Wonderopolis for Science Inspiration?



Serving as both the 5th/6th grade Gifted Education teacher and the Grades 3-5 Science Specialist at an elementary school, Jayne Grubbs has a hectic schedule but loves every minute of it! She uses the information and questions from Wonderopolis in some pretty interesting ways. (I wrote about Jayne in an earlier post: Persistence Pays Off)

In class, Jayne distributes “Curiosity Questions” to her students. Students can earn “bugs” for thinking about and exploring possible answers to those questions … most of which come from Wonderopolis. The “bugs” students are trying to earn is part of a motivational technique used in her class.

Jayne finds ways to connect what may seem a simple question to a pretty detailed exploration of a science topic. She loves the way she is able to use good nonfiction text from Wonderopolis to integrate reading with science and to even bring in some social studies every once in a while.

Here are a few of the past Wonders she has used to serve as inspiration:

#191 Where do diamonds come from? She used the information about diamonds lead into a discussion of fossils. Students were involved in comparing and contrasting diamonds and fossils. They even had to write diamante poems comparing the two. I think that was one of her favorite lessons she has done.

#262 Can Plants Grow Without Soil?  She used this one as an introduction to hydroponics and created a very strong science lesson to go along with it. The more recent Wonder #487 Do All Plants Have Roots? would also be a great tie in.

#228 Do Elephants Ever Forget? The exploration of this one prompted the students to explore what makes a person’s memory work and not work. Students were so engaged that one student woke up in the middle of the night afraid of what would happen if he lost his memory and did not remember to breathe.

#422 Is the Sky falling? This wonder was used to explore meteors and comments in a 3rd grade class to go along with a state objective about how gravity affects things in space.

#432 Can Woolly Worms Predict the Weather? This wonder inspired a month long curiosity question and unit about how animals prepare for winter and how can we tell they are preparing for winter.

#355 Do Plants Need Hair Cuts? To go along with this wonder, her students did an experiment involving placing plant clippings in colored water to enable them to watch how the water moved through the veins in the plant.

Jayne loves how excited the kids are and also mentions that she has so much fun looking at all Wonderopolis has to offer that she could do it all day long! To hear her talk about all the things her students are doing, it is evident how much of an impact these activities are having on both the students and her as the teacher. I really need to get a video the next time we talk.

According to Jayne, she wants students to learn how to ask questions and to think.

Asking questions and exploring topics is what Wonderopolis is all about!!!

Talk about a great connection!

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