Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cahokia Mounds

By the fourth week of school, our fifth graders have been on two (yes, TWO) field trips! Wow. The Ropes Course was scheduled in desperation...there were only a few slots available and the second week of school was the best fit for us! And it worked! :)

Cahokia Mounds was intentionally scheduled before we even dipped our toes into the curriculum. Why? Well, sometimes field trips can be boring if you go into it knowing all the information. Going before the unit allowed students to be more engaged and having the iPad Minis really helped, too!

Before going on the field trip, we have explored a really great Essential Question (EQ): What makes a community? This has been the question of our first quarter and it ties in really well with our first Social Studies unit of Native Americans. So to make the field trip experience a valuable one, we decided to have students take pictures of things that answered the EQ. Students truly were taking pictures and I'm sure that many people thought that we had brought 75 students studying to be the next generation paparazzi. When they returned to school, students were asked to make a collage with the pictures (using the Pic Collage app) they had taken that best answered the EQ.

Here is some of their work:
Do you notice a common string of pictures? :)

Now that we've seen what we are going to study, the students are able to draw from this valuable experience to help them navigate the information they will encounter about Cahokia.

Last week, students started learning about the history of Cahokia and were able to do so using the iPad Mini and the Google Drive app. Here is the Cahokia - History document that students saw and then responded to: Cahokia - History Google Doc

Students then picked an item that was important to the history of Cahokia and made a visual representation. Students, however, were not allowed to write anything down (no pens, pencils, markers, crayons, etc...), not allowed to use scissors, and had to use whatever was available to them in the classroom. Take a look at how creativity came into play!
Can you figure out what each display means and how it ties in with the history of Cahokia? (It might help to look at the Google doc and see what was mentioned by the students!)

I can't wait to see what students do create with the other disciplines of social studies!

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