Jean Weller, VSTE Board Member and VDOE Technology Integration Specialist, leads the #GoOpenVA initiative in Virginia. This collaborative initiative enables educators and others throughout Virginia to create, share, and access openly-licensed educational resources (OER, also known as open education resources). OER are free digital materials that can be used or modified to adjust to student needs; they are openly-licensed unhampered by many traditional copyright limitations.
We asked Jean to periodically curate a few of the resources to give a sense of what is available. Start with these but stay for so much more!
It's definitely spring, at last! Now is the time to take advantage of the natural curiosity of young students about the changes in their world. Here are three high-quality educational learning resources that you can use with your K-2 students. Two are from the Virginia Department of Education’s Science Team. The third is from our Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline project.
What if Basic Needs Aren’t Met? is a Science Instructional Plan from the VDOE Science Team for Kindergarten students. It encourages students to think through scenarios to make predictions, using gorgeous color photographs (helpful if you are not all in the same place to view real-life examples). A teacher might even make a connection to how human beings have adapted during the COVID-19 crisis, just like plants and animals must do at times.
What Plants Need is a First Grade Science Instructional Plan from the VDOE Science Team, and outlines the fairly common classroom practice of growing seeds. However, after students have explored the various needs of plants through their experiments, they then take what they have learned to create something new-a seed packet with instructions. The Science Team also suggests some great questions to get students to dig a bit deeper, connecting what they’ve learned with other science questions.
Plant Life Cycle (with Scratch) is a lesson provided by the Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline project, which integrates Computer Science concepts into content areas. By second grade students have learned about plants and how they grow. This lets them create their own plant and cause it to grow using coding (a handy guide to Scratch is attached to the lesson). Encourage them to be creative, and then bring it back around to real life by sending students outside to look for real life plants.