A teacher’s Finnish line: Unit 1 projects- Innovations with Light & Sound

In EISB we are using the project-based learning method and in Year 4 the first unit was all about light, sound, eyes and ears. The combined goal for Topic and ICT lessons in this unit was to create Google slideshows presenting an innovation, an experiment or a show and the science behind it. I didn’t set a minimum or a maximum target for the innovations, experiments and shows. My only requirement was that every child would participate in the group work.

Now, I would like to share with you one experiment and one show that were presented in the classroom on the last two days of school before the fall break.

A sound experiment with water

Water vibration around the speaker

One group had this idea of bringing a water-proof JBL speaker to school to show others how sound waves can affect water. The group had chosen three different songs to demonstrate visually what happens to the water on top of the JBL speaker while playing music. I advised to put a plastic box underneath the speaker after seeing water coming through the speaker to the table. By having some water also around the JBL we were able to see different kind of movement of the water at the top as well as at the bottom.

Water splashes on top of the speaker

A shadow show

The story of a blind pumpkin

Another group was more interested in the science of light and eye sight. They had quickly put slides together presenting the science of eyes but weren’t really able to decide how and where to use that knowledge. Therefore, I encouraged them to plan and prepare a shadow show. That included writing a story line, creating the objects to make the desired shadows with, practicing the movements and lines. Finally they presented their Google slideshow and at the end of it a three minute long shadow show to the class.

Since this is my first time teaching project based curriculum I didn’t really know what to expect regarding the end projects. However, I think both the pupils as well as me learned a lot during this first unit. Therefore, I have high hopes that the second unit projects will be at least as good as the first ones – if not slightly more improved! At least now I know the strengths and challenges of my pupils better and can support and guide them accordingly in the future.

What kind of project ideas have you found successful with pupils? I would love to hear something about your experiences with project- based learning. In addition, comments and suggestions regarding upcoming projects are more than welcome. In our second unit we will be finding out why do we speak English.

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