Monday, November 13, 2017

Our First Birthday Party


River Class students enjoy 3 birthday celebrations per year. These celebrations usually honor 10 students at a time. This way, every child in River Class gets to be celebrated. At our first birthday celebration children enjoyed fun, food, and extra outside time. We greatly appreciate our celebrants' parents for making this party possible!
(Photography by Katy Fodchuk)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Festivities


Halloween celebrations took place yesterday in Lower School and River Class. The children began the holiday fun in the morning with a hayride, which passed by Upper School and a field where horses greeted us. We enjoyed a fun spin around the soccer field!

At lunchtime, children changed into costumes and had a fun dressed-up recess. The bell rang and the parade began at 1 pm. Children, parents, and teachers paraded through Middle School followed by Upper School. They were greeted by an eager audience.

River students came back to the classroom and were read to by parent volunteers while the teachers prepared for the Halloween play, Are you my Father?/Eres tu mi papa?  Following the fun play, the children returned to the classroom for a Halloween party. 

We would like to say a big "Thank you!" to all our wonderful parent volunteers for making this day possible. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Probability - Hop to the Pond



S'math is a combination of science and math. Our most recent S'math activity was Hop to the Pond, a game designed to get children thinking about probability. We played two versions of the game. In Hop to the Pond with 6 Frogs, we used a game board with space for 6 frogs, which are numbered 1 through 6. Students working in pairs took turns rolling a die. Whatever number came up, that frog moved a space. When a frog moved 8 spaces, it reached the pond and got to hop in. Then all the frogs went back to the beginning for another game. As a frog won, students reported it by adding an X above the frog’s number on a graph we created on the whiteboard.

Students then played the game using 12 frogs and 2 dice. At the end of both sessions, the children were able to see the difference in the two bar graphs, which were created from the children's results. It was visually evident that the graph of the first game with 6 frogs was more even than the second graph. We ended our lesson on probability with the children answering questions and analyzing their results.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Straw Design Challenge


River students had fun tackling another design and engineering challenge using 20 straws and 2 feet of tape. The challenge was to make an aesthetically-pleasing, free-standing structure. We discussed the different stages of the design process: ASK, IMAGINE, PLAN, CREATE, IMPROVE. We also talked about working within certain constraints. This included time, materials, and the type of structure they were expected to build.

Children worked in teams of three and were encouraged to cooperate, learn from other groups, learn from each other, and take turns in implementing their ideas. The design took place over two sessions, each ending with the children sharing information first about their design plans and subsequently about their creations.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Building and Planting


Design and engineering students have fun navigating the Marshmallow Challenge, created by Peter Skillman. The challenge was to make a free-standing tower which would support one large marshmallow, using a limited supply of spaghetti, tape, and mini marshmallows. Initially, students worked in teams to brainstorm, plan, design, create, and modify their structures. Students then tried the challenge individually.  We base our design thinking process on the Engineering is Elementary model developed by the Museum of Science, Boston. 

We also had fun planting lettuce in groups. First, we raked and pulled out any weeds. Then we dug holes and carefully planted our seedlings. We then watered our garden square. We're looking forward to having a salad bar in a few weeks' time.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Owl Pellet Study


Studying and dissecting owl pellets is a perfect way to understand the nature of food chains and to demonstrate the role of predators in the ecosystem. River Class students had first-hand experience of the use of dissection tools and techniques and were introduced to a bone chart as a means of identification. We were very excited to use our brand-new stereomicroscopes (bought with River parents' donations last year). These powerful instruments gave the children an opportunity to see their findings in great detail.

Monday, September 18, 2017

All About Snails

Snails in their habitats.
The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

River Class students have been having fun learning all about snails. River teachers read both non-fiction and fiction books to teach the children snail facts and to show them visuals to help them with their artwork. Students created both snail habitats and snails.

River students are learning how to do research by using books, Pebblego.com, and practicing quiet observation.

Snail-Snaily-Snails by Bonnie Bader
We also observed our tiny living snails using a document camera.