Sunday, November 27, 2016

Grade 4 Dewey Detectives

The Dewey Decimal system is a way of sorting nonfiction books. I don't expect my students to memorize specific numbers; that's what the online catalog is for. I do, however, want them to understand how certain topics go together. At least according to how Mr. Dewey thought they did.

Each table of fourth graders got a stack of books from a "hundreds." They had to work together to figure out how the subjects could be classified under one major label. If you are not a fourth grader and think you have cracked the code, put your answers in the comments!

  • 500s: planets, electricity, magnets, weather, dinosaurs, bugs, ecosystems, animals
  • 700s: movies, art, photography, music, sports, jokes, crafts
  • 900s: maps, ancient civilizations, countries, states, wars, explorers

Here are Room 15 students in action:

The second part of the assignment was to use what they learned about the categories to fill in the missing words of a story with the Dewey tens numbers for those topics. For example, "I went outside last night, and the  __________ was so bright, I didn't need to turn on the porch lights." The missing word is "moon." If you wanted to research the moon, you would look under the Science category, and then find the number 520 corresponds to space. (Thanks to Castle Rock High School Library for this idea.)

Here are Room 14 students working together on this activity, which I was happy to hear they thought was fun, like solving a puzzle:

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