Thursday, 12 April 2018

Rocket Launches with 9TGn

This term I've been teaching Third Rock to my Year 9 class. It's a thematic unit that combines learning about tectonic plates, convection, earthquakes, volcanoes, energy changes, rocket launches, speed distance time calculations, investigations, life on Mars, seasons and all kinds of things! 

I've been twiddling it as we go through based on the class in front of me, and due to the school-wide (and cluster-wide) goal of improving the literacy of all of our students. There's been lots of pair and group reading and discussing, story-writing and blogging which has actually been really enjoyable for me to learn about and design for them, and they seemed to increasingly enjoy engaging with it. 

Last week we had a wee cross-curricular sequence. I was absent for the first part where students were supposed to read their first scientific fact-sheet kind of text (our other texts have been stories, articles, methods and reports) about types of energy.

Because the end of term was rapidly approaching (and Y9 camp too!) I didn't have time to catch them up on my return, so instead they continued over to graphics the next day and built their rockets with Ms Fergusson and then the next day we launched them on the field with Mr Dunn! 

Here is a student's perspective of the rocket launch on their blog :) 

I tried to have a few quick chats about the different forms of energy while we were on the field watching each group's launch, and during our next lesson we did some more on energy changes and they completed the activity identifying energy changes in our school Kapa Haka performance (that they should have completed the day I was absent!)

For a Do Now during the review lesson I created a word-find after a request from the students. Word-finds are not very useful for learning, I think, unless maaaaybe for the spelling of words. So instead of giving them a list of words to find I changed it so they could approach the learning in two ways: 

1) go looking for familiar words in the word-find and then match what they found to the appropriate definition OR 
2) identify what word they should be looking for based on the definition and THEN look for it in the word-find.

Click here for a link to the word-find.