Re: Mars-O-Mania

From: (Janet K. and James R. Cook)
Subject: Re: Mars-O-Mania
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 21:24:40 -0800

Dear Rhonda,  
    Your Pals-O-Mania sounds like what my daughter's class does year 
round in the afternoons.  They study a different topic each quarter and 
interest groups are K-8 and mixed with the different teachers.  They 
not only present to the other kids, but to the parents at a parents' 
night or luncheon (rotates to catch all the parents).  This session is 
space and they're including the LFM broadcast as part.  One group is 
also working on the PET, although probably not on line, as it only goes 
'til Christmas.  I think this kind of multi-disciplinary, multi-age, 
investigative type program is the heart of teaching and learning.  I 
homeschool my kids in the morning, but they go in the afternoon for 
investigations, 'cause that's where they really learn. Your 
festival extension sounds great, too.  Keep up your great work! jkc

You wrote: 
>-- [ From: Rhonda Toon * EMC.Ver #2.5.1 ] --
>Hello all,
>	Seeing the Mars Night discussion, prompted me to share two 
>we have conducted at our school with much success.  One is an annual
>event called Pals-O-Mania.  The other is a science "festival" of 
>	Pals-O-Mania could possibly be converted to Mars-O-Mania.  In 
>mania teachers get together and choose science concepts--like light 
>color, magnetism--broad ideas.  Each teacher agrees to "host" two
>concepts in her room and for several weeks we mix our kids up 
>to topics they choose to research and cooperatively present.  As a 
>contained teacher I normally teach the same group of kids but during
>Pals-science all kids who are interested in heat and energy and simple
>machines, for example,  might be in my classroom every afternoon.  The
>teachers provide support and help kids locate materials, but the
>students themselves plan and implement a 20 minute presentation on 
>topic.  These kids form a presentation team, research their topic and
>come up with a way to teach it.  During the Pals-O-Mania event itself,
>each team mans a station which is visited by younger students on a
>rotating basis.  Last year Pals-O-Mania lasted four days.  We had
>approximately 100 fourth and fifth graders present demonstrations and
>teach approximately 200 kindergarten, first and second graders.
>	We've had kids come up with some incredible demonstrations.  One 
>two children (both identified as remedial) created musical instruments
>out of all kinds of found materials to teach about sounds.  I'll never
>forget those guys working together on the back stoop of my patio with
>hammer and nails, and rubber bands and how pleased they were to show 
>the sounds changed as the rubber bands changed on their "design".  
>made elaborate shadow puppets, used tuning forks in water to show
>vibration, the list goes on and on and....
>	 I was thinking that we could possibly have the kids take areas 
>study related to Mars this year.  Since all of the teachers involved 
>this program are 'looping" and all but one will have the same group of
>kids next year, we could extend this event into the fall of 1997.
>	The "festivals" in this past have mostly been simulations.  In 
>one we have converted our media center into a hands-on interactive
>"museum".  During a study of the ocean, we used heavy plastic to
>contruct a life-size blue whale and during a themed festival on space 
>did a simulated launch and converted a bus into a shuttle.  During a
>dinosaur festival my students wrote and produced a video.  We used it 
>the in-flight movie when we turned one of our mobile classrooms into 
>airplane so we could "travel" to a "dig site".  The dig site was a 
>area we set up as an excavation site. Kids used brushes and small 
>to explore the site, catalogue their findings, etc.  During the ocean
>study parents set up stations all around the campus.  Teachers signed 
>to take their students to the various sites for activities like: 
>cleaning a mock oil spill, hearing a talk by a trained diver, 
>water density with saltwater, etc.  A similar 'festival" idea could be
>done with Mars.  Volunteers could man sites around the school and
>classes could visit the sites--
>	At our school we usually have a group of about five or six 
teachers who
>spearhead the festival, but they are always a lot of fun, and get kids
>talking about science!
>	  Anyway, thought I'd share my brain spurts!
>	Rhonda