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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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.
Even though the topic of inquiry was set, students were able to pose questions
about those areas that interested them particularly.
The photos following show the actual artifacts students were able to examine with their
5 senses and extract questions based on their perceptions
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.
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.
Lessons on Africa
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.
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.
The majority of my students are in situations of poverty and were completely in
Tuned with the circumstances that students in South Africa faced.
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.
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.
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)