I like to try new and different things. I also try things that I don’t think will work, but hope for the best anyway. At least then I can say I tried. Today I don’t feel well so, the last thing I wanted to do was lecture about fresh water treatment plants and sewer systems. So as I was standing in 20F at bus duty I had this idea, an idea I figured would not work, but at least I would not be lecturing.
The students are required to read from the text at least once a week. On standardized testing this is the section we usually score lowest. So today I decided will be the text day. The unit we are on is Freshwater. I chose the section “The Society Depends on Clean and Safe Water.” They were instructed to read this section and come up with four questions. The questions were to focus on things they read but do not understand or something they would like to know more about. They would then get with a partner & choose 2 of the questions to ask me.
Here is the deal, I don’t know much about sewer systems. Well I went on a date with a guy in college that was an engineering student that studied sewer systems (called him the poop engineer and there was only one date) and I know that the county I live in has issues paying for theirs, but that’s it. So I got to show them how to use the WWW to research the information.
My first questions were “Who established the EPA and when?” and “Is there a way to farm with out pesticides?” OH EM GEE (in the kid’s words)!! What wonderful questions I did not know the answer too!! We of course found answers to even more wonderful questions – and some I did know the answer to.
The last question asked was “Who came up with the idea of sewers and what was the first one like?” Well we found the answer to this at http://www.sewerhistory.org/chron.htm . It was an amazing site that we spent 15 minutes or more on. No the history of the sewer is not on my standardized test, but the kids were totally engaged!
**Adding this since posted earlier** My last block class had a question that stumped me & I had no idea where to find it. It was about the depth & flow of a sewer (a little off topic but not completely). My inclusion teacher’s husband is a engineer that actually puts the sewer systems in the ground. I called her and asked her to call him for me. She came in the room and put him on speaker phone. The kids thought it was so cool to actually speak with an “expert.” (Don’t tell him I called him an expert – it’ll go straight to his head! Plus I think he had as much fun as the kids) You would have never thought kids would get so excited about a sewer and the flow of poop (well maybe yeah I could see that)!
Here is what I learned from this. The kids have questions and want to ask. AND they can surprise you with AWESOME work if they have total ownership of it! Yeah I knew that, sometimes I just need a reminder!!