Learning From Experts in the Field
What happens behind the scenes before a PS exhibition goes live?
Before any grade level exhibition takes the stage, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes leading up to the big day. Whether it's diving deeper into a subject, taking a field trip, hearing from local experts, discovering a new digital tool, collaborating with classmates or brainstorming ideas, students and teachers put forth a lot of thought, time and perseverance to expose students to a wealth of knowledge and resources so their exhibition can come to life in an authentic and meaningful way.
Take a minute to read more about what our second grade and fourth grade classes have learned, the people they have met and the places they have gone this year as they prepare for their big exhibition. The scope of their project encompasses months of learning across multiple disciplines including math, language arts, writing, science, social studies, art and technology. Their integrated, multi-discipline approach to teaching with hands-on opportunities for engagement have made learning come alive for students. You can guarantee, this year of learning has been unforgettable!
Behind the Scenes in 2nd Grade
Writing, technology, science, social studies, public speaking, and art are all brought together and integrated in the 2nd Grade Back 40 Museum. Each student was assigned a natural resource to research. Students used a variety of research sources including articles, books, videos, and the internet. The students studied the process of their item as it grows on a farm and each step it takes until it gets to a table. By studying the process of how food goes from farm to table, students learn about managing natural resources and how individuals and businesses contribute to a community. In addition, students learned about what is in the food they eat, the benefits of shopping at a farmer's market, and the additives in frozen food, canned food, and processed food. Chef Blackburn visited our campus and taught us about his work as a chef. Jamie Smith with the Delicious Concepts Restaurant Group visited and shared about her goat farm and how she makes goat cheese. Students also took a field trip to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and First Presbyterian Main Street Ministries Gardens. Second graders learned how the church uses the fresh fruits and vegetables being grown in the garden to help feed the homeless and people in crisis in the medical center. Students also learned that the school cafeteria generates the compost used to fertilize the plants. In the garden, students were also able to visualize their science unit on pollination. They really enjoyed seeing a real life farm to table process right in their backyard.
The Back Forty Museum will feature 3D models displaying the process of each student's resource moving from farm to table. Utilizing their strategies in writing, students not only prepared a commercial (to advertise their exhibition) but also speeches to share with their museum visitors. Mosey on down to the Back Forty Museum in LC 181 on April 21.
Behind the Scenes in 4th Grade
Beginning in the Paleoamerican time period continuing to current day events, fourth grade dives into an intensive year-long study of Texas spanning multiple disciplines including math, science, language arts, writing, history, art and technology. While the 4th Grade Texas Museum does not debut until the last month of school, students and teachers have immersed themselves in all things Texas since August.
In the Fall, students learned about the various Texas regions and Indian habitats. Students made life size Indian dwellings, murals and artifacts from that time period. Following this, students took to their iPads and created stop motion videos on Koma Koma to show how people hunted in the early days. As the class moved on to study about early Texas settlers, students learned all about pioneer life and created historically accurate wagon replicas. As the Texas Revolution hit, students researched the numerous battles and created interactive games to display their knowledge. In Math class, students built the Alamo on Minecraft in conjunction with their unit on map scale and proportion.
Students have been fortunate to go on many field trips this year which have expanded their knowledge. Students spent a day at the Alamo and Battle for Texas Museum in San Antonio to engage in an interactive experience focused on the Texas revolution. Students also met Mrs. Hendee, owner of the Taste of Texas Restaurant. Taking a moment out of her busy day, Mrs. Hendee was gracious to show and share the historical artifacts in her possession that date back to when Texas was first settled. From holding an original Buffalo soldiers rifle to seeing documents with original signatures by Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, students received an eye and earful of Texas history. Students also got to spend a day at the Texas City Prairie Preserve to learn about conservation of our state’s prairie lands. Students tested the water, participated in seining and collected animals in the water to determine the health of the water quality.
During their Think.Make.Talk classes, fourth graders explored Texas animals more in depth. Each student was required to pick an animal to learn more about them, including aspects of their habitat, diet, defense mechanisms, etc. Students were given the freedom to choose how to relay their facts to their audience. The diversity and creativity of their projects was astounding. At the conclusion of this long-term assignment, students completed a self-evaluation. This assessment required students to reflect on the challenges associated with their project including researching, planning and time management, willingness to try something unique, effectiveness of the final product, and audience interaction. The sentiments expressed on these evaluations affirm that when students are given choice and ownership of their learning, not only are they better able to retain and master the content but they are also motivated and inspired to do their personal best.
As fourth grade nears the end of their Texas studies, each student has been asked to pick an individual research topic about a person, place or event that helped shape Texas. In writing class, students are learning how to formally research their topic, take notes, outline and write a research paper. At home, students are working on creating a visual representation of their choice to display their learning. Students will build and curate a Texas Museum to display and teach others about their Texas projects. Drawing upon the experience of museum experts at the Museum of Fine Arts, students received a behind the scenes look at how art exhibits are put together. They received training and worked with staff at the Glassell Junior School of Art to practice hanging an actual complete art exhibit at the Glassell School. With this knowledge now in hand, students will be ready to design and determine the layout for their own museum. Save the date and visit the 4th Grade Texas Museum May 8-12.
Students work hard on class projects that bring their learning to life.
Students enjoy field trips to Alamo, Taste of Texas and the Texas City Prairie Preserve...just to name just a few.
Students learn from MFAH experts and practice setting up an art exhibit independently.