Setting up learning stations/centres in the classroom isn’t a new practice. I am amazed to see my colleague manages centres in her 1st grade class. Every time I pass her class, I always see kids engaging in different types of activities in the classroom. Yes, learning is happening in the class! Kids are focused on tasks.
I myself experienced this when I taught kindergarten some years ago. I found it manageable if you have enough adults to manage each station. But wait, my colleague is alone and the kids are working independently. Setting up learning centres is something that needs to be planned carefully and ……requires lots of preparation.
In an inquiry-based classroom, we would like to see kids actively engage into learning. Less teacher-talking time and more independent inquiry. Instead of calling learning stations, I like to call it as a ‘Bus-Stop’ game. ‘Game’ is like a word that turns on the positive mood on. Using a game in the class is a great learning experience to support student’s inquiry and differentiated learning.
After unpacking the new unit ‘Who we are’ about human body system, the students continuously revisit their questions. They unpacked the unit and developed the lines of inquiry based on their wonderings. They matched the questions to the PYP key concepts and discussed how they could find out the answers.
Using the inquiry cycle stages, they were able to identify that they are now in ‘finding out’ stage. These are the questions which they worked on last week.
- What is a body system? (Form)
- How many systems do we have in our body? (Form)
- What systems do we have in our body? (Form)
- How do each system work? (Function)
- How do our body systems work together? (Connection)
I asked them what we could do to find the answer of these questions. They responded with variety of ways.
Read books, watch videos, interview experts, playing games, researching on internet, …
A collection of books which relate to the unit of inquiry is in the class library. They are eager to read. All they need is the time and space which let them explore.
A body system model is displayed. They keep on wondering how they could put the organs together. What do they need? Time and space.
There are lots of educational videos on internet which they are eager to explore. Time and space should let allow them to do that.
So, I think this is the best time to play ‘Bus-Stop’ game as it will allow everyone to participate. They will be given 20 minutes for each stop.
Stop 1 : Watching a video about different body systems (Students recorded their findings)
Stop 2: Body system model
Stop 3: Reading Books
Reflecting and Sorting Out
Stop 1 : Working on BrainPop
Stop 2: Creating a game about body system on Kahoot (How do I use what I know to create a game?)
Stop 3: Reflecting on Seesaw (How have my thinking about body system grown?)
At the end of the day, a child came to me and said, ‘It’s so fun till I don’t feel like we are learning but actually we are.’
I just smiled and replied, ‘Well…if you enjoy what you are doing then you don’t feel like it’s a burden to do the tasks.’
Look forward to hearing how fun inquiring is in your class. 🙂