During this lesson I introduced our new topic, which is a short PBL unit called 'Rockumentary'. It's possibly easy to guess what the unit might be about from it's name and what the students have to produce as part of their project... but just in case you can't, the unit is based around natural disasters that are caused by the movement of the various structures within the Earth and the girls have to make a short documentary that answers the driving question 'Could a major geological disaster change the shape of the continent of Australia?'.
Our entry document was in the form of a short video I created using iMovie trailers on the iPad. I haven't really had much play with this before I made it and found it to be quite easy to use... haven't really had much time to play with it since though! So, here is our entry document (please excuse the date - note for the future: make things generic!)
Once all the 'official' introductory stuff was out of the way we then started thinking about what we know about natural disasters and used Padlet to collect our ideas. Padlet is a great way for a group to collaborate. It really is just like a digital piece of butcher's paper that each person can add to when they feel they have something to contribute. You can see the ideas that the group came up with at this link: Rockumentary Padlet. Looking back at this, I should have been more specific that I wanted disasters that were caused by geological events, rather than natural disasters in general as some girls spoke about floods, cyclones, etc and we don't cover these in this unit!
The girls then used the GeoScience Australia website to investigate the 5 most recent earthquakes in Australia. They were quite shocked to find out that they were happening all the time, even though we don't feel them. This will be good to come back to when we discuss measuring earthquakes and the Richter and Mercali scales. The girls then had to find the 10 biggest earthquakes in Australia and create a table that put these into chronological order before graphing the magnitude of each against each other in a column graph.
Lastly, the girls used ThingLink to plot the locations of the 15 earthquakes that they had found on a map of Australia. Some of the girls had never used ThingLink before, but it's great that it's such an easy program that it didn't require much input from me for them to be able to work it out!! I plan on putting together a short video to show how to use ThingLink, so stay tuned for that one in the near future. Here you can see one of the student's finished map - ThingLink Map.
It does look like we did a lot, but our lessons here go for 80 minutes!! This ended up being my favourite lesson of the week as it involved solid integration of technology at all stages throughout the lesson. It also incorporated numeracy skills to put the dates in chronological order as well as create a column graph of the magnitudes of each quake. The girls also used research and mapping skills to find where each of the earthquakes needed to be plotted on their maps!