CCE second graders complete a unit on oceans and marine life to finish out the year, and this year we decided to try something new! Shannon Foley, CCE librarian, learned about the gallery method of research at a conference she previously attended. This method of research involves setting up stations or individual tasks for students to go through with guiding questions and activities. Stations can be completed in any order.
We collaborated with Mrs. Foley and Gifted and Talented teacher Cara Beth McLeod to brainstorm activities and ideas aligned with 2nd grade TEKS from all subject areas. Then, we created stations covering various ocean topics and aligned with grade level TEKS such as using frequency charts, making scientific observations, and making inferences. Our goal was to give students a variety of learning experiences, including hands-on experiments, videos, and books.
Students came to the Learning Lounge every day for 5 days, and stayed for 45 minutes. The Learning Lounge was the best place to conduct this particular activity, since it has a variety of furniture that can be rearranged to accommodate different activities, and plenty of space for students to move in between stations.
Each student received a paper copy of the "Ocean Field Guide" below. It contains the directions for each station, QR codes to accompanying websites, and questions for students to answer. We checked students' work after completing each station, and students kept track of their progress on the last page.
Here's an example of a student's acrostic poem about sharks (and his super cute fish face photo!) from station #3:
And here are some photos of students working on various ocean research stations: