Bonny Slope’s fourth graders recently dove hands-first into their “Where We Are in Place and Time” unit, exploring the concept of Adaptation by observing and experiencing erosion, weathering and deposition. A BSCO teacher grant supported this unit by providing four stream table kits, each complete with a large sturdy plastic tray, hoses, outlets, and support accessories.
In this unit, fourth graders take a deeper look at natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and erosion. Over the years, the teachers have built up elements of this unit, adding soil/mineral samples, creating an earthquake simulator and using lincoln logs to encourage design standards.
However, the unit’s erosion portion was in need of improvement. Aliyah Taylor, a Bonny Slope fourth grade teacher, explains, “We've stumbled through aspects of this unit in the past. While we have been blessed to build up our text resources, use district science kits and FOSS kits, we know that IB and our inquiry work drives us to go deeper.”
The fourth grade team submitted an application to BSCO’s Teacher Grant program and were approved in February. The stream tables have been an incredible success and added additional learning opportunities for students, as well as logistical ease for the fourth grade team.
Dana Buttler, also a BSE fourth grade teacher, has been thrilled with the addition to her classroom. “The amount of discussion on the first day after we worked with wind and water erosion was PHENOMENAL! In many ways, it has allowed for greater equity in learning as ALL the kids could share connections to their own experiences outdoors. Everyone's experiences mattered and helped us all learn and ask good questions. The kids are completing sketches and written observations and are coming up with an extensive list of possible variables to change in order to learn more about how erosion works,” Buttler shared.
Taylor concurred, adding, “It has been a blast to watch our students light up with the hands on, ‘real-life’ feel. Anytime we can bring the world INTO the classroom with tangible experiences, understanding deepens and success increases. Science is such a vital part of many of our units, and it's a gift when we are able make the science come alive. Our students have been able to see how wind impacts dry sand, as well as multiple experiences with water eroding away sediment with the use of these tables. Students are using excellent observations skills, data collecting, formulation questions that inspire our next trials and drawing excellent conclusions around the Earth and it's materials. Thanks BSCO for funding this hands on opportunity for fourth grade!”
Total grant approved: $303.20