Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Rockin' Classroom- Pioneers

Happy Weekend!
I'm pumped to be blogging today for a Rockin' Giveaway
with my friend Katie at Rock and Teach!  

We're all getting together to give you the chance at some great prizes
and to share some rockin' things that we do in our classrooms. 

For the past several years my team and I
have done a pioneer simulation to help teach
non-fiction in our reading blocks. To get some background,
check out this old blog post.  

Here is our trail map to the West!

This year we wanted to continue 
some of the great things that we've done
in the past, but also we wanted to take it to a new level
So.... we added a STEM element! 

Seriously.. Amazing!
I am so lucky to work with such great 
teammates.  We rocked this and I have them to thank for it!

Here were the pioneer essentials that had to be packed in the wagon!

Students worked in their 'wagon train' groups
to attempt the challenges that we've made.
The first one was to build a wagon that 
can hold a list of 'trail materials' without falling over. 

Step 1:  Students had the opportunity to look over items in the General Store and go back as a team to view prices and discuss ideas. 

Step 2: Planning Process- Until they had a plan, they weren't able to go to the store. They needed to bring their ideas together. 

Step 3: Buying Supplies- Students needed to track their spending on a budget sheet, and make change from their purchases. They could go to the store as many times as they needed, but there would also be times that it would close. 

Step 4: Build a wagon structure that could hold all of the pioneer essentials for travel. In order to have a completed wagon, you must fit everything in or on it and the wagon can't tip over. 

Step 5: Additional Challenge- Make your wagon roll 2 yards without tipping or falling. 

I had 3 out of 4 wagon trains successful with this challenge. 
 Surprisingly the one that didn't finish was a huge shock to me. 
It was amazing to see some students shine in this activity
 that struggle with more everyday school activities.  
I also love how 2 of the 3 put their water barrel (soda can)
on the outside of the wagon how it was on the real wagons!!!

We had a long discussion and reflection process after this activity was done. 
 Students wrote about their experience and documented their process with pictures. 
 We took the pictures and listed the steps and talked about what they would do differently next time.  I can't wait to share with you the next STEM challenge we did.

  Some groups really took what they learned 
in this wagon building activity to heart 
and tried very hard to fix their teamwork
 or communication the second time around. 

Thanks for stopping by and seeing my rockin' pioneer activity!
Please take time to visit Katie 
and the other fabulous bloggers taking part in this giveaway!
Enter Enter Enter to win some
fabulous prizes and also a $50 TpT Gift Card!

Have a fantastic Day!
Ana :)

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1 comment:

  1. This is SO COOL!!!!! Your students look so engaged!!

    Did you ever play Oregon Trail?? This is like the awesome REAL LIFE VERSION!!!!!!

    Thank you so much for linking up!! YOU ROCK!



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