Read Part 1 here
Each year I have a different focus for the Great Story. The focus is really for my benefit so that I can weave in key ideas so that the students get curriculum coverage. This means that if the children's interest is say on volcanoes (which is what happened this year!) I continue to foster that interest but also weave in principles of physics into the discussion and present activities related to physics too. You can't always plan what you are going to cover when you are following the child's lead so being prepared for how a topic relates to another topic is helpful. I like reading our local science curriculum to help me think about key ideas to cover.
Following our earlier activities I introduced the First Geographic Impressionistic chart which is about the size of the earth compared to the sun. I tried something different where I read a portion of the information and asked the children to draw what they thought the chart was saying before I showed them my picture. This helps with visualising which is a vital early reading skill.
I am following Michael Dorer's suggested outline for these charts so will go through charts 2 and 3 sometime this year (note this outline is a PDF download).
Later that day we also looked at igneous rocks and read some books about them before making our own. We used marshmallows, puffed rice cereal and a little bit of margarine.
As the interest in Volcanoes was ongoing we did some writing about this too. The interest in writing about volcanoes went on for 4 days. As NZ is a geologically very active country we linked everything we could to here and had great discussions about supervolcanoes, whether building in a volcanic zone is wise and different types of volcanoes! I read a small portion of a volcano book and then we wrote together. I also introduced some ideas about eruptions by using these volcano cards I made.
We also visited our local museum and checked out the exhibit about volcanoes, earthquakes and tectonic plates.
I attempted to introduce some physics ideas with some activities about simple machines. These weren't chosen by the children to do independent work with afterwards however I did have opportunity to plant seeds and discuss some different ideas that connected to the First Great Story and I linked these in to the Laws of the Universe. Sometimes we don't get to 'see' the work the child is doing, however we present, observe and listen and sometimes the ideas we introduce flower at a different time in a seemingly unrelated topic!
After two and a half weeks of activities and lessons on the First Great Story we moved into the Second Great Story.