The children take it in turns to hold the torch and be the earth. During this activity they continued to discuss amongst themselves, they chatted about what time they were representing, morning, dinnertime and evening (appendix 3). They then turned the globe around and pretended to live in different parts of the world, deciding who was awake and who was asleep, I was still at the display listening just in case further explanation or intervention was needed.
Exploring further using the mobile the children were able to consider the distance between the earth, sun and moon. Discussion with them led to mathematical equations to work out how we could show these using children in the playground area. The children took from the display the objects that represented Earth, Sun and Moon and went onto the playground, further questioning was used in this area to recognise the movement of the Earth, Sun and Moon as well as the relative distances. The children were able to convert the measurements into metres and kilometres in order to show this in the playground.
Most of the children did not realize the huge distance between the Sun and Earth. Adults were able to discuss ways of testing. An example of looking at aeroplanes in the sky, the size they look when they are flying compared to when they are on the ground. Again the children tried to represent this on the playground, this was difficult but the children were able then to make the connection regarding size and distance. This particular group of children are mainly from the able ability group, the lower ability also observed what was happening but had no input during the discussion. Using the Concept cartoons I targeted the lower ability group to see what their knowledge of how a day is recognised during the next session.
Concept Cartoon 14.1 24 Hours page 173 Appendix 2 Help was given with reading, the children circled the appropriate answer correctly ‘The Earth spins once every 24 hours’ which then led into a questioning session to confirm that this was not a guess. A – So can you give me any ideas as to how we know this? C – Is that why when we wake up it is light and when we go to be it is dark cause we’ve turned round and now its daytime it must be bedtime in Australia and other countries at the other side of the world
C – Yeh and 24 hours means 1 day A – Excellent, that is right, Lets go and have a look on the computer and see if we can find anything to help us see what happens in 24 hours to earth We were then able to access the NASA website www.nasaforkids.com where we could explore the movement of earth. The children could also explore how a year is formed through this and other sites, through talking to them whilst on the computer, they showed that they had no idea about this.
With help the children used some of the information they gathered off the computer and information from adults to write a short paragraph to put on the display for the rest of the class (appendix 4) The group were able to print off some quizzes to look at, which were than used on the display. Following this activity using the idea of concept cartoons a range of card games were created using ideas found during recent readings It is through the ensuing discussion and argument that learning occurs and cognitive changes will be made. Primary Science Review 72 (page 6) March/April 2002 Bob Kibble
These cards were put into the ICT suite, the children were then encouraged to play the game in pairs, then look on the internet to see who or if they were correct. The children were then encouraged to write a short paragraph on the computer to put along side the cards to explain which were correct. A great deal of discussion was held in the ICT suite at this point, although the more able group went on to looking at the position of the rest of the solar system and seasons, the lower ability group continued their investigation into day and night, the year and shadows. By way of assessment the children were continually challenged to explain their answers put onto the display.
A – Can you tell me which sphere represents the earth? C – The pea A – How did you know that? C – Well the beach ball must be the sun because it’s the biggest, and I think the bead must be the bean cause it’s not as small as earth. A – Yes, you’re quite right, well done A sundial brought into school proved a successful tool to use to help with the concept of time passing and the creation of shadows. The children were able to use this over the period of a week to record information and show it in the form of a graph.
In conclusion the display was a great success, both at the onset of the unit and continually throughout, the teacher was able to make good use of it throughout lessons and the children had access to it constantly. Although all the displays in the class are thoroughly planned and used as a point of reference and for displaying children’s work it was clear that due to the knowledge I was trying to gain from it that we used it a lot more. The class teacher was pleased with the out come, particularly by the lower ability group as they participated in a lot of the activity’s even though they were very unsure about the concepts been challenged.
The notion that display within the classroom can support young children’s learning is the aspect that is least recognised. Stimulation and motivation are starting points for learning, but display can provide support once children have embarked upon their work. … requires though and consideration about how good display contributes to effective learning rather than simply making the room look nice. Reading for reflective teaching in the primary school (p 201)
This quote was of most relevance to the project given and would appear to be a true statement. Although this unit only begins to look at the solar system, a good deal of children wanted to explore further, which they were encouraged to do. The range of questions was broad and the answers were sometimes difficult to comprehend for the children without the use of representative equipment. A good subject knowledge was of up most importance to be able to answer the children’s questions appropriately, the need to explore thoroughly the subjects taught is a necessity which can be difficult, but enlightening at the same time!