While the rain kept seventh grade scientists from their outdoor field research on Wednesday, it did not prevent them from rich learning about creatures native to Massachusetts. During my visit, I came into the class during the tail end of a focus lesson around research strategies. The teacher was explaining how to effectively use Wikipedia as a tool for identifying keywords to help students craft an effective web search for their creatures. She then transitioned into student research time. One student was quick to brief me on the creature feature project they were researching. He explained that students were choosing one reptile, one amphibian and one insect native to Massachusetts to study. They would ultimately be writing a paragraph about each and making a model of one, including and explaining an adaptation of that creature. He then went on to tell me several spot-on reasons why the Mass Audubon site was an excellent source for his research. Another seventh grader was excited to share with me about the spring peeper frogs she was studying. She explained, “They are cool and make a really high pitch sound, kind of like a whistle. They have very big vocal sacs under their chin that allows them to make that sound.” She showed me her research template, and how this google doc allowed her to organize her notes easily. While I chatted with students, the teacher conferred with each child, having conversations about critters, such as rattle snakes and interesting creature features like mandibles. She also had conversations about note taking, citing resources, and strategies to prevent plagiarism. It was a sea of learning.
Check out the images of creatures found outside Thursday morning: