A chant of "Eat it, eat it" echoed through the classroom followed by an "Ewww" as I ate a sewer lice (dark raisin) to launch our study of life sciences. This activity focused on sharpening our observation skills and questioning what we observe.
On Friday, we debriefed the activity and then class brainstormed a list of characteristics living organisms share. With this list each child explored 14 stations that displayed objects that are living, non-living, or dead. Lively scientific debates arose about some of the items and whether they exhibited the characteristics they had established earlier or not.
The 4/5 team has created a study of life sciences that is inquiry-based and experiential. We have planned at least three field trips with naturalists through the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and Thorne Ecological Center. Graduate students from the University of Colorado's Biological Sciences Initiative plan to visit our classrooms as well. The main questions we'll explore this fall are:
What is science and what do scientists do?
What distinguishes something that is living from something that is not?
How do the structures and functions of plants allow them to meet their needs?
How do the structures and functions of animals allow them to meet their needs?
How do cells carry out the functions of life?
How does variation among individuals affect the survival of species?
How do living things in an environment affect each other’s chances for survival?
How do humans affect their ecosystem?