So what happened during the zoo map question quest activity?

Last week, I blogged about an idea. You can see that post here.

So…how did it go?

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It was AMAZING! Now, don’t let me mislead you. We had one hiccup and had to stop a few times to change guidelines as we went but my 2nd graders blew me away.

We do lots of pair and group work so we did not have to go over group expectations. My kids have also been using Google Drive since September and they have worked on shared Google Docs for awhile. However, they have not experienced 5 different groups working on one doc. Let’s go ahead and talk about the first hiccup.

Hiccup: The students had a hard time navigating in and around the boxes.

They were SO excited they started before I really expected them to so a little chaos ensued. Excited chaos but chaos. There were lots of “Someone is erasing our answers!” and “Why are we typing in the directions?”

Solutions: We should have had a “test” for each group so everyone could find the cursor for their group. The second solution is to make only one group is in a box at a time.

We all had to put our hands in the air so no one was on the keyboards and they came up with the solution. It worked and we had only few problems with this issue after the solution was agreed upon.

Click here to see the final Google Doc of the activity. Each group had an assigned color. This helped me see group answers. I could read it by color to see group work or I could just read each box to see how the class did overall.

Even with the chaos, the activity went better than I imagined. It surprised me!

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Here is what went right:

1. Engagement- The kids were so engaged in this activity. They worked on the questions for over an hour.They liked the harder questions and kept working until they could answer them.

2. Cooperation- They worked together, not only in teams, but as a whole class. They encouraged one another and praised each other for answering a question well.

3. Critical Thinking- The questions were designed to have some recall, some inference and some open-ended questions. This activity challenged the kids to think beyond the first logical answer. If one group “took” a group’s answer, the group had to come up with another one.  Worksheets are limited. Even if you have an open-ended one, students do not see answers of others. Teachers usually get the same answers- the first ones that pop into their heads.

4. Effort- I noticed that the groups were more precise about spelling and writing mistakes. I think this was due to the fact that they had to record answers that everyone could read and understand. They took this seriously. It was by far their best self-editing project EVER. I didn’t have to make any corrections.

5. Skills covered-The students had to use many skills to complete this task: recall, inference, map skills, calendar skills, drawing conclusions, elapsed time, collaboration, and communication.

6. Authentic Learning-Kids visit museums, zoos, aquariums, and amusement parks. Most of these places provide maps. It is a skill they will use outside of school. They need to know how and where to find information. They also need to know that they can find this information on the map, in an insert, or on the back of the map.

I will do an activity like this again. I might add questions that would require the students to visit the location’s website. Websites are updated frequently. This would include other technology skills as well.

I was worried it might be a disaster and it could have been.I learned from the hiccups we had. We might encounter a different hiccup or two next time and we will learn from those as well.  That’s what it’s all about. Learning.

Here are a few more pictures from the activity:

 

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4 thoughts on “So what happened during the zoo map question quest activity?

  1. Wow! What a great learning experience for you and your kids! What a terrific concept! I know that there are times when a teacher’s expectations for a lesson are so high that it can feel like they didn’t quite get there. Not in this case, look at all they learned. Congratulations!

    • Thanks, Eric. I love an idea in my mind actually comes out better than I planned. Seeing answers from other groups was powerful. I think education isolates kids with their work/ideas too often. I know we have to see what they can do individually but learning from each other is more beneficial. Plus, in real life, co-workers collaborate on projects/presentations/cases etc… more often than work on individual ones. I often hear on twitter, “We are better together,” and this is also true for kids!

  2. The kids are so engaged and learning important skills! I love your point about critical thinking improvements that come from having all students work on the same activity. It’s great that you found a way to work out the few kinks quickly. I can’t remember if they’re going to the zoo also, but it would be a great prep. activity if so. They’d get a good sense of the place in a quieter environment and could then have time to take in more about the animals while there. Terrific!

    • Sarah,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I was very happy about the engagement level. We are going to the zoo! We were supposed to go last Friday but we had horrible weather that day. Now we are going in May. They will be ready to explore the zoo!
      Carol

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