We completed our first interest-led week
ever of the year yesterday. The kids rocked it. I told them they could study any topic of their choosing as long as they had something to show for it by Friday - a report, a poster, a meal, a project, absolutely anything.
Doodlebug chose DNA for his topic; Boo chose jellyfish. On Monday we went to the library and picked up some books I'd requested for each kid on his/her chosen topic, and we hung around for a while so the kids could read, take notes, use the library computers for further research, etc. That was the only day I gave them any guidance. After that, they were on their own.
Both of them loved their topics. Both of them learned a ton.
Doodlebug was initially frustrated because he didn't understand how DNA, RNA, and amino acids worked, but once I insisted he read his library books before he continued, he got the picture. He put together the K'Nex DNA replication/transcription set and pored through the booklet of information that accompanied it.
Boo set up shop in the school room and started work on a papier-mache jellyfish. I had to blow up the balloon to exact specifications in order to make her happy. I had no idea why at the time. I learned later that she was making a life-size replica of a sea nettle. Those things have LONG tentacles!!
On Wednesday Doodlebug pulled out the Zometools Biochemistry set and started making base pairs and sugars. He was fascinated by the process, and I, in turn, learned why people say we're carbon-based life forms. I never knew before! He requested permission to use my camera and took pictures of each protein along with the card that held its name.
Boo started making fact sheets on red pieces of paper and added a second layer to her papier-mache jellyfish.
By Friday, I had done very little to guide them. They had asked me if they needed something - Doodlebug asked me to take his base protein images and turn them into a slide show and Boo had asked me to print off images of four specific species of jellyfish - but other than that, they'd been working independently, and they were ready to show off their work.
Doodlebug went first and explained base pairs, DNA, RNA, the replication process,
and how they all work/fit together. He loved being able to use technology to bring his presentation to life.
He was understandably proud of himself.
Boo enjoyed showing off her work, too.
Girl got her lecture on almost as well as her brother, which is saying something since he's been lecturing people semi-professionally since he was 5.
She even walked around the room to make sure everyone participated.
Between them, I think their presentations ran an average of 10 minutes, and I couldn't be more proud of them. They did amazing work, and they can't wait till our next interest-led week, which should be sometime around Christmas!