Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This week in River Class


 We hope you enjoy our music video of this week's activities in River Class!

Our latest Big Fish

S'math update

In Joan’s S’math group students have been playing a game (as pictured above and below) in which they help Mole, Frog, and Toad cross a pond by spinning a spinner and moving the character on whom the spinner lands. Students used three different spinners, playing a game with each one. Each spinner gives a different relative amount of space to the different characters. After we recorded and graphed the results we got with each spinner, we were able to determine that with some spinners certain characters were more likely to win and other characters were less likely. We talked about the term probability and whether an event is more likely or less likely. We found that on one spinner Mole had a high probability of winning (he occupied almost 3/4 of the spinner) and poor Toad had a very small probability of winning. We also talked about how as mathematicians we might be tempted to help one of the characters, but we needed to accurately report our results just as they happened.

This week Joan’s group will begin exploring camouflage and creating small creatures that will be camouflaged to blend in with the environment in the Children’s Garden. One group will do this activity until Spring Break. The second group will do this activity after Spring Break.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This week in River

Our latest Big Fish

Music Class

In music class River students learn about the clarinet.

Monday Mélange

Our Monday Mélange included Jamie, our Middle School art teacher. Here you see him showing the children how to draw birds.

Students are proud of their work!

We had a lot of fun learning from an expert.

Students picked out birds using an iPad.                       Their creations were fantastic!

S'math update

A River student tries to pull apart the magnets.

Tom has started an in depth study of magnets in S'math. During the past two weeks, students have been introduced to different types of magnets, discussed how each magnet has two poles and discovered that opposite poles attract, while like poles repel. Then students predicted which of 16 different objects would a magnet attract. Each group of 3 was given 3 ring magnets and a box with the 16 objects inside. They took turns testing each object and checking to see if their predictions were correct. At the end of each session, the students took turns trying to separate 2 nano magnets. To date nobody has successfully been able to do so. During the next few weeks, the students will test the holding power of magnets, explore the push and pull of magnets and finally in the last session will try to defy gravity by making an object float in air. It is an exciting time in S'math.

Tom works with a River student to try and separate the nano magnets.

Rainstick making - final group 

Exciting news! We all have rainsticks in River.

Our last group saws, hammers, and drills in order to create their instruments.

It's an exciting and rewarding activity.

Lisa, our fabulous parent volunteer, helps make this activity possible.

I wonder what's inside?

Latest news from Design and Engineering

Wind Power

March is the perfect month to begin our new Design and Engineering unit called, Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills. Students in River and Sky Classes were introduced to the idea of harnessing wind energy through the Engineering is Elementary storybook titled, Leif Catches the Wind.

The school-age characters in the story use wind energy to design a windmill that powers a propeller that adds air to an oxygen-deprived pond. This engineering project ultimately saves the fish in the pond. River and Sky students made pinwheels following the reading of the story as a fun way to launch this two-month long project.

In this unit, children will be discovering methods that engineers use to capture wind energy and discussing science concepts related to air and wind. They will be engaged in hands-on activities that focus on wind currents, mechanical engineering, and the engineering design process.

Middle School teacher, Tommy Johnson, just attended a wind energy professional development workshop at Appalachian State University. He shared his experience of designing a windmill.

River and Sky students will be making their own windmills. In the next few weeks, students will be testing propeller shapes, experimenting with blade angles, and trying out different blade sizes to see which one can best solve the design problem they’ve been given.

I invite you to visit the KidWind Project website with your child. There are videos, age-appropriate information, and pictures related to the study of wind.

Stay tuned for updates on our wind energy projects.

This week in Dance Class

Enjoy our latest Dance class! We danced to the themes of water and growing.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

River News

Our latest Big Fish

More rainsticks

Our Monday Mélange was rainstick making with the second group of children.
Rainstick making is taking place over the course of three weeks.

The second group of ten students made their rainsticks.

Children had fun using drills, saws, and hammers to create their instruments.

Experienced students kindly helped their peers.

One student steadies the stick while the other drills.

Our parent volunteer makes this all possible.

The finished result is a lot of fun!

Story with Dee

Dance with Annie

Annie begins dance class each week with a book (as above).

This week's theme is water, which is also our Lower School theme this year.

Dancers have fun making different shapes to the music.

Curvy shapes!

Balancing carefully and freezing shapes!

Annie uses a variety of percussion instruments during dance class.

Research time - boats

We continued our boat making during our research time this Friday. Dee introduced the activity by presenting the groups' boats that they had started to build. She reminded the students of their assignment - to make a boat that will float.

Groups of 5 worked together to finish up their designs.

The most important lesson is not the boat making. It's learning how to get along with other students.

Children were reminded to take turns and to share in the decision making.

Children waited patiently to take their turn.

River students shared their ideas with one another.

Dee brings in more supplies.

We ended our research time by testing all the boats on our creek. They ALL floated!!!  We came together to discuss the impact of the different designs. What might we have done differently?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

News from River Class

Our latest Big Fish

Making rainsticks in Monday Mélange

Children work with bamboo to create cool instruments.

They make funnels to add rice.

What a great percussion instrument!

Guessing game fun with Dee

Children take turns to guess what is behind the paper.

Dance with Annie

Annie reads some fun literature prior to Dance Class.

Math activities

Students have to guess what cube configuration is in their partner's train.
Students are given help figuring out strategies. The goal is to find the answer
using only a certain number of questions.

Students loved playing this fun yet challenging math game.

Students continue to work on computation in their workbooks.

First years have fun being introduced to DreamBox.

Don't forget to choose the activities in the yellow circles!

And remember to PAUSE, EXIT, EXIT when you're done.

Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering students make a pin wheel this week.

Friday Research

Cooperative groups were formed to collaborate on making music.

Students used their water words to write a group song verse, which they then performed.