Another hectic, busy workday in Room66. While our shake jar settle, students are putting to work all that they've researched about this 9000 year old timeperiod from books, the internet and other sources of information.
Here's the place where they're stepping away from my required lesson plan and my checklist of "Have To Do's" (you know those curriculum pieces that I was hired to teach). Here's where they are asking and answering the questions about this mastodon or time period that interests them. Here's where we hook 'em with things that interest them.
I'm loving it.
They're loving it.
Here one of the groups is busy trying to build the layers of a mastodon. They've gotten bits of wire that are bending into the shape of the skeleton, then (as you can see the girl in the green shirt doing) they are layering on the tissue of the mastodon. To be followed, after the tissue layer dries, with the hairy coat. It was this hairy coat that got the whole thing rolling. They wanted to know how this coat helped them survive the cold times without being too hot in the warm times. So they've read and read....and looked at tons of pictures/videos on the subject. Now they're trying to build a model that is half a mastodon so you can see inside the creature to understand.
This group studied what mastodons and mammoths ate. They are using the egg cartons as the base for the mastodon teeth which they will contrast with a different kind of model to the mammoth teeth. Again...this is their idea and their creation. It's very nifty...even though they forgot to bring a paint brush and they had to make shift one out of an old sponge I found under my sink!!!!
They didn't and I eventually relaxed.
What they were doing is making casts of what they thought footprints would look like. Someone had gone to Colorado over the summer. In a cave where they were vacationing, they saw dinosaur footprints from the underside. The rock had eroded and weathered away from below....leaving just the indentations of the footprint. So they were trying to re-create this kind of thing only with mastodon footprints. We won't know for a couple of days if it worked and if the mold they built worked. But they tried and it was all their idea.
Maybe one that doesn't look so spectacular, but one that is full of amazing info.
These are my quieter kids...the ones that really dug deep into their topic. They wanted to know what other kinds of animals lived as contemporaries of the mastodon we're studying. So they've done an amazing amount of research to find out. They chose to create this map and will have small articles that describe each animal they think is significant. It's a thorough piece of research that took the 4 boys about 4-5 hours to put the map and all the animals together. The amazing thing about this was that they got together over the weekend....they were so excited they couldn't wait to get back to school. So they met and worked on drawing out the map at home.