We are now about half way through the unit and we revisited our EQs. Students had a better idea, but still struggled to come up with answers. We began the unit looking at the relationship between wolves and the other animals in Yellowstone through a short video called How Wolves Change Rivers.
We started a multi-part Venn Diagram activity to help solidify this connection. I chose four animals we’ve been studying and wrote each one on a circle of a 4-way Venn Diagram. In a graffiti-style activity, students took 2 minutes at each circle and wrote as many descriptions of the animal as they could on small pieces of paper. Once students wrote about each circle, they worked in groups to organize the descriptions, weeding out repeats and anything incorrect. Not only did this take some work off my plate, but also it gave students a chance to re-read and repeat the information in the target language.
Jumping from the Venn Diagram directly to answering the essential question was a big leap for my 5th grade students. In order to break it down further, I created a chart that allowed students to write out the similarities and differences. Once complete, students were asked to make some general conclusions, which led us to starting to answer our essential question.
Although I was a bit skeptical at first, I love having the essential question be a part of the evolution of the unit. It helps frame the unit for students, but also gives both them and me a check in throughout the unit to ensure we are on the right track.