Wednesday, 13 February 2013

3. Do They Really Understand?

Continuing the reflecting on the unit: Cycles and Systems
(1. Tuning in to Space )
(2. Next Steps in Space )
After all the investigating, questioning, discussing, connecting, reflecting, drawing, reading, note-taking, writing, explaining, interpreting that my class has done on Cycles and Systems, I am still wondering..... do they really understand? How could we check this?

My colleague and next classroom neighbour, Peter came up with the following idea:

The connections between the earth’s cycles to its place in space are significant to life on earth

Think about how life on earth would be affected by each of these occurrences:

1.    Supposing the earth started moving further away from the moon...
2.    Supposing the earth started moving further away from the sun...
3.    Supposing the earth continued to orbit around the sun, but it stopped rotating...
4.    Supposing the earth continued to rotate, but it stopped orbiting the sun....

Take each one separately. Show your ideas, e.g. on a mind map. Make sure your notes are good enough to help you talk about your ideas in as much detail as you can, with examples of situations that might happen as a result of the change. 

What things would/might change, directly? (main branches of your mind map)
What things would/might change indirectly? (twigs off the main branches)

On the face of it these are challenging scenarios and you definitely have to understand what is happening in order to imagine a reverse situation. My students worked in pairs and had a fair go after some initial discussions together.
 Taking time to visit each others mind maps gave students the opportunity to ask questions and extend their thinking - which is a big part of what we want to do....
......extend the thinking....

Photos are mine.


  1. What was your summative for this unit?

  2. Morikke, I think it was a presentation with models, pictures and oral explanation to the grade 1 buddies... But it was 2 years ago now, at a school I am no longer at - so I can't recall for sure. We only did this unit 1 year. We replaced it with another science unit which had more hands on science.

  3. Hi Ms Buckley,
    What a shame you no longer do this unit, because it is so well thought out! I am going to be modelling my 5th grade Space unit on the information from your blog posts this year. Thanks so much for your reflections about it.

    1. Hi Joanne,
      I am so glad that you found this post interesting and useful. Good luck with your unit! I hope it goes well!