Sunday, March 23, 2014

Promoting inquiry in the Classroom - How Fast Are You?

Introducing students to inquiry activities is not always as easy as simply posing a question and stepping back to watch the magic.  With my students, there was a definite learning curve as they struggled to re-arrange their thinking.  This activity was the first to really engage the entire class.... and what was more exciting is the discussion they had with each other.  It only took the first group 30 minutes to identify what needed to be measured (distance and time), develop a strategy and figure out their speed.

Background Information

This activity is intended to be a student-centered, inquiry-based learning experience.  There are lessons available on using iMovie to determine speed.   The video camera will also show the time as it plays back.  Rather than direct students through the process, allow them to work collaboratively to develop solutions to these questions.

Lesson Support

Students may need help in identifying what needs to be measured (speed and distance) and could also be given access to other tools to help with distance measurement.  Trundle wheels might work here.  Multi Measured HD - The all-in-1 measuring toolkit is an app that allows the iPad to measure distance.  Students can record their findings and display them in video programs, graphs, spreadsheets or an annotation program to share their results with others.

Inquiry Questions

Can you use an iPad to figure out how fast you can run?
What are the fewest number of apps that you will need?
Why did you choose these apps?
What would be the best way to compare yourself to your friends?
Can you use this method to measure the speed of other objects?
Can you support your findings?

Curriculum Connections

This activity will promote problem solving, rates and ratios, measurement of speed and distance, data collection, graphing, using instruments, comparing, explaining and collaboration.

This lesson is one of 5 included in my iBook - 5 Inquiry Activities.  The iBook can be downloaded for free from iTunes.