Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sharing Student Interest Across Grade Levels- Volcanoes!

In kindergarten enrichment students select a topic for a center which they will lead during our exploratory time.  When one student approached me about the idea of volcanoes....we instantly realized that we would need to have simulated volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar!  But I also saw the chance to make a connection with a fourth grade student who was studying the same topic for his fourth grade enrichment/library capstone project.  Due to the flexibility of the fourth grade teacher in allowing him to visit our class, and a willing fourth grader who was excited to share his expertise with a K class.....we had a great discussion!  First the K student told about why he liked volcanoes.  Next the fourth grader answered questions from the class.  It was amazing to listen to his expert answers, carefully crafted both for content and to his audience!  The transference of his understanding from a research project to an authentic audience was awesome!  And the kindergarten respected his opinions and ideas.  After some 'volcanic eruptions' the class entered into a great discussion about why the volcanoes we made did not exactly replicate real life.  K students noted differences in the way the 'lava' flowed and the fourth grader shared different types of volcano eruptions he had learned about. He also gave them some insight into his research about volcanic rock!

This interaction was a great example of how an authentic audience can build student confidence and value in their research!

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