked each answer and ask them why they picked true or false. We can have a discussion as a class of the right answer and all learn more about palaeontology!

It’s a really fun activity and the kids love it! If you would like the worksheet, the link to the product on my Teachers Pay Teachers page is here.

Curriculum, Elementary

What Can Light Shine Through?

I teach in a specialized program at a school specifically for students with diagnosed Learning Disabilities. Accordingly, the majority of them are visual, hands-on learners. I am always trying to find ways in which they can get up and move, create, and see their own learning.

In Science, the unit we’re working through right now is Light and Shadows. It’s a lot of fun for the kids because we do a lot of work with flashlights and mirrors and making shadows. This week, we answered the question “What Can Light Shine Through?” by making our own posters!

One of my students' posters!
One of my students’ posters!

I made each student a poster separated into four rectangles. The first was for  their title, which they got to design and decorate. The next three were for the vocabulary terms “opaque”, “translucent”, and “transparent” and their respective definitions, which the kids had to cut out and glue to show me they knew the definitions.

I used an exacto-blade to cut out three squares in the centre of each rectangle and the kids had to decide what light could or could not shine through out of clear plastic (I cut up ziploc bags), construction paper, and tissue paper. I had them use flashlights to shine through each if they got confused.

All our posters up on the window.
All our posters up on the window.

They loved this project, it was very simple, and now our classroom windows serve as a learning tool! If you want my free download of the poster outline and the titles and definitions, click here to be taken to the product page on Teachers Pay Teachers!