Learning the concepts of physics such as force, friction and electrostatics with approximately 100 upper primary school students supported by four teachers has generated a great enthusiasm around the primary schools within the Orbost cluster in Far East Gippsland.
Each week students from three schools participate in an online classroom (Elluminate), where the teachers present their lesson for the week and then encourage the students to access the eKid website where there are a range of learning activities and assignments they are required to complete. In addition to participating in the online classroom where the “theory” of the specific topic is explored, students are involved in a range of hands on science experiments which often bring a lot of fun – but most importantly “turn the theory into reality”.
“One week, my task was to make a bridge out of paper and 2 paper clips. The aim was to support as many 20 cent coins as the bridge would hold .I found that that the bridge had a soft spot. The soft spot was in the middle of the bridge and the soft spot was where the bridge had too much weight force on top of it.”
Orbost, Orbost North and Newmerella Primary Schools have been involved in this exciting online learning program for a number of weeks now – both teachers and students learning how to utilise blended learning approaches for students.
Central to the program is the eKids website which allows students to undertake learning to access information, videos, text information, animations, and discussion forums involving students from across the three schools.
“This experiment was to do with forces without contact and it was really fun. Today Brittney and I had to go get a magnet and some iron. Then we had to sprinkle the iron on to the pieces of paper with the magnet under the paper. It would make a shape. There was all different shapes and sizes magnets. Brittney and I use a circle magnet a rectangle and a really big magnet.”
The enthusiasm of the students towards their learning has been great to watch and the willingness of the teachers to engage in this approach to learning has generated an interest to continue the delivery of the learning into the future.
There is already discussion amongst the cluster teachers about how to continue this approach into the future and what other learning areas could utilise such an approach.