Big Questions in Fifth Grade
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Big Questions in Fifth Grade
Below is a list of "wonders" from Brookline Kindergarteners. They ask some pretty amazing questions. If adults slowed down enough to consider their world carefully, they would be wondering the same kinds of things.
How did the world begin?
Does a giraffe have a brain?
I wonder why earth is the only planet with life on it.
I wonder how Ninjas get so good at fighting when all they do is practice moves.
I wonder how the temperature changes.
I wonder how the giant squid swims so deep.
How do they put frosting on frosted mini-wheats?
What happens when I put my fish in the trashcan?
Why are angel fish called angel fish?
I wonder how birds talk to each other.
What happens when you die?
Why I am alive in the world?
How do they make buttons?
I wonder why it snows.
I wonder why markers don’t erase, but pencils do.
Why do dogs dream?
I wonder why I sometimes don’t dream.
What is in the CVS truck?
I wonder how it rains.
I wonder why the earth spins.
Why people feel sad when they get hurt.
How do baby sharks take care of themselves?
I wonder why the sun is always round.
I wonder why doors are always a rectangle?
I wonder how planes move fast and we don’t feel it.
Why are cherry seeds are so hard. I also wonder why cherries are red.
Why do we dress up for Halloween?
Why did I lose my pajamas in Block Island?
I wonder why I like yellow so much.
Why do cats pee in a box?
I wonder why my dad sleeps on the couch.
I wonder how people grow.
What are traffic lights are made of?
I wonder if a kitty has a brain.
I wonder why the seeds in an apple are black.
How do worms breathe?
Ms. Gregoire has been working with teachers and students exploring Self Organized Learning Experiences. These are experiences in which students come up with their own big questions,and explore/research them driven by their own interests. Ms. Gregoire has been trying this method mostly in fifth grade classes, specifically within the theme of Birds (one of the science units).
Below is a list of great questions fifth graders had after viewing a video (see above) of some Crows in Japan utilizing traffic (and stop lights!) to safely crack open nuts.
We talked about the difference between big, rich questions and questions that, while still interesting, can easily be researched by Googling.
We decided we could make almost any question into a Big Rich question by adding a “WHY?” for example (this was Ms. Hansel's great suggestion). Do swans mate for life? This is easy to find the answer to online or in a book, but the really interesting thing to think about is WHY they do this.
Big Questions about Birds
How are crows so smart?
Are some crows smarter than others?
Are birds creative?
Compared to humans, how smart are crows?
How can you measure this?
Do crows feel proud of themselves when they figure out a solution to a problem?
Do birds have preferences?
For example, do some crows like nuts better than berries?
Do birds understand each other’s calls?
What do birds do to defend against predators besides fly away from them?
Do crows recognize specific people? Do crows recognize specific crows? How?
Do crows become senile as they age? Do they learn to adapt better as they grow?
When did crows figure out that they could use human technology? To what end can they utilize it?
How do birds know where to go?
Do crows remember things?
What are their memories?
Can they use their memories to problem solve?
Can they schedule their day?
What did birds/crows evolve from?
Can non-flying birds migrate?
What determines egg color?
Can the food a chicken eats determine the flavor of their eggs?
How do other birds crack nuts?
How dose the shape of the nest occur?
Do they mate for life?, if yes – Why? If no, Why?
Does a kiwi bird have wings?
Do some birds get along with other types of birds better?
Why does a bird have a hard shell, and lizards have a soft shell?
Can birds fly with their eyes closed?
Do birds hit planes?
How do they know if they are too high?
Can humans communicate with crows and vice versa (no mimicking, really communicating)?
How can you tell the difference between communicating and mimicking?
How did the first crow who did it, figure out how to crack nuts in traffic and use the red light to pick them up?
Did they learn from another crow?
How big are crow brains?
How big are they compared to sparrows’?
How can we compare brain size of different birds and their intelligences?
How do you compare intelligence among birds?
Does the size of the brain determine or effect intelligence?
Does intelligence determine how well a bird survives?
How do unintelligent birds survive?
How did they survive the traffic?
Can crows learn from each other?
Are crows as smart, or smarter than the average human baby?
Is there a bird IQ test?
When do birds start thinking about breeding?
Do birds have feelings like humans? Mad, sad, happy, excited, scared?
Do birds have a Daily routine?
Can birds tell time, or notice as time passes?