This year’s auction theme is “Everything Starts with a Dream.” As our 3rd/4th grade class launched a new Social Studies unit on Lewis and Clark, I thought this unit tied-in perfectly to the auction. Project based learning activities promote student-centered learning and encourages students to engage in hands-on activities, critical thinking and real-time experiences. Students develop these 21st century skills and enable themselves to express and communicate their ideas more effectively.
Before students can go off exploring with Lewis and Clark, they must gain an understanding of the Louisiana Purchase. Students were shown a map of the United States in 1803 and were asked the driving question: “What is the Louisiana Purchase and what does it have to do with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark?” We then started a class discussion to discover what we already knew about the Louisiana Purchase and broke into small groups to answer the five W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Students researched the five W’s and we drew a large five-branched tree map with each branch being labeled with one of the W’s. Students wrote down their answers on the tree map and shared how them came-up with the answer.
We have now switched gears and students have accepted the role of a person who was selected for the Corps of Discovery. Students will continue to write in their journals throughout the unit. Our young explorers will be answering questions like: What was their background? What compelled them to join? What skill sets did they bring to benefit the expedition? What are their fears, and their dreams?
President Thomas Jefferson dreamed to expand the United States to the Pacific Coast. Lewis, Clark, and men of the Corps of Discovery dreamed of adventure and exploring the unknown. Learning at Hillside Academy provides students with the opportunity to dream beyond their unlimited potential because “Everything Starts with a Dream.”
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