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March 10, 2021

Earth Science and the Incredible Journey

After the move to 5th grade, I was in charge of the Earth Systems unit in our science rotation.  Those were the days, it was a wonderful plan. Each one of the 4 of us taught one of the science units for 7 weeks.  B was in charge of the Life Science unit, K was in charge of the Space Science unit, and J was in charge of the Physical Science unit. Our kids started with our own science, and then would rotate clockwise through the classrooms throughout the year.  It got them ready for middle school, switching classrooms, and having multiple teachers (and their expectations). It helped them be responsible. 

Then things changed and we all had to do everything at the same time because of a grant... Anyhow, now we all tackle the Physical Science unit first, then Life Science, then Earth, and finally Space.  There's some good stuff included in the units, it's just different...  

One of my favorite lessons to still make the cut is this Incredible Journey Game (aka Water Cycle).  When I moved to 5th the teacher that left had these cards in the file cabinet.  Thanks M! A little lamination and it's an instant game. 

B.C. (Before Covid and DL), I would have these all hung up around our classroom.  Students would use their notebooks and a dice, and go from card to card seeing where their water molecule traveled.  It was fun.  

Then I did it online... still fun, but not as much movement required. I had the students get out a board game that had dice inside.  The students that didn't have dice took 6 slips of paper and wrote the numbers 1-6 on one side and flipped them over to shuffle.  I put all these images into our meeting chat so they had ready reference.  

Then we all started with Ocean. How it works is that they roll a dice/choose a number and see if they get to move and where.  They realize that a percentage of rolls will put them in specific places and get stuck there... like in the ocean or in a glacier or ground water.  

They realize how animals are connected, and then they are grossed out about how an animal passes on the water.

They really enjoy this game, and I'm so glad that it worked out that they were able to do it this year. By just recording where they moved to and the exact movement that occurred, they were able to see the randomness of it all - that it isn't a pretty little circle.

  In the normal year we then take our information after, color code the 9 different locations and make colored strips on a piece of paper.  The colors told their water cycle journey, but kids also viewed it as art. 

Then they would take that story and write an actual narrative as to how that water molecule moved from one place to another.  It was always interesting how they would incorporate plants and animals, complete with dialogue... Got to love kids!

Anyhow, I highly recommend this game if you are teaching the Water Cycle this year.  :)  

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