Saturday, January 19, 2013

5th Grade Technology Centers

Technology centers have really taken off with the 5th graders! Now that we are in our fourth rotation of centers the students know the routine and the room runs itself which is something that I love to see happen. Students are so engaged during these centers that you can hear a pin drop in the room and transitions are seamless. The social studies curriculum of US regions is an awesome springboard for our centers. Each center was introduced as a whole class lesson before we completed it in the center rotation. 

Center #1 QR Codes/Google Earth
We began the year introducing the QR Code Landmark/Google Earth scavenger hunt! Each region has important landmarks that they are responsible for learning and they have so much fun doing this activity. Rather than memorizing landmarks and cities this allows them to use different smarts and actually see a picture of the landmark (picture smart), visit the landmark on Google Earth (body smart) and refer to the curriculum (word smart). This is a great review of absolute (latitude and longitude) and relative location. Below you can see one side of the Southeast Region. 
Center #2 Clicker Quiz 
First I created the Clicker Quiz based on the curriculum but then it hit me that the students should do it so now they use Google Drive to access a class document on one screen and the 5th grade social studies curriculum on another screen to create questions with a buddy! This not only cut my work in half but also gave the students ownership of their test. They were really excited to see each others questions and the document that they created was used as a study guide although not all of the questions were on the quiz what a great way to review!

Center # 3 iPad - Discovery Education US Geography App
This app is not free but it has been worth every penny! Students plug in their ear buds and can watch several short video clips about a particular region while answering questions!

Center #4 QR Code Creation
Students created QR Codes for a huge map ( from the Dollar Tree that they colored) which is now hanging in the hallway and makes an awesome year-long bulletin board! Since this was their first QR Code we kept it simple with text. Each student selected a state and created a QR Code with the state, capital, abbreviation and region. A parent volunteer put the map together and attached all 50 QR Codes! We will continue to make QR Codes for the map and add pictures, videos and eventually podcasts or commercials for each state, etc. ! Since the states are a little smaller than I thought when I had the brilliant idea of adding different QR Codes throughout the year we decided to center the map on a bulletin board and then add strings (like with the postcard project) for additional QR Codes!
The 5th graders were so excited to see this hanging in the hall it actually caused a bit of a traffic jam in the hallway as they stopped to check out each state and see if their QR Code made it to the map (78 students and only 50 states).  As other grade levels are working on geography I am hoping that they will be able to use our map and scan the QR Codes to learn more about each state!


  1. This looks great. I am going to be teaching 5th grade social studies next school year and was wondering how you set the centers up. I would love to do this. I was wanting to set it up in my classroom with the different centers. Do you have some guidelines and instructions on how it runs best.

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