Answers to Teachers' Questions

Answers to Teachers' Questions

May I use materials from this web site in my classroom?

Yes, you may use them for instructional purposes in your classroom, and may have your students use the web site for searching for information for reports. You may print out pages for use on classroom bulletin boards, and on student classroom and science fair displays.  Please identify the materials as coming from the World Builders web site.

Why do you ask us to write to you?

I ask that you drop me an email if you use the materials because it gives me an idea of which materials are useful and which areas need further development. It is encouraging to me, too!   Also it gives me letters that I can show to my Dean and to potentially helpful grant-giving organizations to show that the materials are actually being used and useful. It helps if you can tell me what grade level you are teaching or (for students) that you are studying in.

How are teachers using these materials?

Teachers are using the site in many ways.  Some find a page that is useful and use just the one page.  Some will take a group of pages from one of the lessons and use them, or pieces of them, in theit units.  Some are doing the whole World Builder project, and they are reporting excellent student motivation.

What grade levels are appropriate for building worlds?

I have had reports of students in the fourth grade creating worlds.  Building Worlds is great in Junior High School and for High School students as well.  Adults also enjoy this activity.  The basic ideas that underly this course are simple but powerful.  World Building works well in gifted classes, and for home schoolers.

Are you an expert in all these sciences?

No.  I have a generalist's interest in these fields, but make no claim to specialized expertise. I have many questions myself. I see myself learning along with the students, being 'a guide on the side' to them. This is a new pedagogical model, and it seems to work. I see my role as coordinating, encouraging, and facilitating planet building for my students, and as asking them questions that guide their creative process.

Could I teach a course like this?

YES!!! And it will be great fun!  I receive notes from teachers from Fourth Grade and up who are teaching their science content by letting their students build worlds.  You could start by using one unit, or a part of one unit, with your regular curriculum: for example, if you teach a unit on plants you could have your students design a plant and explain how it is adapted to its environment.   Then the environment could change, and the students could think of additional adaptations.  Students enjoy being able to use their creativity and to express their learning in innovative ways.  You will enjoy the enthusiasm and self-motivation of your students, and you will be amazed at the results!

Why are you doing this?

This project is a work of love.  I am enjoy working on the web site and studying science to come to understand and enjoy the world more.  Being able to share it with you is a joy, and knowing that the pages are helpng students is very encouraging.

© 1996, 2002, 2004.  Elizabeth Anne Viau.  This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. Please e-mail me at if you use this material. I'd be interested to know how it works for you!