Hangout Recap: Elementary Project Spotlight

During a recent Hangout with BIE, elementary school teachers and students joined us to talk about projects they did this past school year. Watch the Hangout and learn more about the projects.

Eureka! Gold in San Jose!
Katherine Smith Elementary School – San Jose, CA
Teachers: Doris Malmin, Kevin Armstrong, Lisa Soares
Grade: 4th
Driving Question: How can we create an engaging and interactive 4th grade field trip to allow students to experience the California Gold Rush?
Major Products: California Gold Rush simulation field trip; written invitations to attendees; main character analysis from By the Great Horn Spoon; Gold Rush board games; telegami demonstrating a Gold Rush participants experience; multi-paragraph informational essay
Project Description: Through a significant inquiry process, 4th grade students created an interactive field trip experience for other students in the school district.  They began by researching their Need to Knows to uncover some of the basic facts of the California Gold Rush. This enabled them to dig deeper and focus on the experiences of those who actually lived during the Gold Rush. Students read By the Great Horn Spoon to explore this topic using literature, and used non-fiction videos and first hand resources, as well.  Ultimately, this process led to the kids designing the experience they wanted for others.  The “field trip” that they created included: a time machine back to 1849; travel by sea or land route; arrival in SF; a play re-enacting the discovery of gold in Coloma and Hangtown; and mining camps where students could pan for gold.  Students created invitations that were sent to other schools, as well as a non-fiction essay highlighting their area of focus during the project.

Special thanks to the students who joined us during the Hangout. Great job!


Spark Changes
Sage Canyon Elementary School – Castle Rock, CO
Teacher: Kelly Reseigh
Grade: 4th
Driving Question: How can we spark changes in our government?
Major Products: Letter to Governor; debate; survey and data analysis using graphs
Project Description: 4th grade students considered the role of government in their lives and ways it could be improved. They visited the state capitol and created their own mini Congress. They also wrote letters to the governor expressing their opinion about what they would like the government to do. They learned about the democratic process and how laws are made.


The One and Only Ivan: A Global PBL
Friends School of Baltimore – Baltimore, MD
Teacher: Heidi Hutchison
Grade: 5th
Driving Question: Do we have the right to capture and cage animals?
Major Products: A collaborative eBook.
Project Description: Students read the book The One and Only Ivan, and then created their own version. In the process, they researched various animals kept in zoos and other places, and formed opinions about whether or not we have the right to capture and cage animals. Students ultimately created a collaborative book with students in classrooms around the United States who ended up joining them in researching the Driving Question. The final product, which has been ongoing throughout the year, will be available on iTunes, and all of the money will be donated to an organization of the class's choice.