Due to COVID-19, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District offers two learning options for the 2020 - 2021 school year. Parents and students were able to select Traditional Onsite Learning, where they interact with the teacher on campus, and Remote Learning, where students use a Learning Management software to complete assignments and communicate with their class virtually.
With classes being split in most cases, it can be not easy to partner on labs and other projects during the normal school day. However, Rosemeade Elementary found a way to adapt with technology to learn science together.
Traditional fifth-grade learners in Alyson Fry's science class at Rosemeade Elementary in CFBISD paired with their virtual peers to study plants in a whole class science project. The science lab was to determine how blossoms on plants hold the seed in place. Students in the class could partner with their virtual friends to experiment and become knowledgeable in botany.
The assignment's goal was for class partners to count how many seeds were in one plant (a weed from our playground) and identify the plant's structures and purposes. Students used their Chromebooks and Google Meets to meet face to face with their partners at home. The classroom partner then held their Chromebooks so the Remote Learners could count the seeds. During this process, the Classroom Learner circled the seeds in groups of 10 on a white piece of construction paper. The partners "talked" through CHAT to limit the feedback from the microphones.
The lesson was highly engaging, and students in the class were very excited to interact with their partners closely. It was an exciting change that students loved. "It was truly a neat experience seeing students collaborate while one was in the traditional school setting, and the other was working remotely from home. Both partners were completely engaged with one another and actively participating in the lesson," said Laura Gutierrez Sherer, Rosemeade Elementary Principal.
The lesson was a success and let students learn about plant science and gave them the ability to interact with friends socially. During these times, where it isn't easy to meet in-person, young children must find ways to interact with their peers. Ms. Fry at Rosemeade Elementary saw a need for student interaction and made it possible with technology. Not only did the students learn, but they had fun doing it.