Here are some of the questions we used to guide our inquiry process:
What are the features of a forest?
What are the features of a tree?
How are trees different?
1. We began by reading The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock. This is an amazing book that is readily available at most local libraries. Take into consideration that the book is a bit long, so you may want to take a couple of days to read it. Please note that the sequence of learning experiences took place over several days.
2. Soon after, we let students explore different atlases of CA to notice (in particular) where the mountains and forests were. We had a class discussion about this.
3. We asked students if they had ever wondered how the mountains were made. We annotated their thoughts and moved to explaining the different types of mountains: Volcanic, Fold, Fault-block, Dome, and Erosion Mountains. Students wrote in their notebooks how they thought each mountain was formed based on just the name (this is what we call a claim).
4. Students viewed a PPT (Powerpoint) of how mountains were made. Then had them write out the evidence and make a sketch of how the mountains were actually made. Children were asked to guess what kinds of mountains we had in California? (Fault-block mountains). We briefly discussed about the earthquakes that we still feel as still forming the mountains.
|Modeling the chart our students were asked to start in their inquiry journals|
5. As teachers, we read a Native American myth called How a Mountain Came To Be (we use a really old and discontinued series of inquiry activities named DWOK – so I will scan the myth and share it with you/hopefully I will not break any copyright laws). Students discussed how Native Americans used the myth to show their understanding of how mountains were formed.
6. The class was divided into small groups (3-4 students per group). Each group was given a different kind of mountain formation. They reflected on how the myth was written (the one they listened to) and wrote their own mountain formation myth.
7. In the end, they presented their myths to the class and as teachers we took a picture of their tableau.
8. The pictures were added to our growing CA map.
Our students LOVED the activity and were really engaged. Many even added their own schema into the mix and used names of Gods they knew. Talk about bringing it all together. So, how do you integrate the arts into your lessons? I would love to hear.