Although I loved having a “snow” day in April, it did put somewhat of a kibosh on my plans to come and work with a group of grade 7 students at Laurentian Senior Public School. Luckily, we were able to reschedule for the following day as the students were getting ready to start their research for their Amazing Race Class Project.
For those not familiar with the Amazing Race, check out below.
The first part of the project involved the students selecting countries to investigate using the lens of the Five Themes of Geography: location, place, human-environment interaction, movement and region. Most of the students had chosen the countries they wished to explore and were ready to get going. Naturally, our first stop was the Virtual Library where we spent some time with our general reference encyclopedias, in particular Grolier. This is a great resource to use during that important pre-search phase of any inquiry task. Very often we ask students to do “research” on something without giving them that opportunity to do any exploring on their topic. Grolier is a very large multi-media encyclopedia that contains 8 different encyclopedia databases. Students can search each individual database or do a “Find it Fast” search that gathers information from all of the databases. A really great function of Grolier is that for most of the articles on countries, there are links to maps, flags, further readings, facts and figures, magazines and weblinks. The next resource we explored was The Canadian Encyclopedia. This is also a great resource in the pre-search stage, particularly for Canadian content. However, for our purposes in researching countries, it was not as valuable a resource as Grolier.
I then had the students explore some of the information databases that we have in the Virtual Library. These are great resources for that next level of questioning and investigating as they have a wide selection of resources: magazines, journal entries, primary sources, newspapers, etc. In the interest of time, I selected two of the information databases to share with the students: Kids Infobits and Canada in Context. These are two of my favourite to use with students because they allow students to access various tools like the text-to-speech option, translation of articles and the ability to download files as mp3s.
When I left for the day, they were well onto their research with a variety of resources and tools. Hopefully, I will get invited back to see their finished projects.