2nd Grade: Snowflakes and Coding

In 2nd grade we have been working on polygons and how they connect to structures.  To help see the connection the kids explored various crystals, starting with salt, sugar, and baking soda.  They made observations about the polygons that they saw and patterns in the structure of the crystals.

We watched a Brainpop on Snowflake crystals to see the structure and how a crystal lattice is formed.  Each 2nd grader was given two hydrogens and one oxygen to build a water molecule.  We placed the water molecules together to build our own crystal lattice.

This week was also the Hour of Code, the second graders attempted to go through the Frozen tutorial on Code.org, but I am sure that every other kid in the world was attempting to use the same tutorial.  Gotta love Frozen. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but had my 2nd graders attempt to make a snowflake using Hopscotch…ON THEIR OWN.  They surprised me, of course.  Kids are amazingly uninhibited and completely willing to JUST try.

As the second graders worked on their coding, I pulled groups over to create crystal snowflakes using Borax.  It was fun seeing actual crystals growing after reading and studying about them.

2nd Grade: Polygon Fun

After studying polygons, the second graders had to create an image using one of their favorite polygons in Google Slides.  They also had to list some of the rules that make a polygon a polygon and create a haiku about their polygon.  I was quite impressed with their creations.  We definitely need to work on understanding how to convey the Big Idea within the 17 syllables of a Haiku, but I think it was a good first start.

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2nd Grade: Polygons & Squares

We just can’t seem to let squares go.  There is so much fun to be had looking at all things square.  This week the kids learned about square numbers and square roots.  I started by giving the kids some multiplication problems to solve: 0 x 0, 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3, and 4 x 4.  The kids drew an image to represent the problem and recorded the answers.  We then used square tiles to think about how we could build different size squares.  We started with one tile and the kids agreed with had a square.  They used the rules they had learned about squares to support their thinking.  We then tested out whether 2 square tiles could be one square.  The 2nd graders explained it wasn’t possible 2 tiles made a rectangle, which is not a square.  We tested 3 tiles with no luck.  When we tried 4 tiles the kids discovered they could make a 2 by 2 tile square.  We continued to test numbers out.  The kids started to accurately predict which number would next build a square.  I then handed out graph paper and let the kids create various squares.  As they made the squares, the kids started to see a pattern develop that connected to our earlier math problems.  At this time I introduced them to the term “squared”.  The kids practiced squaring numbers using their graph paper.  Next we played with square roots and looked at the connections to square numbers.

Photo Nov 10, 2 46 48 PMThe kids also started Polygon centers.  The 2nd graders will rotate through 4 stations to become more familiar with polygons, their rules and patterns.

Polygon Centers:

Polygon Riddle by Jovanah and Alena

Polygons: How do we know? by Emily, Aubrey and Sophie

2nd Grade: Polygons

This week the 2nd graders had a chance to show off all that they have learned about squares and tangrams, through their assessment.  I loved seeing the excited to show off their learning.  Here are a few examples of their work.

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It has been fun to focus on squares and the 7 Tans that make up a square, but it is time to learn that these shapes belong to a bigger category, POLYGONS.  This week we watched a Brain Pop to learn details, language of the discipline, and rules related to Polygons.  The kids took notes and next week will work on various Polygon stations to help cement their learning.  The understanding of polygons will take us further into our study of structures.

In 2nd grade we also worked on X-Tiles, using clues to discover the unknown number.  X-Tiles is a fun way to work on our Convergent Thinking skills.

2nd Grade: Tangram Stories

Last week the 2nd graders created pictures using the Tangrams they had made in our study of the square..  This week the  kids created Force Fitting Noun stories based on the Tangrams they created.  I pulled names and put the kids together in pairs.  They had to create a story that encompassed both of their Tangram characters.  Once they created their story, they each took a picture of their Tangram and put them into PicCollage.  They saved their PicCollage and imported it into Fotobabble where they recorded their story.  I hope you enjoy their work as much as I did.  We need to continue to work on voice level and expression, but the kids had some clever story ideas.

We have had a great time learning some geometric terms through squares and Tangrams.  Next week the kids will be taking a Post-Test to show off all they have learned.  We used Educreations to review the vocabulary on Monday.  I would call out a word and the kids had to draw an example on their iPad.  We would then flash our answers and discuss the responses.  It was a fun way for the kids to practice the vocab, but it also allowed me to see which kids really knew their stuff and which were still a little tentative.  I was able to work with the kids that were less confident in a small group while the other kids worked on other geometry related activities.  Here are a couple of examples.

2nd Grade: Tangrams

The second graders and I have had a blast studying the square.  Who knew how far and wide you could go learning about the square: geometry, square numbers, square roots, magic squares, perfect squares, idioms (Don’t be a square.), etc.  I think we could spend a whole year exploring the many facets of the square…but I guess it is time to start branching out a bit.

Two weeks ago we took a square and we divided it up into 7 other shapes: 2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. As we divided up the square we discussed the following terms:

congruent       similar              right angle            90 degrees      

square            perpendicular    right triangle        quadrilateral

quad                lateral               trapezoid              parallel

This week we found out that the special shapes we cut out of our square have a name, Tangrams.  We read some of the history about Tangrams and the kids recorded the rules associated with Tans.

Next we read Grandfather Tang’s Story and the kids used their Tangrams to create the different characters in the story.  After reading half of the story, I had the kids create a noun using their pieces.  They glued them onto a sheet of paper and used crayons to add details and bring their Tangrams to life.  When they finished I paired the kids up and they had to a Force Fitting Noun story.  They are creating a story that incorporates both their Tangram nouns.  We have Charlie Brown interacting with a tiger and a magical butterfly working with a temple.  I look forward to the stories the kids create.

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2nd Grade: Spectacular Squares

This week we spent time really investigating the square.  We went beyond the typical understanding that it has 4 equal sides.  

The kids started by sharing what they already know about squares and we listed their ideas on the board.  The understanding was fairly basic, it is a shape with 4 sides and those sides are equal.

I then gave each student a square piece of paper and we looked at how we could split our square into 7 additional shapes, building our own set of Tangrams.  The students had to watch and listen carefully as we folded our paper to create a square, 2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangle, a smaller square, and a parallelogram. 


right triangles, congruent, perpendicular, quadrilateral, parallelogram, trapezoid, rhombus, right angles, 90 degrees, and diagonal

Photo Sep 29, 2 34 20 PMAfter folding and labeling our square with our new vocabulary words, we did it one more time, but this time we actually cut the pieces apart.  The kids loved to see how a square could be transformed.  They had fun putting their pieced together to rebuild the square and then to deconstruct the square.  Next week we will play with their new Tangram pieces.

Next the kids were given a logic puzzle: How Many Squares Do You See?  This was actually the second time they had seen the puzzle.  We put on our BLUE THINKING HATS so that we could think about our thinking, make a plan.  The kids then counted the squares and shared how many they found.  We had anything from 16 to 32 squares found.  We discussed whether we should have different answers.  Most of the kids agreed that we shouldn’t since we all had the same paper. 🙂 This week we looked at them again.  I told the kids that there were more than 32 squares and challenged them to find more than they found last week.  Everyone found more then their first time, and some even found the full 40 squares.

Photo Oct 03, 10 50 31 AMAt the end of the day the 2nd graders shared some rules to being square and a new word that they learned.

Photo Oct 03, 10 52 59 AMBe on the look out for more fun with squares next week.

2nd Grade: First Day Fun!

A long overdue post about my super second graders!  This group of kids are amazing.  I know that we have a wonderful year in front of us.  They have come curious and ready to learn the last two weeks.  I am thrilled to be done with testing so that I can have the pleasure of actually working with kids!

Our first week, the second graders each had a chance to share their homework.  I loved the creative ideas shared…and only wish we could make some of their modifications to the human head reality.  Enjoy the video below to here their presentations.

In addition to sharing presentations our first week, the kids set up their GT notebooks and folders.  We brainstormed what a GT classroom would look and sound like on the first page of their notebooks.

Photo Oct 03, 9 59 58 AM

The second graders also took a pre-test to share what comes to mind when they think of the word STRUCTURES, as that will be our main focus throughout the year. We will learn about natural and man-made structures, as well as some engineering concepts.

Photo Oct 03, 10 14 52 AM

Closing out 2nd Grade

It has been great fun seeing my previous K-2 GT students as I test them for the 3-5 program.  It is wonderful to witness their strong work ethic in action.  As I have been seeing them in action it reminded me that I never shared one of the very last activities we did together.  I pulled my second graders the last week of school to do one last project…create a bridge using pastels and inspiration from Monet.  This went a long with an I Am poem the kids created.  They researched a bridge of their choice and using that information, wrote a poem.  Below you will see a slide show of the kids art and poetry.  Enjoy!