In the second activity, Ant Farm! Which fulfilled Virginia SOL 2.1a, I allowed the students to observe a live ant farm as well as observe an ant webcam on Steve's Ant Farm. That was really cool and the students noted the differences between the live ant farm and the ant farm they observed through the webcam. The students also got to explore a site about ant habitats on Wikipedia Commons and on Wikipedia. They also explored a website about different type of ants on Wikipedia. Out of the 5 laptops we brought into the classroom, only 1 was able to work after repeated attempts to get them set up. But I allowed each student to get a chance to explore the websites. I gave the students instructions before they began their ant adventure, however, some students did not seem to be familiar with the internet because they would not know what to click, click the wrong thing, and then become confused. It went smoothly most of the time and the students got to see some really cool images that they were really interested in. It also started some cool conversations while they were doing their discovery activity that led to a curiosity that extended beyond the lesson. Their enthusiasm was contagious!
The science circus got off to a rushed start because one of our group members, Charlotte (whose cooperating teacher we were doing the circus with) came down with a fever that day and we were only notified 2 hours before the circus started that she would not be there. It was tricky conducting the circus by ourselves. Luckily we were able to get Chris (thanks Chris!) to volunteer for us and manage two of the stations. The organization of the circus could have been better. I believe that we did not manage our time as well as we could have because we did not do one full rotation. Each group only completed 5 activities before Ms. Melzer stopped us. I learned that no matter what, you have to be prepared to make modifications to your lesson. Your approach needs to be flexible and student-specific. Students do not learn the same way and they do not react to your activity/ teaching style the same way. So, be prepared! Overall, I was pleased with the students use of technology because they were 100% engaged the entire time, really wanted to talk about it, and share what they had discovered. There was an enthusiasm over the material that I have not seen. I attribute it to the fashion in which the information is presented. it was interactive and the students could enlarge images to observe more closely or click links to explore other areas of interest (for example: ant colony).
Life cycle of ants
An ant diagram Devin made!