A few posts back I wrote about starting our Explore More projects. Over the last few days Michelle and I have been guiding the students in coming up with a wide variety and range of questions to spark their interests.
First we put together a slide show with a variety of images. I showed students all images set to music and then they went back and were able to access them on their iPads. Students worked in partners to brainstorm questions and add them onto a collaborative Google doc between the two classes. (They loved working on something with the other 5th grade!)
Here is a screenshot so you can see some of the types of questions they came up with. Our original plan was to create an interest form from this, but after looking at the questions we decided that the students needed a little guidance going deeper. So our next step was a whole class discussion.
Each student had the images and google form up on their iPad and we began to put together an anchor chart with “Big” questions and topics. If students suggested a small question we helped them categorize it into a larger topic.
We still felt like they needed a little more time. So, we then took those big questions and put them on big paper for a graffiti board. Over the course of the afternoon students stopped by the graffiti board to fill in additional questions and follow up questions. This is our final product.
Now we were ready! We created a preference form using Google forms and each student indicated their level of interest in the various topics. Here are a few screenshots of the form we used. It turned out to be quite large since the kids came up with so many great inquiry questions!
Once students from both classes filled out the form. I used the conditional formatting function to color code their responses. Then I sat down with the other fifth grade teacher and our special education teacher and we grouped kids based on their interests, making some crucial decisions along the way.
Although it took us a few more days than we had planned we felt really good about the depth and range of questions that students came up with. We also felt that since they spent a lot of time with the questioning phase they were better able to develop their own sense of wonder around these topics and zero in on what they were really, really interested in!