Daily Schedule

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Exploring Caves - Our Theme for January

This month's theme is Caves - a rather intimidating topic for the teacher to plan, when you keep in mind all of the scientific disciplines involved - geology, cartography, hydrology, biology and anthropology. Making this topic interdisciplinary is another challenge, but quite easily and naturally done.

I will capitalize on the fact that caves are associated with much dramatic lore and adventure stories - it is a natural "hook". Fiction stories will be supplied right along side informational texts, and I hope to see children choose to explore books like The Secret of Robber's Cave and Class Trip to the Cave of Doom during quiet reading times.

Most of the focused teacher-driven lessons will revolve around a serialized read-together story. It is a fiction piece about two children who dodge into a cave during a rain storm and get lost. After each chapter is read aloud (by me and volunteers), there will be follow-up discussions and activities. While the story is fiction, the scientific facts are real - and children will learn about different types of caves (and how they are formed), cave animals (and their adaptations to their environment), where caves are located and why, and safety rules.

Hands on experiments will include making our own stalagmites and stalactites. We will also do some experimenting with limestone to find out how limestone caves are formed.

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