To The Moon, But Sharing The Lead!

Every morning, I start my day by reading Doug Peterson’s recent blog post — set to publish at 5:01 a.m.. I love a good challenge, so when I read Doug’s challenge today, I was excited to share my own “to the moon” story. I thought about this challenge all day long. And this is where I struggled. Maybe it was the Science theme in this video, or maybe it was my absolute love of our Human Body Science Unit, but I wanted this to be the connection. Was it me though that really took the kids “to the moon?”

And this is when I started to think more about an inquiry approach to teaching and learning. Flying to the moon is not a solo mission, and in the classroom, I share the lead. When we created our Big Body BonanzaI provided the provocations: from an online surgery game (thanks to my vice principal, Kristi), human body apps (thanks to a friend and fellow Grade 5 teacher in our Board, Adele), numerous books, and a Pinterest Page of links, but my students figured out what to do with these materials and where to go next. The students worked through the problems. The students created their organ system sounds, and they even modified their sounds as they learned more (from their initial assumptions that the digestive system connected both the bladder and the bowels to their knowledge that it only involved the bowels).

Listen To The Updated Digestive System Sound Effects

I might have also been the one that wanted to turn the classroom into the human body, but the students took my suggestion and made the plan work. They organized the classroom makeover. They researched to make the design plans realistic. They even spent time on Halloween Day creating a vein and heart path to lead to the different organ system displays. I might have planted the seed, but the students made it grow!

I can’t help but wonder if the provocations for each new inquiry are really igniting the spaceship flame for each new “trip to the moon.” We get the ship ready to blast off and the students fly with us from there. What do you think? As a parent or as an educator, how do you “take your children to the moon?” How do you get them excited to join you for the ride? I’d love to know your thoughts on this!


13 thoughts on “To The Moon, But Sharing The Lead!

    • Thanks for the comment, Jonathan! And thank you for sharing your post as well. I’m off to read it. I’m excited to hear more about your “to the moon” story.


  1. Just. Wow! It is very inspiring to read another teacher’s approach to curriculum topics. I am certainly thinking a lot about enquiry lately, and have been discussing with my classes. I may read them this. My first provocation has been songs that include important historical info. I don’t want to say we are struggling… Maybe I will use the “turning an ocean liner” analogy:)

    • Thanks for the comment, Anne! I hope that you continue to persevere with the inquiry approach. It does take time! If you were to speak to my principal, Paul, my vice principal, Kristi, or my good friend, Jo-Ann, you’d know how many failed attempts I’ve had throughout this process, but it’s paying off! The students are getting better at “thinking,” and I’m getting better at “asking questions.” We both continue to work on these skills, but having people there to help (Paul, Kristi, Jo-Ann, and a large number of people online have been great) really makes a difference. Your song idea is a wonderful one! Keep on trying, reflecting, and trying again … it will work!


  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Aviva. Of course, any classroom will have its co-pilots but it’s through wise design and implementation by the teacher that it will be successful. Your example of the human body perfectly embodies this. (sorry) By allowing it to happen, you allowed them to indeed take it to the moon. What a great example. I hope that you check out Jonathan’s post. It’s so good to see the two of you taking the challenge.

    • Thanks for the comment, Doug! Your use of the word “embodies” made me chuckle! 🙂 I’m glad that Jonathan shared his “to the moon” story as well. It was a fantastic one, and I actually just commented on it too.

      Your reply has me thinking now. When I wrote this post (and even thought about it earlier today), I assumed that the teacher had to be the person at the front of the room leading the learning, but maybe the teacher’s lead can be in his/her choices from “in front” and from “the sidelines” that can help the students “take off to the moon” from there. Always so much to consider!


  3. I agree with Jonathan, I believe that your students are taking regular trips to the moon. Evidence in the artifacts that you have posted including that amazing discussion about the cost/availability of natural gas from Wednesday. The process moving towards/through inquiry are often challenging (I love the reply ‘turning an ocean liner’) but I believe the end results will prepare our students much more for reality.

    • Thanks Sharron! I completely agree with you about inquiry, and when I look and see the increased thinking and learning in the classroom, I know that inquiry is the way to go. Thank you for your support!


  4. Amazing…I’ve been thinking a lot about this one, because I don’t get that “to the moon!” sense super often, and I’ve been muddling that around all day. And then, I think of one of my amazing grade 7 students, who lets me know (visually), that I’ve made his head explode with something we’ve talked about. And that’s part of going to the moon, I think.

    • That is definitely part of “going to the moon,” Lisa, and I’m glad that this student feels this way after learning with you. I wonder about your #gratitude challenge as well. Think about how students spread that positive message after you “planted the seed.”

      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Thank you for always giving me another lens….I realized as I was making dinner, that simply by the nature of what I teach (elementary Core French and music), I am paving the way to the moon all the time. Whenever one of my students does a “thinkaround” to express an idea in vocabulary they have, that’s a blast off. When they get the joy of realizing that they can understand real-world text in their second language, we go even farther on our interstellar adventure. There is so much joy in giving my students a base, and then watching them explore, and build and communicate. And when we celebrate an event like Music Monday, and my kids in the band see how much their determination and perseverance means to their listeners, they shine brighter than Mars in the April sky, and become way finders for the younger kids in the building,

    So…along with you, I shall continue to get out of the way, and send my students ….to infinity and beyond!

    • I love this, Lisa, and yes, you really do pave the way for amazing learning in and outside of your classroom! Thanks for sharing all you do online. Now I get the chance to “blast off” with your students!


  6. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs – To The Moon | doug --- off the record

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *