As educators, it is our responsibility to help our students make authentic, real-life connections between their learning and the world they live in. In my split classroom this year, I have tried to bridge the concept of global citizenship with the science curriculum for my Grade 2 and 3 students. I am trying to move away from the “checklist” science units (making sure that every little detail is covered), to focusing on the big ideas, and essentially, the real-life connections.
Here is what we worked on in Grade 2:
After learning about the importance of the water cycle in our lives, the students looked at water from a global perspective by reading One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss. The students considered all of the uses of water, and how they can regularly access it in their lives. From there, we looked at case studies about children who do not have clean water in their communities. The students became experts, created awareness posters, and shared their findings with the class. The students were then asked to consider the facts, and decide which child deserved water the most. The students needed to think critically based on the information from the presentations, and carefully communicate their reasons. Afterwards, we created a display to educate others, as the students felt it was essential that their schoolmates know about water issues around the world. To learn more about the text, and to access learning materials, click here.
Here is what we worked on in Grade 3:
After learning about the importance of plants and soils in our world, the students discussed how we need plants for nutrients, and ultimately, to survive. We considered the importance of gardens, and what it might be like to depend on one while reading the text The Good Garden: How One Family Went From Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway. The students came to understand that communities depend on gardens for food (great Urban and Rural connection, too!). They considered information from the text to answer the following questions in preparation for their own garden: How will you build the garden? Where will the garden be located? What kind of soil will be used in the garden? What kind of plants will grow in the garden? What will be needed to take care of the garden? Evidently, the students had to apply their learning about plants and soils in a real-life context. The students cooperatively created a model of their garden using plasticine, and could each articulate the thinking behind their planning. To learn more about the text, and related activities for a variety of grades, click here.