Objects to Start Inquiry

We started our first project this week. Our entry event went very well. Rather than explain it I will show it to you and let you see if you can figure it out for yourself. The students were given these instructions:

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Here are the objects in the center of the room.

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We also played “Panama” by Van Halen while they checked out the items. Next students made guesses about what each thing sybolized. Many of them were stumped. When a student made a correct guess we threw them a popsicle.  After letting them guess for a few minutes we shared a slideshow of primary source resources with them. See how you many you can guess before checking out the slides (adapted from Bruce Lesh).

Students figured out everything except for the concrete paver. This activity was a great start for our project. Students were engaged in the inquiry and very motivated to figure out what everything stood for. We followed this up with revealing our Driving Question: ” ‘Murica…cuz MD?” Students now had to figure out what that meant.

The next day the first thing that happened was two students came up to me to guess what the concrete paver stood for. Good attempts but still not correct. One of them said, “I thought about it all night.” That was music to my ears. I highly recommend using objects related to a project as an entry event. It is great way to start inquiry, build curiosity, and creates conversations between students.

How could you use objects as an entry event for a project?

PS: Make a guess about what each item represents and leave it in the comments. I will post the answers in a few days.

About Michael Kaechele

I like learning, sharing, technology, math, history, and concrete.
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4 Responses to Objects to Start Inquiry

  1. Doaa says:

    How interesting & challenging !!!!! As a new STEM teacher, I’m going to figure out a way to use this amazing method. As for the relationships of these objects, I guess there are many things in common between Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe as they both led an outstanding life that ended miserably. They were so sweet as the pineapple. They were pretty and famous. In their lives, they kept looking for love, which led to their death, like a doll in the wind. They were motivated mostly by their emotions like El Matador, without caring much about what the risks they may face.

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  2. Pictures between Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe could be influential people that made an impact in people’s lives or brought about change to society. The objects can be depicted as places or holiday destinations people have visited or traveled too. The packet of chips and pineapple could depict favorite food for early years children.

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  3. Answers:
    “MD”= Manifest Destiny
    pineapple= Hawaii
    boat=U.S.S. Maine
    Globe=yellow journalism
    sugar=Cuba
    concrete paver=Philippines as the “stepping stone” to China
    bear=”Teddy” Roosevelt
    Marilyn Monroe=Monroe Doctrine
    El Matador chips=Spain

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