CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

Grades: 6-9 Subject: All As part of our Collaboration and Outreach Program, the Calgary Science School is creating and sharing podcasts and PDF handouts of inquiry-based lessons designed by our teachers. We encourage feedback, comments and dialogue on the materials we publish. This podcast contains one approach to assessing website credibility by introducing three criteria for students to use when conducting internet research projects. These materials on website credibility were designed by The Critical Thinking Consortium, and are shared here with their permission. Here’s the accompanying PDF of the handouts. You can download the PDF by clicking on the download … Continue reading CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

Deirdre Bailey Traditionally, Grade 4 “Wheels, Levers and Devices that Move” units involve hands on investigations in which students have the opportunity to build something. Often however, these building opportunities are heavily regulated and have students follow a specific set of instructions, put pieces together sequentially and then showcase a collection of virtually identical products. While I can’t pretend to know a whole lot about engineering, I am pretty confident that if the discipline were focused on building from instruction booklets, Chris Hadfield wouldn’t have spent the last 6 months in space. As Dr. David Perkins’ mentions in Making Learning Whole, kids … Continue reading How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project

Candice Shaw The Grade 4 and 7 Math and Science teams were fortunate enough to attend the Calgary Science School/Rocky View Schools Cross Authority  STEM planning days in April. During these days, we were able to brainstorm, collaborate, and “flush out” a cross-grade collaborative unit. Both Grade 4 and 7 Science have units on Plants – Plant Growth and Changes (Grade 4) and Plants for Food and Fibre (Grade 7). The initial vision for the unit was created by Carolyn Armstrong and Deirdre Bailey, when they attended the Cross Authority Environmental Stewardship planning days. When Heather Melville and I jumped … Continue reading Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project

On Light, Shadows and Experience

Deirdre Bailey and Jenna Callaghan We began a recent investigation into Light and Shadows in Grade 4 by posing the question “What is Light?” to our students. Before beginning the conversation, we reminded students that the world is not nearly as concrete or easily-understood as over-simplified statements of “fact” might often imply. We talked about how scientists are by nature inquisitive, always open to possibility and a reinvention of old ideas. We suggested that throughout our inquiry, they too might have the potential to share a completely new perspective, contribute to making new discoveries and either support or disprove current thoughts. With … Continue reading On Light, Shadows and Experience

Pi Discoveries with Grade 4

Heather Melville ~Grade 4 Math/Science What is Pi? Why are we celebrating Pi Day? Didn’t you spell Pi wrong Mrs. Melville? March 14th turned into deep mathematical discussions for the 4.3 and 4.4 students. Rather than thinking the concept of Pi was too difficult for the students to comprehend, we explored what knowledge we already had and applied it to a new idea. Our math class began with a read aloud book titled; “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi” by Cindy Neuschwander. We discussed the character names and what they were mathematically (radius, diameter, circumference, geometry and symmetry). The … Continue reading Pi Discoveries with Grade 4

Crowd Sourcing Fourth Graders

by Deirdre Bailey Cross-posted on Savouring the Ish I’ve got a novel on iPads in the grade four classroom waiting to be written. Lots of discoveries, ideas, struggles and triumphs. I just need to find the time to document it all properly. This brief gem, however, is too awesome not to share. Earlier this year, our teaching team’s excited discovery of the Edmodo app as an excellent resource for collecting and organizing student work digitally and providing an avenue for ongoing feedback was stinted by the limitation of only being able to upload images or links from the iPads. Our optimism was recently renewed … Continue reading Crowd Sourcing Fourth Graders

Inquiring into Plant Growth and Changes in Grade 4

Amy Park and Deirdre Bailey Earlier this year we had a pretty cool opportunity to connect with Mount Royal University professor Dr. David Bird to co-present on Plant Growth and Changes for the Calgary Science Network. We were most eager for an opportunity to ask Dr. Bird what one one thing he wished his university students came in with that we might be able to foster in elementary school. His answer was unhesitatingly curiosity. He wished his students arrived at university with a desire, confidence and ability to ask scientific questions. Overwhelmingly, many of them arrived reluctant to explore, preferring instead … Continue reading Inquiring into Plant Growth and Changes in Grade 4

Math & Science Inquiry Projects

CSS Math & Science Inquiry Projects Database Our Math and Science Team has created a Google Doc to house a database of inquiry projects that they will use throughout the year. The goal of this database is to provide a place where teachers within the school and ultimately, teachers from outside the school, can see how we foster inquiry within our own classrooms. If you would like to learn more about one of the projects or have a question please add a comment below.Click here to visit the Project Database:CSS Math and Science Inquiry Project Database Continue reading Math & Science Inquiry Projects

Collaboration: The Art of Strengthening

Amy Park and Deirdre Bailey [Investigating the truth of opinions] consists not in trying to discover the weakness of what is said, but in bringing out its real strength. It is not the art of arguing but the art of thinking… the art of strengthening. (Gadamer, 1975) Abstract Although there is substantial research supporting collaborative practices in school environments, definitions of the term vary widely. Most often, collaboration in schools remains limited to sharing resources or co-planning. A significantly prohibitive factor in allowing teachers to achieve mutually valuable, collaborative relationships are the perceived or established imbalances of power. Traditionally, collaborative … Continue reading Collaboration: The Art of Strengthening

Google just keeps killing it.

by Deirdre Bailey, I work at an innovative and creative institution. Perhaps it is because of the freedom we have to explore possibilities that we are often unaware of the depth to many of the simplest resources that are available. It is also without a doubt hard to be constantly adapting one’s practice to ever-updating technology applications. Certainly, in this day and age, the sheer volume of resources available in education can be overwhelming. Navigating options and rating their relative value is always intimidating, particularly on the heels of a full 7 hours in front of students. But google docs is … Continue reading Google just keeps killing it.