Blog Challenge #2: Ask a Question. Get an Answer.
NOTE: Class polls are a great way to get your kids thinking, and with web tools like Google Forms, you can get them thinking nationally or even globally.
If anyone ever asks you why a teacher would want a PLN (Professional Learning Network) here’s one thing you can throw back at them. “Did you ever want to ask the world a question?”
Our third grade did. They wanted to know what the world had for breakfast on April 1st, 2009. We created a Google form then I sent the link out on Twitter saying, “Let’s show this teacher the power of our newtork.” Twenty-four hours later we had over 400 responses which I painstakingly added one by one to a Google Map. (Read more about it: It’s All About the Network)
Last year while the Winter Olympics were in full swing, our third grade wanted to know about your favorite winter Olympic sport. This time we used a new tool called Map-A-List to take the location data from the form to automatically generate a map of the responses. (If you’d like to learn to do this yourself look at “Collaborative Maps“.)
In both surveys, the class was able to get global results in 24 hours – something that was unthinkable when I was in school. Kids couldn’t wait to check the map as the responses came in. A lesson about the Olympics quickly became a lesson in geography. Math and graphing were added as the results were tallied. Which sport was the most popular? Students were able to compare their class responses with people in other states and countries. Their teacher was even able to pose thinking questions like…
“Barbara in New Zealand ate Muesli and tinned peaches. What are tinned peaches?”
“Why do you think different sports are popular in different places?”
“Why do you think most of the people who answered our survey live in English speaking countries?”
She then led the class discussion as students worked to find the answers. All this learning from one simple question.
What would YOU ask the world?