Implementation of “STEAM in the Water Cycle” (SOI-GR-321)

Author: Aikaterini Spitsa

School/Organization: 4th Kindergarten of Kalamaria, Thessaloniki

The Rationale

My name is Aikaterini Spitsa and I implemented this learning scenario with my 22 students of the 4th Kindergarten of Kalamaria, an urban suburb of Thessaloniki, the second most populated city of Greece. The scenario’s activities allowed students to develop their cognitive and social skills and expand their knowledge through interdisciplinary approach in the following subjects: Science, Geography, Engineering, Art, Language, ICT. Students were formerly familiar with the use of camera and ICT tools as well as teamwork procedures.

The Implementation

Introduction to the topic

A rainy day at school was the reason to implement this learning scenario. Students watched the rain fall from the school’s windows and discussed about it. When we gathered for our daily routines, in which one of them is to fill our everyday weather record, students had questions about the origins of rain, its duration and the destination of fallen water. To deal with this weather phenomenon, I searched Europeana Learning Scenarios and I chose “STEAM in the Water Cycle” by Anna Maria Gauci because it’s goals, pedagogical approaches and the age of student’s that was designed were close to my class’s.

Identifying former knowledge

We started by using the learning scenario’s artwork: Rain Clouds over a Lake Landscape, which we described and discussed. Students’ initial ideas and questions about rain were written on the board in a form of a mind map. Also, students put down their ideas and former knowledge about rain’s origins and formation through drawing.

Cloud watchers

      We went a step further from the learning scenario and started observing and taking photos of clouds in the sky when we got outside in our schoolyard and realized that they had differences. In class, we searched for cloud photos and paintings from Europeana Clouds | Europeana which we described and found differences and similarities. We, also watched the following video: Types Of Clouds – The Dr. Binocs Show | Best Learning Videos For Kids | Peekaboo Kidz – YouTube and learned the names and characteristics of the different types of clouds, which we also practiced with, by sorting out and grouping photos of clouds.  

      The experiment of forming a cloud in a jar was a very interesting activity from the learning scenario and that’s why we decided to do it too.  Students also watched the video: (213) What are clouds? ☁☁ How are they formed? | Educational Vídeo for Kids – YouTube and followed the instructions of the experiment to create a cloud in a jar.

      Students with the help of Europeana’s paintings, drew and created their own cloudy masterpieces on A4 paper with colored pens, crayons and watercolors.

Identifying former knowledge about rain. Katerina Spitsa,  CC BY-NC-ND

The Water Cycle

     Students got familiar with the water cycle by watching the following videos (228) The Water Cycle – YouTube (228) Η “Στιγμούλα” εξηγεί τον Κύκλο του Νερού! – YouTube and learning the stages of the water circle. They also collaborated by organizing a theatrical play by casting the roles of rain drops, the  sea, clouds and the sun and presenting the water cycle’s stages: evaporation, condensation and precipitation. From the Learning Scenario we used the following game, which students really enjoyed playing.

    Then, students were devided in small groups and each group drew collaboratively a stage of the water circle. All students got together and created the poster of the stages of the Water Circle and a board game for better understanding.

Shapes of Water

    In order to understand the different shapes of water, we implemented the experiment of creating a cloud in a jar form the Learning Scenario. We also, watched the following video (214) How to make a Rain Cloud in a Jar | Kids Science Experiment – YouTube and created rain drops in a jar. We boiled and froze water and then observed it melting. Students also drew on ice cubes and practiced color mixes and made a list of the suitable clothes for such weather condition.

Weather Maps and Symbols

     As a final step, we identified other weather phenomena as well, by observing weather symbols on weather maps.  Students created their own weather symbols by using tablet apps and by drawing them on paper. We also watched weather forecasts and meteorologists speaking and as a result students created their own weather maps and presented them in class.

Students’ photographs of different clouds. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

The Learning Outcomes for students

    Bearing in mind the implementation above, which lasted 2 months, students learned about the water cycle, understood that water can be found in all three of its natural phases: steam, liquid and ice and how weather phenomena, related to water, are created. They, also, learned about weather symbols and forecasts, meteorological instruments and the terminology used by meteorologists. They were introduced to how meteorological maps are created and the composition of a weather report.

    The actions contributed to strengthening the students’ experiential and exploratory learning and encouraged their direct and active participation through exploratory and collaborative processes. Through experiential and authentic activities, students developed learning skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, mind skills (strategic thinking, problem solving), digital skills and life skills (adaptability, responsibility, organization).

    The students, working in groups, created and used simple meteorological instruments as well as digital devices they learned to operate and program.

    Finally, the structure of the program allowed the participation of all students, regardless of learning, socio-cultural background, seeing any differences as learning wealth that enriches education and not as an obstacle. The playful nature of the activities, their authenticity, but above all the fact that they came from the children themselves and their interests, were the main success factors of this specific intervention.

Students taking photos of clouds. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Sorting out different types of clouds and forming groups. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Students’ drawings of clouds with colored pens and crayons. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Students drawing shaped clouds with watercolor. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Roleplaying the water cycle. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Teamwork drawing of the stages of water cycle. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Teamwork drawings are combined to create the water cycle. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Experiments with the shapes of water. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

A handmade rain gauge, made with recyclable materials, in our school yard. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Drawing on ice, learning about slow melting and color mixes. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

A collaborative board game about water cycle. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Drawing the poem “Little river, where are you from?” of Z. Papantoniou. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Identifying weather symbols from weather maps. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Creating weather symbols with the use of tablet apps. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

Creating weather maps and forecasts and presenting them in the rest of the class. Katerina Spitsa, CC BY-NC-ND

The Outcomes for the teacher.   

I adapted the initial Learning Scenario to the Greek Curriculum of Preschool Education which focuses on interdisciplinary approach. Using Europeana resources enriched the lesson and created the conditions for the students to appreciate art and have an interactive educational experience. The process of tailoring the Learning Scenario to the needs and interests of my students, was a challenge that actually fostered the integration of cultural learning, innovative techniques and student centered approaches. Overall, an inclusive learning environment empowered students to connect, grow and innovate not only with the material they explored but also with each other.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? STEAM in the Water Cycle (LS-MT-235) – Teaching With Europeana ( created by Anna Maria Gauci

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Slovak National Gallery.

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