Discovery learning

October 20, 2019

Discovery learning
Strand- Time continuity and change
Sub – strand Time and change

Discovery Learning is one of the general social studies strategies and as such it is very open-ended and broad. The book describes this strategy as any activity that the teacher structures to help students find answers on a particular topic through problem solving. Instead of lecturing about a topic or assigning a specific piece of reading, the teacher complies different resources for students to look through and draw their own conclusions from. For younger students, the book suggests that the teacher pre-make resource files that contain articles and pictures that will help the students with their research, while older students can be allowed to search for their own sources in the school library or online. This strategy can be used for many social studies topics from researching a historical figure to looking at a specific society of people. The most important thing to keep in mind with this strategy is that there typically is no right or wrong answer to find; the focus is on guiding students to discover research and making their own interpretations from it.


 When thinking about how I could use this strategy in a classroom, Christopher Columbus immediately came to my mind. Usually, we hear about how he discovered the Americas and he is even celebrated with his own national holiday. However, there were Native Americans that already lived on the continent he ‘discovered’ and his treatment of these people was extremely sad. For older students, I would have them research Christopher Columbus with a focus on how his discovery of America affected the native people of the land. I would find articles and first-hand accounts from Native Americans that experienced Columbus coming to their home and place these resources in either a digital or hard-copy folder for each group of students to look through. I would also encourage students to find their own resources. After allowing students to research, we would discuss as a class how Columbus’ discovery affected Native Americans. This would be a great way to show students that even though a historical figure is celebrated by some, they might not be a favorable character in other people’s history.

Teaching time can be tricky and frustrating at times, but hands-on and lots of practice will help the concept stick. Judy clocks are excellent clocks for kids to use since the hour hand moves when the minute hand goes around, just like the real thing. The following ideas are from homeschoolers, teachers, and others who submitted creative teaching strategies on an online for
"For telling time, you could make a clock, using strong paper and a brad in the middle, and practice telling time. Start with the "o'clock" times, then move on to "30's." After that, show that the numbers around the face have the minute value which is reached when you count by 5's, and practice telling time with the minute hand on the numbers. (Make sure you progress the hour hand as you go. They need to get used to the idea that at 4:55, the hour hand will look like it's on the 5.)"

"For telling time, we made a "clock" out of a paper plate and used a paper fastener to attach to construction paper hands. You can move the hands to demonstrate different times. I started with teaching hours (9 o'clock, 10 o'clock, etc.), then did quarter and half hours, and finally minute increments."
"I didn't introduce time and money until toward the end of 1st grade. It's easier to understand "quarter-past" and "half past" once you have covered fractions.
Of course, we talk about time and money in our daily life long before the end of first grade."
"I always ask her to provide me the time. It is just one of her jobs. It is also her job to adjust the thermostat. She will read me the numbers and I will tell her what to change it to or how many to change it by, etc."
"For my son, since he'd learned how to count by 5s, I taught him to count by 5s on his watch. He picked this up really well. We did have a little adjusting to do with the times that were near the next hour because it always "looks" like the next hour, but he learned to really pay attention to where the little hand was (just before the next number, etc.). To me, I find it confusing (and a waste) to show a breakdown of hour, half-hour, learn that, then break it down more... the same time could be spent learning the count by 5s. I haven't taught him how to count by exact number yet (12:02 example), but will be doing that this year."
"Personally, I wouldn't start with money and time until she has mastered counting by 5s and 10s. This way, it will become very easy for her to understand the principles in figuring out the time and amount of change, etc. My son only knew the value of coins and telling time by o'clock and half-past in kindergarten. Now, he is able to make change, count change, and tell time. He is now learning how to figure out time sentence problems (e.g., How much time did it take, etc.) and he is starting 2nd grade. However, while in kindergarten and 1st grade, he was able to add and subtract very large numbers and carry-over, etc.
So, don't be surprised if your child is not ready for this—especially if he/she cannot count by 5s and 10s first."
"Well, I have a kindergartener and we're working on time and money right now. He actually is really good at time because we teach time as it happens. He realizes that his favorite show comes on at 4:00 pm, he knows that his friends come home from school at about 3:00 pm, etc. He learns because he asks. Also, when he went to visit my parents this summer, they bought him an analog watch and taught him how to tell time on it. He's not perfect at it, but he can get it down to the hour now. But yes, time is definitely better taught as it happens. That's also how I learned analog time when I was a kid."
"To teach my son to tell time, once he understood the basics, we went to a store and he picked out a pocket watch that caught his eye. I told him it was up to him to make sure we always knew the time. He was excited to have any excuse to pull out that shiny watch and use it. It reinforced his time telling skills and now every time he sees it, he can remember that special time we spent together."
"I realized it is helpful if you give the names to the following hand:
  • Second hand = Second hand (keep it the same)
  • Big hand = Minute Hand
  • Small hand = Name Hand
You can explain now or later that it's not really called the "name hand," but it will make it easier to learn for now. Start off by teaching the time at the top of the hours. Put the clock at 3:00 and ask "what number does the name hand point to?" When he says, "3," say "that means it's 3 o'clock."
Next, change it to 4. "Now what time does the name hand point to?" etc. Mix it up after a few times. Once the child seems to understand that, ask him or her to make a time and tell you what it is.

If they go to something other than an 'o'clock,' (like 3:20), feel free to tell them what time that is, but say that the big hand has to be facing up for it to be three o'clock. Explain you'll learn the rest of it another day (or teach it to them later after they have mastered the 'o'clock' part. Every child will be different.)"
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