Are you interested in developing children’s skills in gathering information from a variety of sources?
How can you scaffold children’s thinking and help them communicate information and ideas?
Find out in this activity idea how you can use local places of interest to help children develop these process skills. Children will have opportunities to explore TWO learning areas through an integrated approach in this learning experience.
Discovery of the World (DOW)
LG1: Show an interest in the world they live in
LG2: Find out why things happen and how things work through simple investigations
Language and Literacy (L&L)
LG4: Use drawing, mark making, symbols and writing with invented and conventional spelling to communicate ideas and information
Children will be given opportunities to:
- Gather information from a variety of sources to find out more about places of interest in Singapore and talk about their findings
- Use drawing and writing to make a class book about the places of interest that visitors to Singapore should visit
#1 Build on children’s prior experiences and knowledge
How can you use children’s existing knowledge and prior experiences as a springboard for them to build new knowledge?
1. Use family-based activities as a source to find out about children’s existing knowledge and prior experiences.
Encourage parents to talk to children about a place in Singapore which they have visited or are interested to visit. Have them complete an activity sheet where the child shares about his/her experience or what he/she wants to see and do there.
Sample family-based activity sheet
2. Encourage the children to talk about their prior experiences.
Using the completed family-based activity sheets, invite a few children to talk about the place of interest they had chosen.
Children sharing from the family-based activities
#2 Introduce a variety of sources to the children
Children should be exposed to a variety of sources to develop their skills in gathering information about a topic. Scaffolds can then be provided to help them make sense of the information that they have gathered from the various sources.
1. Prepare a range of resources for the children to explore. Go through the resource and demonstrate how to make use of them to find out more about the place of interest.
In groups, have the children explore the different resources about the places of interest in Singapore such as picture books, photographs accompanied by a simple write up, pamphlets, and web pages of places in Singapore.
When using Internet-based resources, preview the materials and ensure safeguards, e.g. firewalls, are in place to prevent children’s exposure to inappropriate materials.
Children exploring the different resources with teacher’s guidance
2. Scaffold children’s understanding of the information presented in the resources.
Guide the children in looking for information by providing them with questions, such as get children to brainstorm “Where do you think visitors to Singapore should go?” and prompt them to explain their thinking and decision by asking “Why do you think they should go there?” Relate children’s suggestions and ideas to real life events whenever necessary.
For example, invite children to share what can be found in each suggested place, based on what they have found from the resources. Use a graphic organiser to record children’s ideas for each suggested place. Have each group discuss and decide on a place for the visitor.
Graphic organiser showing the children’s responses
|A child recording his findings|
|Voting for their favourite place|
3. Provide children with opportunities to consolidate and present their findings.
Provide children with a piece of paper to record their findings through drawing and simple writing or labelling about their chosen place of interest. Invite each group to show their drawing and talk about their chosen place of interest. Have the children decide, as a class, the one place they would recommend to visitors in Singapore. The children can vote by raising their hands or pasting stickers to indicate their favourite place.
Encourage children to make recordings of what they found out, and form opinions and conclusions based on their findings. When children make records of their findings, they become more sensitive to the information presented to them.
#3 Provide avenues for children to communicate information and ideas
When children engage in meaningful writing activities, it helps them to understand that writing is intentional and conveys meaning. Class books are a useful way for children to work together and communicate information that they have found out to other people.
Create a class book of places of interest in Singapore by compiling the children’s drawings from each group.
Children creating and reading their class book
When children are given opportunities to develop their skills in gathering information from a variety of sources, they gain confidence in their ability to categorise, record, and communicate their findings and ideas. As teachers, you play an important role in intentionally planning activities for children to develop the process skills that they need to make sense of the world around them.