How do you see Vital Signs working across subject areas?
With the Vital Signs activities, it is possible to do a great deal across subjects. Making a hypothesis, compiling data, hands-on investigations would take place in science. Graphing and calculating data could be done in math; writing summaries, opinions, cartoons, persuasive essays, etc. could take place in language arts. In social studies, there are the options of using Google Earth for mapping, comparing the impact on our economy when we have to pay to eradicate some invasive plants/animals, etc., could be done. There are endless possibilities in working across the subject areas!
Teaching 5th grade next year means that I will be teaching all subject areas. This is very exciting because it means that I can integrate subjects. I will try to utilize Vitalventure as we explore the watershed on Vinalhaven. We will utilized the Historical Society and the Vinalhaven Land Trust to explore what the island looked like 100 years ago, 50 years ago and today. This study will give the students a chance to learn about their island as they read and write about their findings.
Our middle school team used Vital Signs to create an interdisciplinary unit for 6th graders. First they chose which habitat they wanted to study. Then they surveyed the habitat on at least 2 occasions and collected VS data. We posted to VS and analyzed the data in science class and then made graphs. They created food webs which included the animals they found using Omnigraffle. In ELA they made comic strips about invasive species in Maine. They also made story boards of the life cycles of an animal of their choice (which they found in the habitat they surveyed). They also made posters of the adaptations of an animal of their choice (which they found in their habitat). All this was shared on the middle school awards night through the Celebration of Learning.
Sounds fabulous! I would love to see samples of your students work! It also sounds similar to the Watershed Experience: All My Watershed Neighbors: http://vitalventure.gmri.org/watershed-experiences/neighbors/
Thanks for the ideas! I was thinking of ways all day on how I could integrate all of this into different lessons, but I love the ideas you had also!
With testing and other pressures my school has moved away from some very rich interdisciplinary units. Vital signs supports several subject areas on the seventh grade team on which I teach. Often times we are talking about similar topics with kids and they don't even realize it because we are not using common language. "Claims" and "evidence" are ideas that span across disciplines whenever a student is asked to take a position and support it.
The gps coordinates and use of google earth and google maps definitely ties in with social studies and the concept of "place. It is also neat to use the coordinates in the same way as a coordinate plane to explain why locations have different +/- degrees of latitude and longitude.
After nature journaling today I feel like science and writing were meant for each other! It was a great way to get our head in the game so to speak and work on observations. The math component with graphing will really reach those numbers people, and help us all understand the impacts in a different way. Using Vital Signs across the curriculum works to really reach ALL learning types.
When writing up the field notes and evidence in formation, I have students write in Pages first. This frees them up from "filling in the form" and "getting it done". Once the students on a team have written their own versions of the field notes and evidence, they then email it to the others in the group. They then edit and add until they each come up with a combined version. They share this version and then decide on a final version for the form. This process can be spread out over a couple of days to allow work to "sit" and be viewed with fresh eyes. I have found this works very well.
Awesome! Have you thought about doing this in either wiki or blog format? It's along the same premise and very collaborative. Instead of having to re-save documents with varied comments, you have a thread for the WHOLE thing :-) Kiddos can also access at home without worrying if they have the program or not, all they need is internet access.
You could also use Google Docs the same way as a wiki or blog.
Great idea to have kids collaborate online!
Our team came to this institute with the goal of developing an integrated unit for our Fifth graders. We represent all four of our major subject areas: Science, Math, Social Studies and Language Arts. The information that was shared today along with the activities that we did together have provided a foundation for that curriculum work. During the coming school year we plan to develop a set of lessons that integrate all of our subject areas and help our students develop a better understanding of their environment and the effect of our daily decisions on our environment.
Integration is very exciting. I really hope that you are able to find the time to develop these plans. So often we go to these institutes, return with new and exciting ideas and then fall into our school year. We found that using our common team time to focus on just curriculum works well for this type of lesson planning.
Vital signs lends itself easily to cross curricular opportunities -- language arts for communicating evidence collected in the field notes; math using and mining the data to make meaning; social studies viewing changes over time within the community ---- so many opportunities!
I plan to use the data for mining in math class to give them more authentic uses for data. I also will use this opportunity to teach about spreadsheets and the value of them in organizing data.
Agreed...how about we use some Monday afternoon time to plan these wonderful ideas? :)
I am having some difficulty figuring out how to use some of this across curriculum. I love the field trip and the scientific inquiry we had outside today. It was very informative and fun . I'm hoping to find a way to use this in my reading especially, if there is anyone who has implemented this process in their other subjects I look forward to hearing from you.
Check out this VitalVenture activity: My Paddle to the Sea: http://vitalventure.gmri.org/activities/my-paddle-to-the-sea/
This is why you have me :-) We have learned SOOO much and I am VERY excited. We can connect to Maine Studies with a more ecological outlook and approach and also connect to the plethora of resources we have right in the school yard. Read picture books, expose them to other literature on it, have them write books/stories/poems, plot data work in fractions/M3R, community connections/native american use of plants and such. Just some ideas :-)