May is my last month at St. Timothy’s School and I’m reflecting on my practice here – what has worked well? what would I change?
One thing I haven’t done as much of this year is walking the campus. On Friday I happened to pass by a 3rd grade science class on the parking lot. Each student was gripping a paper rocket they had made and everyone was lined up to launch them. As I watched the first liftoff students began conversations.
- rocket design
- measuring distance
- wind currents
- predicting outcomes
- air pressure
It was great to talk with them; unfortunately the science teacher couldn’t hear most of the conversation because she was working the air pump. I immediately realized I had missed a collaborative opportunity. I imagined:
- Taking photos of the rockets and loading them to VoiceThread – student designers could explain their concept, reflect on the launch and discuss improvements. Classmates could contribute comments and observations.
- Using Skype to bring in a real rocket scientist for consultation on the redesign project.
- Finding something to measure actual height of rocket launches. What would that tool be?
- Have small groups explore why we might need rockets. Guide these conversations with the wealth of picture books and videos on the topic. These paper rockets could traverse the curriculum.
Fortunately I came down from my cloud to ask the science lab teacher how many more days were left on the project. Turns out this was a one day project; finished just in time for open house and then the rockets would be long gone. Collaboration by walking around has always reaped benefits. I just need to keep looking around.