The grade 3 students are starting a unit into the transdisciplinary theme How we organize ourselves. They will be focusing on their inquiries on cities through the central idea, “Cities are organized to meet the needs of their inhabitants.”
As for all other units of inquiry in the elementary, I have created a page on the Visual Tab of our library OPAC to support students in their inquiries. For this unit, I found an online game that allows players to create cities with roads, buildings, and people. The grade 3 students gave it a try this week as part of their tuning in* to the unit. The game is called City Creator, and was developed by Denise Wilton and Cal Henderson.
I challenged the third graders to trial the site this week after our initial demonstration yesterday and we will be discussing the experience next week.
We did notice that sometimes the site freezes and one can no longer drag the shapes to the map. Next week, we’ll create member accounts that will let us save our maps and edit later.
I showed the third graders how to get to the game via the library OPAC. You will need to access the Visual Tab of the library OPAC, http://library.istianjin.net. , then click on the PYP UOI button and navigate to the grade 3 cities unit page.
There are three buttons on the grade 3 cities unit page. One of them is for a list of books in our collection on cities, one is to the City Creator game, and one is to a children’s page maintained by the American Planning Association. The latter is not a very dynamic page, but it’s hard to find materials on urban planning at a grade 3 level. If you know of better websites on this topic, please let me know in the comments.
*Tuning In is the first stage of the IST Inquiry Cycle. During the tuning in stage, students consider what they already know about the topic. Teachers assess prior knowledge and adjust the unit based on what they discovered about the students existing understanding of the central idea.