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Grade 1 Thinkers and Researchers - An Inside Look at How Grade 1 Students Research Life Cycles During Online Learning

By Kali Wortham, Teacher Intern

The study of science lends itself to be one of the best ways to encourage inquiry-based learning in the classroom. Recently, Grade 1 students studied the transdisciplinary theme “How the World Works.” In this unit, students inquired into the central idea that all living things go through a process of change. Like all teachers, we were challenged to think of ways to create meaningful learning experiences for students via eBranksome. 

At the start of the unit, Grade 1 teachers prepared and sent out “bean packets” that contained the materials students would need to grow their very own bean plants at home. As young scientists, they were asked to keep a bean plant diary where they would record observations and make detailed scientific drawings. This also provided an authentic experience for them to study the stages of the life cycle of a bean plant. Even after weeks, students are still caring for their bean plants and constantly sending teachers updates on their growth!

Grade 1 students were also asked to choose a living thing to study based on their own interest. We used breakout rooms via Zoom in order to form interest groups where students could collaborate with peers about their research. They used several tools that were familiar to them such as Epic!, RAZ-Kids, and BrainPop, to complete their research. Finally, students were allowed to choose how they wanted to present their findings.  Many of them went above and beyond by creating 3D models, posters, and information books to share their research. 

It was incredible to see the student agency and effort that took place throughout this unit. No matter if we are online or at school, the students at Branksome continuously demonstrate their passion for learning.