Week 6 was another great week with my students. It confuses me when at every morning briefing we get told to keep our students engaged on meaningful work even though it's coming to the end of the year... because my students have been awesome this term. They have been getting involved, maintaining engagement and having a whole heap of fun at the same time.
I spent Week 6 looking at fossils with my Year 7 class. We are currently doing a unit called 'The Amazing Race' which involves roadblocks and detours each lesson that introduce a topic or gives the students an opportunity to choose what they'd like to focus on that lesson. I wish I could say I wrote the program, as I think it's awesome - but I didn't, Bec did!
To kick off the week we looked at the rock cycle and weathering to see how sedimentary rocks form in comparison to igneous and metamorphic rocks. We looked at their properties and features as well as doing an investigation to try to follow steps to find out which of the three categories a group of rocks belonged to. Once particular activity saw the girls matching the rock type to a particular location around the world. Now, this isn't a specific outcome that they need... but the fact one of them said 'I don't know what to Google to find the answer' showed me that it was probably more important than any other activity we had done that day!
We then looked at the process of fossil formation. This is where our amazing collaborative flow charts I spoke about in my last blog came in. The girls worked together to find out how fossils are formed and turned it into their own creation. Some did it quite scientifically with great images of dinosaur bones, etc... while others took the more creative route and created a comic strip. Again - an excellent opportunity for the students to show what they know in any way that they chose.
Then came the hands on and messy part of the week - making our own fossils. The girls loved using the plaster of Paris to make a complete mess of my lab, but they also loved looking at the different types of shells and pieces of coral that were available for them to make their imprints.
The fossils needed a few days to set, so when we returned on the last lesson of the week the girls then became palaeontologists and excavated their fossils using paddle pop sticks. They had a great time carefully removing the plasticine to reveal their awesome plaster fossils. The image below shows various steps in the process that we undertook to create and then excavate our fossils.