Monday, 28 May 2012

Popplet in Grade 4

The 'All Systems Go!' unit in Grade 4 as an ideal place to explore the use of a mind mapping tool in an on-going (or what we like to call an 'ongoingative') way. That is, to use it as a tool for formative assessment, which naturally evolves into a powerful summative demonstration of a student's understanding by the end of the unit.

Our central idea is that systems work together to support life functions in human beings.

In Week 1, before any teaching has begin, focussing on the Key Concepts: connection and function, the students brainstorm everything they already know, (or think they know) about the systems of the body.

Brainstorming focused on the lines of Inquiry:

• What body systems do you know? How do you think they function.

• How different systems of the body are connected?

• What choices can we make to maintain healthy body systems?

As the unit progressed, week by week, students return to the popplet to add to, adjust and remove information in line with the feedback they receive from their peers, their teacher, and their improving understanding of the central idea.

Finally by the final week of the unit, the popplet has evolved from a formative tool, to a powerful representation of their learning in the unit, it has in effect, become a summative assesssment. This is an 'ongoingative'.

Popplet is particularly powerful for this as it has a timeline tool, that allows students to rewind back through time to appreciate the way their understanding as developed over the course of the unit.