In Science right now we are studying living things. Our "Big Idea" is Living things grown and change in many ways.
To "get at" what we knew about living things we first talked about what living things are. They each had a paper and listed 5 things that they knew were living. Then we filled out this 'T chart'. We knew that there were two groups of things: Plants and Animals. The first column on each side was what they came up with on their own.
THEN, we broke up into a Boy team and a Girl team. Each group had a piece of chart paper and their challenge was to come up with as many different animals and write them down as they could in 5 minutes, when the timer went off it was pencils down or get a penalty. They talked about how they could do this so the other team wouldn't hear what they were saying. It was really interesting to see 11 girls around a little piece of chart paper, but they all worked well together. Would you believe BOTH groups came up with the exact SAME number of animals and plants. On the 'T chart' the girls is the second column and the boys is the third column. It was pretty amazing to see their team work.
We then generated questions about animals during our Daily 5 writing time the next day. After we listed them on chart paper we decided if the questions were researchable or testable (are we going to find the answer in a book, OR get messy with an experiment).
The first question we decided to answer was "How can we break animals up into groups?" We made the CLAIM that Groups of animals are called families, we will see if our thinking changes. We used our science text books to find the answers, (because our science text book was written by experts on the subject) and made another chart.
Right now we are working on some research projects using World Book Web or Kids. We completed our investigation journals about each group of animals and are now working on detail research on animals of Iowa. More to come later!