Posing real questions finding relevant resources interpreting data sharing findings
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2 nd Grade Inquiry -based Lesson South Africa vs. Slaton, TX Ronelle Howell, Cathelene Thomas Elementary, Slaton TX [email protected] Posing real questions Finding relevant resources Interpreting data Sharing findings

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Posing real questions finding relevant resources interpreting data sharing findings

2nd GradeInquiry-based LessonSouth Africa vs. Slaton, TXRonelle Howell, Cathelene Thomas Elementary, Slaton [email protected]

  • Posing real questions

  • Finding relevant resources

  • Interpreting data

  • Sharing findings

    The steps above outline an inquiry-based lesson for any topic such as art elements, a particular artist or style. In this instance the process was applied to understanding, comparing and contrasting two cultures and environments. I devised this lesson to fit what my students, but feel free to adapt any part for your own needs. See notes below.


Step 1 posing real questions

Step 1: Posing Real Questions

  • What is a topic you are interested in?

  • What do you know already about this topic and how do I know it?

  • What do you want to learn about this topic?

  • What do you need to know?

  • What might a possible answer be?

Even though the topic of inquiry was set, students were able to pose questions

about those areas that interested them particularly.


Examining artifacts

Examining Artifacts

  • Wire Car and bicycle

  • Soda Can animals, relief landscape

  • Wire and Bead decorations

  • Soap Stone Carvings

  • Wooden Spear and Broom

  • Potato Printing, Patterned Shirts and Batiks

  • Drums, Gourd Rattles, Carved Wood Containers

  • Books: “Galimoto” and “Siyolo se Trui”

The photos following show the actual artifacts students were able to examine with their

5 senses and extract questions based on their perceptions


Step 2 finding relevant valid resources

Step 2: Finding Relevant, Valid Resources

  • What kinds of sources might help?

  • Where do you find them?

  • How do you know the information is valid?

  • What other information is there?

Even though I was born and raised in South Africa and could have told

the students what I wanted them to know, it was more important for

them to generate questions and find answers form a host of sources

We used printed literature, but focused mainly on a Peace Corps volunteer

in South Africa. Students wrote what they were interested in finding out

And we emailed the questions to our Peace Crops volunteer. We also mailed

Packages with stories, photos and drawings to South Africa about Slaton.


Questions posed to peace corps volunteer

Questions Posed to Peace Corps Volunteer

  • What materials are used to build houses where [you are living]?

  • Do kids really make their own toys? Have you seen toys made from wire, like cars and trucks?

  • Do kids go to school like we do? What are the schools like? Do the students really wear uniforms?

  • What kinds of art do you see?

See notes in notes section for this slide. Also: the slides following show en example of

Pages describing lessons and contacts through the Peace Corps volunteers site.


Sources of information

Sources of Information

  • Artifacts and Observation

  • Books: “Galimoto”, “My PaitedHouse”[by Maya Angelou] and “Siyolo se Trui” even though this book is in Afrikaans, the students readily understood the story through the illustrations

  • PowerPoint of Townships

  • PowerPoint of Slaton

  • Peace Corp Volunteer in the village of Mmametlhake, in South Africa

  • Web Sources: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html

  • http://www.proteacher.com/090062.shtml

    Lessons on Africa


Step 3 interpreting data

Step 3: Interpreting Data

  • How is this information relevant?

  • How does it relate to what else we know?

  • What parts support the hypothesis and what parts do not?

  • What new questions does it raise?

At this point, had received information from our Peace Corps volunteer in

South Africa. She answered all the questions and with great sensitivity related

her experiences and circumstances to concepts in West Texas. The following

slides show some of the answers that were sent back to my students.


Answers from south africa

Answers from South Africa

  • It is a very sandy area. All roads except for the main tar road that goes through the middle of the village is sand.

  • A regular household chore is raking the sand - as soon as you get it complete someone walks through it or the wind blows it around. (As autumn sets in, we have had many West Texas type windy days.)

  • Only wealthy people have grass lawns - upkeep is very expensive and time consuming.

  • My house/most of the houses in the village are made of brick covered with plaster. The bricks are handmade and appear to be a mixture of cement and sand.

These answers, for example, gave students the opportunity to begin their

Compare and Contrast exercise. Students were able to frame the answers

In a way that they could understand.


Answers from south africa1

Answers from South Africa

  • Some people have slated roofs, but most are roofs of corrugated tin -- it gets rather loud during a thunderstorm. The tin roofs also trap heat on hot days creating an oven effect. There are many houses in our area that are made entirely of corrugated tin. They are ridiculously hot during summer and ridiculously cold during winter.

  • Some people set these shanties up as temporary housing until they can build a brick house--that may mean saving for years and depending on the contractor waiting for many months or years for the completion of the house. But many more people use the houses as permanent structures and will live in them majority of their lives due to poverty.

The majority of my students are in situations of poverty and were completely in

Tuned with the circumstances that students in South Africa faced.


Answers from south africa2

Answers from South Africa

  • We use an outdoor tap for water. My host-family had installed an electric pump to bring up water from the well. Prior to that, they were using a hand pump. We are still waiting for the men to come and install the Jo-Jo. A jo-jo is a large plastic tank that stores water. When we have the tank installed, the pump will pump water into the Jo-Jo and the tap will deliver water from the Jo-Jo.

  • I have a plastic barrel that I store water in for use in the house. It probably holds about 15 - 20 gallons of water. I have to refill it every 3 - 4 days, which is a process of filling up a 5 gallon bucket at the tap and carrying it into the house. Right now the water is very sandy. Safe to drink, but it needs to be filtered to get the sand out. I use a Britae filter for this. Every night I filter about 12 liters of water for use the next day. I have other buckets that I use to store the filtered water. When the Jo-Jo is completed, I will hopefully only have to filter water for drinking purposes.

We decided to use a Venn Diagram to graph the information. Each 2nd grade class

Completed a similar graph [6 2nd grade classes]. See the following 2 slides.


Step 4 sharing findings

Step 4: Sharing Findings

  • What was your experience in this inquiry?

  • What were some of your key learnings?

  • What challenges did you face?

  • What questions do you still have?

This step is a crucial part of the inquiry. In the spirit of the art they saw

And handled from South Africa, students made cardboard and soda

can assemblages about their own town. The 2 day project revealed

insightful expressions of vibrant color and deep connections to the

community. They also wrote about their experience and learning while

in the art room. All of these steps were shared with the school by posting

Displays in the hallway. This was later expanded to other writing endeavors

In their homerooms.


Creating an inquiry based lesson

Creating an Inquiry Based Lesson

  • Choose a set of TEKS and design an inquiry-based lesson that will expand students’ perceptual skills in [fine arts].

  • Prepare the lesson using:

    • The TEKS

    • Specific skill

    • Assessment approach

    • Lesson design


Closing quote

Closing Quote

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


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