Bill Monahan’s sixth graders have been mucking about in the farm pond this week. They divided the pond into sectors – North , South, East, West. Within these sectors they collected water samples from the surface and from the bottom. Everyone agreed the water was pretty mucky. The day after they collected their samples, the students worked in the classroom to identify the organisms in their samples. Before they started the actual work of identification, they made predictions about what they might see and how where the sample came from might influence what they saw under the microscope. Then they got to work. They created their own slides and worked with their microscopes to find what was in the water. Using an identification guide, they were to compare what they saw to the guide or to what they had seen in previous work to name and describe the organisms on their slides.
Being sixth graders, instant gratification was desired…but not given. Bill’s focus is on having the students learn patience, self-reliance and persistence. In the end, every student had wonderful things to draw and describe in their online notebooks. Tomorrow, the students that looked at surface samples will look at the deeper samples and those that looked at the bottom samples will see surface samples in their microscopes. These same students also looked at the organisms growing in the compost at the Mini-Farm. Sixth graders are learning at the microscopic level that life is abundant on this campus.