Monday, March 24, 2014

Peeling the Fruit (from Making Thinking Visible Website)

I wanted to try something new with my classes this year for science.  We have been learning about plants and curriculum says they need to know the six parts, and what they need to survive (sun, soil, water and air).  BLAH!!  So of course, we have to dig a little deeper...or a lot actually.  I'm finding that their questions are so intense that I have a hard time answering them, but I'm thrilled that we are all thinking together.  We have been focusing on using backwards design for our PLCs this year, and so when I was planning this unit I wanted a routine that I felt really lent itself to small adaptions while still being true to the routine.  After a lot of research on the Making Thinking Visible facebook page, I found the routing "Peeling the Fruit" and felt this would be perfect!
So here is a breakdown of how we did the routine.  (We will be doing this six different times for the different parts of a far we've only done the fruit).
Looking over this guide:
I came up with questions that would help us dive deeply into what fruit are (we took the 'Peeling the Fruit' literally since we are learning about fruit!!).
On purple post it notes the students wrote what was at the core of this using the question "What are fruit?" as a guide.
On blue post it notes they built explanations and made connections using the questions: "Why are fruits important?" and "What is the purpose of a fruit?"
On yellow post it notes they posted mysteries or puzzles they had while doing their research.

The students were able to use a variety of books at different levels about plants and we are so lucky to have iPads in our classroom that students were able to also read articles on them and watch BrainPop Jr videos about plants.

I allowed a lot of extra time for this routine because I really wanted them to stop and think about the purpose and what would happen if we didn't have fruit, and let me tell you-their questions stumped me (and my para!).  I found myself doing research right along side them, and it was a lot of fun.  Here is a picture of what our routine looked like when we finished.
 It's hard to read their responses in the photo (especially the purple ones) but our responses ranged from "A fruit is the part of the plant that protects the seed." to "Do all plants have fruit?"  The second question may seem simple...but as we dove further into answering it, we discovered that in order for a fruit to form, the plant has to have a flower.  Some plants don't have flowers (like algae or mold) and therefore don't have fruits.  But do they protect their seeds?!  And does that mean they don't produce seeds? (Not every plant does, some have spores...we discovered that to!)  Each answer seemed to lead to another question, which is what I have been striving for, for YEARS. 

Overall, I REALLY felt like this was some of the deepest thinking I have seen second graders doing about plants.  It was really awesome and I can't wait for our next ones!!

1 comment:

  1. Shannon,

    I like that you picked such a complex question for them to use this routine. I also would have been researching right along side them. We are lucky that we have teachers, like you, who promote thinking as something that is worthwhile and fun AND not easy. I am always telling my students that it is okay to do hard things.

    I am going to check out the Making Thinking Visible website and FB page as well. This seems like an excellent routine for promoting collaborative thinking and research.