Thursday, October 12, 2023

Grade 3 building with construction kits!

 We are learning about forces and simple machines in grade 3. To help us understand how simple machines work and to solve a real world problem of a zoo animal being trapped in the moat in its habitat, students are using VEX construction kits to build each simple machine and conduct experiments with them. They also get plenty of practice using 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, and critical thinking as they work in groups to build them. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Kicking off the 23-24 Schoolyear!

 First and second graders have been learning how to program a computer by playing an "offline" coding game where they have to give directions to a robotic dog to get her home without stepping in any puddles! This game encourages collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. It also helps students understand that we have to give computers directions in the exact order we want the directions followed, and we have to be specific in what we want them to do. We then moved onto programming in Scratch, Jr. which is an app developed by MIT to help young learners understand the basics of coding, (it's a free app available for Apple devices). Students have worked in partners when coding to help grow their communication and collaboration skills. 

5th graders have gotten their groups and robotics kits, and have begun building a testbed so that they can explore the electronic components that will be a part of the robots they will build later. Each student has a job role of either builder, getting needed parts for the builder, or running the video and double checking the builder's work as they complete each step. Students do a fantastic job of working together to complete the day's tasks! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wrapping up the school year!


 Kindergarten has been learning about pushes and pulls and how these forces make objects start moving, stop moving, and change direction! We have learned we can make big and small pushes and pulls, and that they can go in any direction! Students read a story with children who wanted to put up a swing set in their backyard, but had to move many rocks out of the way before they could do that. They had to move many rocks a long distance. Students used their knowledge of pushes and pulls to design and build an invention that would move many rocks easily across the backyard. Then we tested them out by pulling or pushing these inventions full of blocks up and down a ramp and across the carpet. If some rocks fell out, they changed their design and tested again!

Grade 2

Second graders have been studying a computer science unit where they learn how to code a computer! They have learned that people give computers directions with computer programs and that the computer follows the directions exactly as they are written. Students first did an "offline" coding program where they had to get a dog to its doghouse and pick up any bones along the way. If they made a mistake it was a "bug" in the program and they had to go back and fix their code. We tested their code on a giant game board on the floor. Then students work in partners to program their characters in a coding app called Scratch, Jr. Students "pair program" to develop 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. One student is a "driver" ( controlling the iPad) while the other is a "navigator", ( giving suggestions on what to do next, directing driver where to go, catching any potential "bugs"). We switch job roles halfway through class. Students worked together to create a simple video game that use loops and events to make their characters win the game! 

Students pair programming in Scratch, Jr. 

"Offline"coding game to learn how to give exact directions in a very specific order. Students had to work in a group of 3-4 and everyone had a specific job role. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Designing, Building, and Testing in PLTW

 Grade 2 engineers have been working on learning the science behind what makes a popsicle melt in order to build the best "cooler" they can to keep a popsicle frozen for 30 minutes! In a group, they designed their cooler, including materials they thought would work best. During the next class, they built the cooler. After that, comes the testing step in our Engineering Design Process and measuring how much liquid melted off. Small numbers mean a successful design! Finally, students explain to the class how they built their cooler, how much water had melted off, what they think worked well on their design, and what they would improve. Then, we have a real popsicle treat to finish off our hard work! 

Drawing and sharing cooler ideas

Building Day!

Testing Day!

Reading our measurements

Recording our Measurements

Explaining to others what worked well on our design

Young Fives

Young fives have been learning about living and non living things, the five senses, and what living things need to stay alive. We built bird feeders and bug hotels to put outside. Then, we built animal habitats for our clay birds and squirrels we had made!

Bird and Squirrel Habitats

Bug Hotels


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Young Fives, Grade 2, and Kindergarten

Young Fives are learning about living and nonliving things. We have studied how nonliving things are either found in nature or made by people, and we have learned that living things use their 5 senses to take in information about what's happening in the world around them. we have also learned that living things have basic needs including food, water, shelter, and air. 

Kindergarten has started studying pushes and pulls and they will use this to help our imaginary story characters solve a problem of moving rocks out of the backyard so they can put up a swingset. Eventually, kindergarteners will work in a group to build a device that moves rocks (small blocks) across the room to help solve the problem. But before we do that, we are learning about how forces work with scavenger hunts and centers!

2nd grade has been learning about properties of matter. They have also been studying that there are 3 states of matter and the particles in each are arranged differently. We have used pompoms, Legos, fresh and frozen spinach leaves (to show a non reversible change), and lots of group and partner work to help us learn this new science! 

Grade 2 Lego activity-- work with a partner to assemble something out of these Legos, then take it apart and rearrange the Legos into something new!

Kindergarten students working with a partner to build a painting tool that will paint thick lines, thin lines and dots!

Kindergarten students investigating forces at centers. 
Friction blocks (above)

Pulling a car a little bit and then a lot and seeing when it goes farther (above)

Pushing and pulling stools with and without a heavy box

Do you have to use more force ( a bigger push) to get the ball to the farthest box?

Young Fives trying to figure out what the mystery object is while they are blindfolded so they rely on their sense of touch. 

Young Fives making their prediction in their science journals of what they smell in the brown bag before we reveal it to them!