We decided to finish our work on Space and light this term with a Space challenge afternoon. Our school focus this year is about giving the children opportunities to direct their own work and learning by offering them choices. So this seemed an ideal way to finish our topic this term. I came up with a list of activities that the children could do:
Use the laptop computers to create a space adventure story
Use books or the internet to research a particular subject and present to the class
Design and build a rocket
Design and make a space board game or quiz
Write a letter to NASA asking for a job as an astronaut and giving good reasons
Create a news report about an alien landing using the flip video cameras.
I told the children two days before what we would be doing and got them all to think about which activity they wanted to do. This gave them a chance to collect any materials they might want to use and to sort out their groups if necessary. I also have 2 autistic children who need time to assimilate any changes in their daily routine and need prior details of lessons that don’t follow the usual pattern.
The afternoon was a huge success. All the children settled very quickly to their chosen tasks. The majority of children chose to make a video report or build a rocket but each activity was chosen by at least 2 children.
Each group of children worked really well and children who can be disruptive and off task were incredibly focussed, especially bearing in mind that this is the eighth week of this half term and a lot of the children are very tired.
The only real drawback to the afternoon was that we had very little time to show what each group had achieved. We really needed another half an hour to allow for a proper presentation session. This was done on the following day but we all felt that it would have been better on the actual day when the work was done.