Second Graders Blast Off to Mars!
Students at Buxton Center Elementary have taken some far out field trips in the last couple of weeks! Students have traveled across the country to see sites like the Lincoln Memorial and Mount Rushmore. They have also traveled to the ocean floor in a submarine and to the planet Mars to visit the rover, Curiosity!
This is all possible thanks to the Nearpod app on the iPads or site on the Chromebook. These devices allow a teacher to tap into some free virtual reality lessons, which allow students to explore science and social studies topics in greater detail. These lessons are engaging and geared toward our curriculum standards. For example, fourth and fifth graders studying the American Revolution and the fifty states can take a trip called “Symbols of America.” This lesson lets students view four different American monuments (the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty). The students are then able to discuss the meaning of these monuments and compare/contrast the symbolism of the meanings. In the end, students come to a conclusion about what each location represents to Americans.
Nearpod is a unique program because it allows the teacher to control the pace of the lesson from her computer while all students view the lesson live on their own devices. The virtual reality lessons contain 360 degree photos that allow students to explore an image that surrounds them. This is especially helpful for taking “field trips” to places that are difficult for us to get to, whether it is the deep ocean or even another planet!
The second graders had a blast. They used information they gathered from the photos to describe the planet's geology and climate, and assess for the potential for life on Mars. They then wrote postcards from Mars to back home!