Sunday, October 7, 2012

Discovery Days - Minerals

We're trying a new approach to school for the next few months as my work commitments and my internal learning philosophy are pushing us in an exploratory direction. Those of you who know our journey know that we flip between Natural Learning and formal learning with Moving Beyond the Page during the school year.

So we're trying out a new concept called Discovery Days. The idea is that we all (adults and kids) suggest a discovery topic and then we brainstorm things we'd like to share or investigate to do with that topic. We spend a week investigating, doing, researching etc and come back together a week later to present what we learned. Jamie and I will guide them to doing some language and maths activities as part of the greater plan. We have tried a topic based approach previously but we didn't generate a variety of ideas that were focused in just one week so it meandered a bit too much. Here I am trying to let the kids have the majority of the control so that they feel invested in the work.

We began by generating some topics which were:

  • Cats
  • Minerals
  • Plants
  • Ponies
  • Mars
  • Craft
  • Food Science
  • Chickens
  • Snakes.
Vince already had some ideas about what he wanted to do, so we jumped into minerals for our first topic.

From the ideas we formulated some discovery questions:
  • Why does a sparkler sparkle?
  • Why does aqua vitae dissolve gold?
  • Why does a crystal grow?
  • How do matches work?
  • Why does astatine vaporise?
  • Why does copper turn green?
And we are all working towards answering them and seeing what others questions we come up with along the way.

We'll keep you posted with what we find out.