February 1, 2016

Microbe Inquiry (First Grade)

We began by reading two books: The first, Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies. Not only are the illustrations just out-right charming, but it's simple to understand introduction to the world of microbes that has just enough wonderment to it to capture a child's attention in a genuine manner. (Can you tell I'm a fan?) Then we browsed through ...book, as well as photographs and video clips of actual microbes. I think both the student's and myself were amazed and equally disgusted with seeing these micro-creature up-close. Who doesn't get that creepy-goose-bump feeling when they see mites or go "aww!" when they see a Tardigrades (water bears) swimming around?!

While we were exploring these tiny creatures we started to organize our information with this  anchor chart:

Microbe Inquiry First Grade

For the following days, students had the opportunity to observe different microbes under a microscope, which they documented through sketching and writing in their microscope packets. Their favorite specimen they observed? The fruit fly--which one student described as "a weird alien-monster who I think I used to dream about when I was little."

Microbe Inquiry First Grade

Microbe Inquiry First Grade

As we neared the end of our study, we celebrated by having an in-school sick day. The students came dressed in their pajamas and brought their favorite stuffed animal. When they arrived in the classroom they were "infected" with a strange sort of pox, which was represented with sticking pink dotes on to one another. Students also had to play the role of being sick too--soft voices and slow footsteps. Snack time was a special treat of carbonated water and saltine crackers.

Microbe Inquiry First Grade

We started the day with a reading of The Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon and Germs Make Me Sick, followed by the students creating their own nasty microbe and writing about what would happen if a person became infected with it:

Microbe Inquiry First Grade
"If somebody caught my germ, one eyeball would get very big." And naturally, the microbe looks like a "gross, infected eyeball that floats around in the air."

We also performed an experiment that demonstrated how germs (represented as the black pepper) interact with soap (represented with regular dish soap). Just sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls of pepper in a shallow dish filled slightly with water, then place a finger or two covered in dish soap (for full procedural steps click here). The result is that the pepper slowly moves away from the soap as the two come in contact. This then led to the discussion on why washing our hands is so important to help in fighting against germs.

Finally, to end our special "sick day" we needed to rest, so we gathered all the first-grade classes and watch a brief video on Louis Pasteur and his work with vaccines from Animated Hero Classics. 

Microbe Inquiry First Grade

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