Friday, May 1, 2015

Reaching for the Moon, Juan Fernandez-Saines, Librarian, Pickard Elementary School

The impact the addition of the Chromebooks have been having at our school has been seismic.  Since the start of the school year, I have calculated that the classes I have taught in the school library have yielded close to 5,000 individual assignments using only Google Drive.
On top of that, within the last two quarters we have had eight classrooms come to the library for reading intervention using the Chromebooks.  I get many requests from my colleagues to collaborate in lessons and special projects. I wish I had more devices to accommodate all the requests.  One such request came recently from Ms. Donohue, who is our 6th grade science teacher.  She asked me to help the students to do research about the moon and have the students create a slide presentation using Google Slides.
Their research was based on the higher order thinking question: Can we live on the moon?
Ms. Donohue shared a list of facts about the moon, but the students had to think critically about whether or not humans could live on the moon.  One quick question that was answered was lexicon based.  Students hit a brief bump learning the difference about the use of the words, "on" as opposed to "in".  This was a clue so to speak to encourage the students to think more critically.  Many of the students thought superficially, like many of us would.  "Of course we cannot live on the moon!  It would require too many resources that are not available".  That was the general consensus.
There were a couple of students that thought “outside the box” and answered the question affirmatively---"Yes, we can live on the moon!"  They gathered their evidence to support why humans can live on the moon if they wanted to.  Roy came up to me privately and confided, "Mr. Fernandez, look at all of the students, they are answering no.  But we say ‘yes’, because with the right balance of oxygen and water, and if we find a way to transport those elements and store them, we can live ON the moon!"  It was quite a revelation for them.  
The student scientists will share their findings when their project is due after Spring Break.

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