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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Field Day Fun!


Field Day was fun for everyone! Activities including face painting, tattoos, a scavenger hunt, sidewalk chalk, a balloon launch, bubbles, hula hooping, timed activities, and more.


We want to say a big THANK YOU! to all of our wonderful volunteers. We couldn't have done it without you. 


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Field Day Coming Soon - Volunteers Needed


Field Day takes place next Friday, September 1st from 10:30 to noon. We would love volunteers to help with face painting, the balloon launch, refreshments, and more.  


Our First Full Day!


Today, our first full school day, we've been focusing on snails. Children have worked on completing their paper snails for our River Class bulletin board. Come check it out!


Kathy, our resource teacher, read The Biggest House in the World by Leo Leonni.