I am really excited about the Inquiry kits that the Curriculum Materials Center in my division has made to accompany some of our P.W.I.M. cycles.
The following grade one photo incorporates all the requirements for an engaging P.W.I.M. photograph.
Classrooms can study elephants and eventually move the inquiry to other large grassland animals in other places, including the bison, thus taking students to somewhere far away and then returning to something more familiar. This kit contains a variety of fiction and no-fiction books, as well as a DVD and two stuffed elephants-one African, one Asian.
Teachers can take a photograph with each student holding the elephant of their choice. This photo can be glued into a class notebook. Each day a child can have the elephant as a “buddy” and write about the elephant in the notebook. It could be creative writing about an adventure with the elephant or non-fiction writing with facts about elephants. The notebook can be kept in the classroom library. Use the kit to introduce compare and contrast writing between the two kinds of elephants which can then lead to compare contrast writing about bison vs cows. A culminating activity for this inquiry could be painting photos of elephants to sell at a fundraiser to send to save elephants.
Another kit that has been added, which accompanies the grade two photo of the Ridley Turtle.This kit contains a variety of materials about turtles and tortoises. Studying the life cycles of the Ridley Turtle and why it is endangered covers many of the required grade 2 Science outcomes in our province.
The following photos are of the grade one eel kit. Many teachers find this topic “gross” but really, what is more engaging to young children than something that is kind of gross and scary? This inquiry can lead to an understanding of needs and characteristics of living things,
My personal favourite kit is the grade 2 sloth kit. The sloth photo depicts someone holding a sloth beside a destroyed forest. Sloths are fascinating (and gross) creatures to study. Tying the inquiry to the devastation of the rain forest and the impact on sloths makes it really interesting for all students. Connecting this inquiry to how humans and animals depend on each other is a good cross curricular science tie. Assess the interdependence of humans and animals in natural and constructed environments. Having students become active world citizens by writing letters to help save the rain forest is a powerful culminating activity for the inquiry.