Thursday, April 2, 2009

This week we’ve been investigating fake “rocks” we call mock rocks.  On Monday we observed them carefully and created scientific drawings.  On Tuesday we took them apart and separated them into all the components we could see (red & green gravel, oyster shells and “gray matter”).  On Wednesday we added water to the gray matter and shook it to To separate the materials in the gray matter we added water and let dissolve the material.  We discovered there was sand and flour once the material settled.  We noticed the water was yellow (not clear) and inferred that there were more minerals to discover in the water.  So we poured the liquid carefully into evaporating dishes and waited.  Today observed the evaporating dishes with magnifying glasses and microscopes.  We know we have kosher salt based on our comparisons with our crystal identifcation sheet.  Tomorrow we will decide which of the other 5 crystals on our sheet was in our mock rocks.  The kids have really enjoyed doing the work of a geologist! 

We have started collecting interesting earth materials to observe.  Several students have  brought in rocks, minerals and crystals for us to add to our classroom collection.  Tomorrow we will begin making crystals thanks to Kyle P’s donation of a crystal kit.  Growing crystals will connect so beautifully to today’s lesson!

We have started a new math unit . . .  area and perimeter.  We had a blast yesterday making patterns with floor tiles and figuring out the area and perimeter.  Unit 7 tests went home yesterday.  They were terrific!!!  We really understand fractions. 

We made streams!

We’ve used our stream boxes for several lessons. . . but today was the first day we made a stream!!!  We attached a cup to our stream boxes with a small hole in it and ran 2ltr of water through them.  What fun!  It was a LONG lesson, but no one noticed because we were working so diligently.  Check out the pictures below  .  .  .

 We’ve been learning about erosion, run-off and soil deposits.  Ask your child to explain what they’ve learned about these important vocabulary words.

REMINDER:  Water consumption sheet is due on Friday.  Remember to pick a day to keep track of how much water you use.

March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Welcome Spring!!!!  Even though the first day of spring isn’t until Friday . . . we have enjoyed the warm weather. 

We are still working on inferring in reading.  Today we practiced inferring the meaning of subheadings in nonfiction.  The kids got the hand of this skill quickly today.  We also worked on questioning in our daybooks this week.  We have 5 different daybook groups and I have been doing lots of juggling this week during our reader’s workshop. 

We have started a new science unit:  Land and Water.  Teams of students will use stream tables to learn how water shapes land and how land can influence the path of waterways.  We will change different variables throughout our exploration of earth science.

In writing we finished our Powerpoint presentations yesterday.  THEY ARE AMAZING!!!  Today and tomorrow we will be working on a NECAP constructed response practice problem. 

In math we continue to learn about fractions.  Yesterday we explored the fraction/decimal equivilants.  Today we began learning how to compare and order fractions.  We learned that comparing fractions to 1/2 is a useful strategy.  We also learned that if we are ordering fractions with the same denominator, we order them based on the numerator.  If the denominators are the same, but the numerators are different  . . . we know that the bigger the denominator the SMALLER the fraction.  This can be a challenging skill for kids.

Thank you for sharing your children with me.