Part of the integrated focus of room 24 included some science this week! During Pirate club we are studying the Unthkinkable Brain Eater. One way to understand this Unthinkable and defeat him is to learn more about the brain , how to grow neurons and how our attention works. For our first lesson we watched Ned Neuron, read the book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain and made Neurons!
We learned to grow these important brain structures we needed to learn or try new things, not give up even if we make mistakes, keep practicing and stay curious!
The next day each child wrote how they planned to grow more neurons.
Our experiment to observe what will begin to break down faster begins. This three section visual mini compost bin includes thermometers to monitor changes in soil temperature. We added our three categories of waste , our worms , a bit of water and waited...
In June as we packed up the room we took one final look.
The apple and banana were no longer visible and indeed had broken down a great deal. The paper napkin was gone but bits of the straw remained. No change with the plastic which was expected.
We began our unit of the 3 Rs- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle with the movie Wall.e . Wall.e faced a problem on Earth, the humans had left Earth leaving robots behind to clean up all their garbage and waste hoping to return later.
After watching the movie we studied categories of garbage, what happens to our waste & and the problem of plastic in our oceans. We learned about the 3 Rs and observed the waste during lunch in our cafeteria.
Next , we moved onto the F.B.I and ways these decomposers help break things down. The F.B.I. ( fungus, bacteria, invertebrates) helps break things down and create healthy dirt.
This week we investigated the I- Invertebrates . Specifically , worms and Banana Slugs. We were also learning two songs , Banana Slug and The F.B.I.. So much learning and fun... The banana slug race was full of cheering, learning and giggles.
No Invertebrates were harmed and all were returned to their habitats with stories of gentle children.
Wiggly Worm Observations
Our Pioneers sing a stanza of the F.B.I. See more here
As the children work on their science fair projects, it was time to model the steps in a fun and engaging way. A generous colleague provided me with a few suplies and inspiration.
Day 1 - We practiced flipping , noticing and generally had some fun. The children noticed that the amount of water, where they expected it to land, force, type of flip etc. made a difference on the success of their bottle landing upright. But they were having to much fun to experiment in a systematic manner. SO, Day 2 - I posed the question-
How much water does it take to make it easier to flip a water bottle and have it land upright?
The experiment was to flip their bottles using two different amounts of water ( 125 ML or 1/4 full) or ( 250 ML or 1/2 full.) They were to tally the number of flips until their bottle stood upright on their desk. This data was then recorded onto a large GO chart for analysis.
I had the children record their hypothesis (smart guess ) on which amount of water would make it easier to flip & have their bottle land upright.
I then modeled the experiment step by step stopping at the class data collection & conclusion section. I recorded my data. The children were generally impressed that I could flip a bottle and have it land upright several times.
Now the fun began!
The children began filling bottles and putting their caps on TIGHTLY. ( I just couldn't stress that enough . ;-) They giggled as I exaggerated water everywhere and my stern drippy look.
I have included a few videos to show engagement, focus and shouts of excitement.
The children were very excited to discover that crystals did indeed grow on their pipe cleaners. They turned out beautiful!
The children were ask to complete a worksheet where they had to measure, weigh and determine the crystal's shape. They were asked to compare and contrast their pipe cleaner crystal with a real snowflake. This was followed by writing out their steps in sequential order using key terms. These will be used to make their teaching videos for Mr. Hill & their parents. We also placed 4 different items made from different materials ( metal, glass, plastic and a fabric/light vinyl leaf) into a jar of borax solution to see if crstals have preferred materials. The results were perplexing but interesting.
This week we started our integrated L.Arts, writing, math and science unit. For science we began learning numeours vocabulary terms and concepts, how crystals grow and how to follow a detail procedure using these vocabulary terms. We began with a biographical read aloud, individual student booklets and watching several videos about SnowFlake Bentley. We will be practicing an in class biography report before they are assigned one for homework. More in L. Arts. Once we understood the properties of a snowflake ( they start from a seed crystal ( a speck of dirt that freezes), no two are alike, they typically have 6 'points', are symmetrical etc.), we grew our own borax crystal snowflakes. We paid careful attention to the written out sequential procedure.
Day 1 using mirrors to make symmetrical Q-tip snowflakes
Day 2 we followed a procedural worksheet to grow a crystal snowflake.
The were asked to build the tallest free standing Tree with unlimted amounts of Gummy Bears and toothpicks. They were allowed 3 questions for help from a teacher.
Once they had decided to stop building, they were asked to measure the height of the tree, count the toothpicks & bears used to record on their data page.
After the time limit was reached, winners were declared. The children learned a great deal and were shown an example start , a picture and several hints about the importance of a stable base.
Each child approached this problem differently which was interesting to watch. We were able to discuss flexibilty a great deal as many had to change their minds because their tree wouldn't stand up. There was ample opportunities for problem solving, giggling and quiet focus and reflection.