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September 30, 2012 / tasha cowdy

Giving students a choice

Recently the children have been engaged in a student initiated inquiry into the moon, sparked by a host country cultural event. In order to support and extend the children’s spontaneous inquiry I gather up a collection of resources. I assume that not all children will be interested in the same things. They learn in different ways so I try to find resources that will cater for different learning styles.
A group of children go to the library to find fiction and non-fiction books on the moon. Another group email the high school science department to ask if we could borrow a model of the moon, and email the IT department to ask if they could put Google Earth’s Moon Globe on our iPads. I supply a range of other materials to cater for the range of learning styles and interests.

When we come to our inquiry time the children have opportunities to construct their understandings about the moon using clay, wire, paint, pen and pencil drawings, books, 3D models, touch screen reference apps and youtube video clips. The children collaborate and work together, switching between the iPad app, globes, clay, black line drawings, non-fiction books and youtube video clips.

As they work, the children share findings, dispute ideas, test theories and co-construct their understandings, revising their schemas in the light of new information. Although only one of the choices offered involves the use of digital technology, the children are engaged in questioning, building, inventing and connecting in their physical environment at level that is right for them. These children are laying strong foundations on which to develop their attitudes, skills and understandings with regard to digital learning, as they move up though the school.

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