Spelling with Substance

Mike Neufeld As a teacher in an inquiry based school, I thoroughly enjoy approaching the curriculum with students in a manner that accommodates flexibility and open-ended exploration. This manifests itself easily in larger, inquiry-based projects, yet I always find that I ask myself, “What does Inquiry look like for smaller, day to day lessons?” With this in mind, I was curious as to how I might take spelling beyond rote memorization of lists and paragraphs and into something that was more individualized for the diverse students in my classroom. After a good deal of experimentation and tweaking I have developed … Continue reading Spelling with Substance

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

The Cat Food Problem

-by Val Barnes (Grade 5 Math Teacher) and Kevin Sonico (Math Learning Coach) The Grade 5 students were posed with the task of determining which store, Petland or PetSmart, gave a better deal on the same brand and same size of cat food (Figure 1). Before proceeding with their solutions, students must hypothesize through estimation and rounding which of the two would be the better deal. Students then worked in groups to solve this problem. Each group was also assigned a Grade 8 student who facilitated the discussion. The facilitators’ responsibilities did not include providing hints or strategies, rather to … Continue reading The Cat Food Problem

Learning Off the Grid! The beginning…

-by Greg Neil, Grade 5 Math/Science Editors note: Greg’s classroom was just featured on Canadian Geographic’s the Energy Diet Challenge. One of Greg’s students recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Calgary Herald. To read that letter, click here. As a science teacher at the Calgary Science School, I am always looking for ways to engage my students in rich, authentic learning experiences. When planning for the Grade 5 Electricity Unit, I was looking for ways to move beyond the basic outcomes associated with this unit and to tie our learning to a more meaningful project that promotes … Continue reading Learning Off the Grid! The beginning…

Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning

At the Connect Charter School we focus on inquiry-based learning, technology-intergration, Collaboration, Education Research, Authentic Learning Experiences and outdoor/environmental education . We believe these pillars come together to provide students with opportunities for authentic, meaningful and relevant learning. At the core of our program is inquiry – an approach to learning and teaching (including teacher learning) that is the foundation of all we do. Our thinking around inquiry is that it is more than just ‘doing projects’ but is rather nurturing a dispostion toward critical thinking, reflection and idea improvement in all learners in our building. In creating and sharing … Continue reading Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning

Building Personal Connection to History

At the end of last school year, one of our grade 5 humanities teachers, Tanya Stogre, engaged her students in a lengthy study of Canadian history designed to nurture personal connection with figures from our countries past. Over the course of a few months, students selected and researched a figure from Canadian history who they personally identified with based on their characteristics, struggles, accomplishments, and life story. Students demonstrated their connection with this historical figure in a number of ways including the recreation of diary entries, museum installations and a podcast interview with the historical figure. As a summarizing representation … Continue reading Building Personal Connection to History

Using iMovie for Scientific Thinking

As a 1:1 school, one of our continual goals is to leverage the power of technology to support deep and intellectually rigorous work. Like many others, we believe that teaching and learning should not be about the tools, however emerging technologies, when embedded in well designed projects, can assist students in deep understanding and meaningful assessment. The research report from our school confirms that technology becomes a powerful tool for engagement, when partnered with effective teaching practices. One of the ways that we have seen technology have a significant impact on student learning is around assessment. Here at CSS we … Continue reading Using iMovie for Scientific Thinking

Drawing Fractions: Fine Arts Integration

Written by Candice Shaw, Grade 5 Math/Science Specialist One of our new initiatives this year is a Fine Arts Integration Program with our grades 4, 5 and 6students. The purpose of this initiative is to deepen the collaboration between our Fine Arts program and the core subject areas. Click here to read more about our upcoming art/science integration conference. As part of this new initiative, a Fraction Art project was created in collaboration between a visual arts specialist and a math/science specialist. In math, Grade 5 students had completed most of the fraction unit when this project was introduced. The … Continue reading Drawing Fractions: Fine Arts Integration

Google Earth for Mapping Math

Our grade 5’s have just finished using Google Earth to solve a math problem designed to build large number sense. The students were challenged to find a route across Canada, starting in Calgary, that would take them to each of the capital cities. The trip could go in any order after leaving Calgary, but the students needed to complete their trip using at least 20,000 km and not going over 25,000 km. In order to complete the trip, the students first needed to know the names and locations of all 14 capital cities, including territories and the capital of Canada, … Continue reading Google Earth for Mapping Math

Illustrative Examples of Inquiry-Based Learning

Here at the Calgary Science School we build our understanding of inquiry-based learning around the Inquiry Rubric developed in conjunction with the Galileo Educational Network. To help unpack how the Galileo Inquiry Rubric is lived out in specific projects from our school, we’ve compiled the following list of projects tied to particular elements of the Inquiry Rubric: Authenticity Boreal Forst Study Sustainable Communities Google Earth for Mapping Math Academic Rigour Worldview Survey Water Quality Testing Creating Virtual Rube Goldberg Machines Active Exploration Renaissance Project Grade 5 Historical Fiction Compassion Canada Your Story is My Story Endangered Species Assessment for Learning … Continue reading Illustrative Examples of Inquiry-Based Learning