Meet "Froggie". We discovered him in our student garden today. The weather was beautiful and we have been learning about weathering, erosion, and deposition. I pulled out my popsicle sticks that are marked every cm. with a different color and used for measuring erosion on a mountain model.The kids and I headed out back with the sticks, our clipboards (recent donation from Donorschoose) to do a little experimenting with our own pile of soil (aka - dirt). We built it up to include both steep and gentle slopes. Then we added some vegetation in various places (aka: clover). The kids made predictions about what would happen and placed their sticks in random positions on the "mountain". Then we went to the rain barrels with our buckets so we could simulate rainfall. We tried spray bottles, a small pitcher, and finally a bucket of water. We were having a grand time drawing and writing in our notebooks while sharing our findings like tributaries forming, landslides and mudslides, deltas, canyons, and even an "oxbow" lake. Everything was going exactly according to my plan and the kids were engaged!
Suddenly someone notices a little green frog that had hopped into our space and everything shifted in an instant to that frog. Total engagement on the frog and what it was doing and could we get a closer look. 5th graders truly engaged in wonder/curiosity from which authentic learning can begin to grow!