My sixth graders at the time were only two and so the sixth graders have been feeling left out. 8th grade took an all-day field trip last month. We have had several "mini field trips" or "excursions" as the kids call them in my science class. We joined up with NASA and did a cloud and weather study in the fall, but that was back when I only had two students. We've had parts of class outside as a reward, which is HUGE at our school. You see, we teach in an area that could be safer, and there are frequently gunshots in the blocks surrounding the school. Also, many of our kids have a tendency to make a run for it when we take them outside. I've been promising my sixth graders a "mini field trip" to the great outdoors during our study of plants. Yes, I know we're super behind. I didn't get my first 6th grader until 7 weeks into school, and he had just been rotting around waiting to be put in a classroom until we got him. So, we started at the beginning. Just 7 weeks late.
Today was THE day. It was sunny and ended up being in the low 80s, but we went out this morning when it was probably about 70 and just slightly breezy. The kids were ANGELIC. They stayed on task, stayed close to me, did everything they were supposed to do and then some, asked intuitive questions, and had so much fun! It was what they talked about all day. Here's the big trip:
1. Line students up and remind them that bad behavior will bring us back into the classroom to do something much less exciting.
2. Send them outside and comb by areas to find leaves of plants that are different. When the kids have combed one section, move to another.
3. Make sure that the kids have a variety of trees, bushes, flowering plants, grass, etc.
4. My kids also picked up a few variety of mushrooms (which I told them were toxic--- they're not, but I saw no need for them to try and eat/ smoke them) and some moss. This worked out wonderfully later when we
5. Came inside, sorted our plants on our own
6. Used a dichotomous key to identify plants and to check the ones that we already knew for correctness.
7. Reviewed the Kingdoms of Classification- why are moss and fungus NOT plants?
8. Examined our plants closely with the naked eye, then under a microscope.
9. Discussed/ wrote/ drew about angiosperms and gymnosperms, vascular and nonvascular plants, etc.
10. Ms. Green "dissected" some of the plants and we got to look at them up close under the microscope examining different parts to have a living example of the things we've been talking about and seeing pictures of.
11. They had so much fun, and it was SO easy. Of course, I forgot my camera ....... again. I realized when they were all sharing the microscopes and clustered around working as a team and excitedly pointing things out and making connections that I needed it. I'd thought about it briefly during the collection process, but I have memories at least.
This lesson reminded me that I need to channel my inner scavenger hunt. I haven't done nearly as many this year as I did last.
Also, Kim at Finding Joy in 6th Grade is super sweet and nominated me for a blogging award. I was also nominated for this award by one of my best friends from college, Rachel at Happily Ever After a really long time ago, but it got shoved to the back of my to-do list.
It's .... the Liebster Award!