- Grade level: Middle Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
Students will work collaboratively to exchange data with their peers (groups of students at other schools). They will discuss differing findings and hypothesize reasons for these differences. Note: This is a long-term activity; be prepared to devote a small amount of time to this activity each day or week for roughly two months.
- Students will learn to share observations, data, hypotheses, and questions orally and in writing by collaborating among each other and with students in other schools.
- Students will discuss differences and similarities in data collected from each of the schools in the context of the scientific method.
- Students will learn about the sorts of food that best sustain worm life and growth.
Materials and Resources Needed
- Email capabilities
- ClarisWorks or other integrated software package
- While preparing to set up the worm bin activity, contact other schools via email to see if there are any classes interested in conducting the activity at the same time. Refer to some of the general educational Internet sites for suggestions on how to get in touch with other schools. Set up lines of email communication with interested schools. It is fine for one class to start the project earlier than the other class. The class that starts earlier can field questions from the other class.
- Have students work in collaborative groups and connect them with partner groups in other schools to discuss the worm bin project and their observations and data. Although the initial contact with other schools will probably be teacher-to-teacher, try to allow students to develop unmediated contact with other students. Discuss appropriate email behavior.
- Have student groups record their interactions with their partner groups in a journal. For instance, students may want to record data they collect (eg: how much food they fed each worm bin on a given day) that is similar to or different from the data their partner groups collect. They might also wish to record interesting information not directly related to the project, such as the size and location of the partner group's school. Such information can provide detail and context for the project. The journal can either be handwritten or typed into the computer and saved in a computer folder. All students in the collaborative group should participate in keeping this journal.
- At the end of the two-month period, share graphing data from the first lesson. Compare results and hypothesize any discrepancies.
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