I am very lucky to have supportive administration. After returning from this year’s NC Science Education conference, I raved about Discovery Education’s Science Techbook. My Superintendent of Curriculum, Dr Bryan, set up a demo meeting with their sales reps who made a great presentation. I was given permission to pilot the Techbook with my 1:1 5th graders for the remainder of the school year.
Well, today was our first day with our new “Science Book” (a huge understatement of what this product offers). We are currently involved in a unit on weather, so I chose a DE Techbook lesson (already set up with leveled reading materials, including an ebook, several short video clips, and links to glossary weather terms). The directions (already created) told my students to research the answers to three essential questions pertaining to weather systems using the materials list I have mentioned above. The list of materials of course included live links to everything (approx.10 items) they could choose to use.
They went to work! They were watching video clips, reading short factual passages, and taking notes/drawing pictures in their science notebooks. The more I told them how impressed I was at their independent researching skills (while taking pictures, of course), the more engaged they became.
When the period came to an end, I asked them what they thought of the activity today. Overwhelmingly, comments were positive. Some mentioned enjoying having different materials to explore along with the choice of which ones to look at. Some mentioned how watching the video clips helped them picture what they later read in a short passage or one of the ebooks. They all asked when they’d be able to share what they learned because they were so excited about it! Now that is what gaining background knowledge should look like!
Yes, we will go on to have several discussions, and yes, we will be working on some inquiry-based labs to support our learning, but what an exciting way to front-load the content! Thank you Discovery Education Techbook and Dr. Bryan!!
Check out this slideshow of the kids experiencing their new “Science Book”