2nd Grade: Biomimicry Thinglinks

The second graders have been hard at work creating Thinglinks to advertise their Biomimicry Invention.  They used a whole host of apps in their projects: Comic Book, ChatterKid, Educreations, PicCollage, and of course, Thinglink.  I love the individuality of each child’s work.  A few projects are not quite finished, but I went ahead and posted everyone’s.  As they add more to their project you will see the added tags show up on their Thinglink.

We have a Thinglinks inside of Thinglinks. 🙂 Click on the tag next to your child’s name and it will take you to their Thinglink.  Click on all of their various tags to learn about their invention and which animal inspired it.

The kids also started researching a famous bridge for our last project of the year.  I can hardly believe that we only have one class left!

Second Grade: Bridges and Biomimicry

In second grade we have been learning about biomimicry, a science that encourages inventors and engineers to look to nature to create solutions and inventions.  My students chose an animal to research.  They learned about their adaptations and considered how one of the adaptations could influence the design of a product that would positively impact our world.  Each student created an advertisement for their product.  They uploaded their image into Thinglink, an amazing app.  The kids used Chatterkids, PicCollage, Comic Book, Educreations, Video, etc. to share more about their product and the animal that influenced their invention.  Many are still working to finish, but here are 2 to give you a sneak peak.  The rest will be posted next week.

You need to hover over the images.  You will see dots pop up on the image.  You click on the various images to see all the work they have done.

By Kaylee
By Dasom (Still a Work in Progress)

We have also started our study of a structure that was initially influenced by nature…the bridge.  We are looking at the way humans developed the design of bridges over time, the forces that impact bridges, and the main types of bridges.

I started by giving the kids a challenge: Build a bridge, with one piece of paper, 5 paper clips, and scissors that is capable of handling a live load of 100 pennies.  Here is a video of the kids creating, redesigning, and testing.

We then discussed some of the forces that caused our paper bridges to fail or succeed.  The second graders learned about the main types of bridges and how to decide which one to build in any given situation.  The 2nd graders broke into 6 groups and each group built a different bridge.

On Monday we will look at the differences and which work better in which situations.  Each 2nd grader will also begin researching a famous bridge for their end of year structure project.

2nd Grade: Biomimicry and Design

Biomimicry is about looking to nature to be inspired to design, specifically to design something that can fix a problem that exists.  We have spent time investigating ways examples in our world.  We looked at how the burrs inspired Velcro, sharks led Speedo to develop faster swimwear for athletes, how the tiny hairs on the bottom of a gecko’s feet are inspiring stronger tape.  

After our investigations, it was time for the 2nd graders to become the engineers.  They chose an animal to research.  They took notes, paying special attention to their animal’s adaptations.  They then brainstormed 4 possible inventions based on 4 of the adaptations of their animal.  They chose 2 to develop further and finally chose one that they wanted to take all the way.  The 2nd graders had to design their product, explain how it uses biomimicry and helps improve an issue effecting people.  We learned about advertising and marketing so that the kids can create their own advertisement showcasing their product.  Below are some pictures of the planning stage of their product.  Next week they will think about how to create their finished project.

We are also starting an investigation of a man-made structure: The Bridge.  The kids took a pre-test to showcase what they currently know about bridges. Next week we will begin studying important language related to bridges, we will build bridges and learn about the various types of bridges.

2nd Grade: Biomimicry

The second graders were introduced to a new term two weeks ago, Biomimicry.  We looked carefully at the word and the kids noticed that the word mimic was in the Biomimicry.  We discussed that bios means life and the 2nd graders made some predictions as to what the term biomimicry stood for; “the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs [encouraging] scientists, engineers, architects and innovators of all ages who can use those models to create sustainable technologies.”  So essentially, looking to nature to find ways to invent, solve problems, and create.  We watched a video clip that showed some examples of Biomimicry in action.  One that really got my attention was fabric designed based on a leaf that repels liquids and stays dry.  With 3 kids and 2 dogs I would appreciate all of my fabric being treated in this manner.

Last week the kids read an article about how the bur, the shark, and the gecko inspired innovation.  The bur is what led us to Velcro.  Who knew that such a nasty seed to lead us to such a useful invention.  I love to tell of all the diapers I wasted in my babysitting years because they didn’t have Velcro tabs. The shark led Speedo to improve its design of the swimsuit for Olympians.  Every millisecond counts! The small hairs on the bottom of a geckos feet, called setae, led to the creation of some very strong glue.

This week we continued our study of biomimicry by looking closely at the adaptations of a giraffe.  We found that a giraffe has a heart that is 2.5 times bigger than you would expect, which allows a giraffe to stand without fainting.  The skin around the legs and the neck of a giraffe is extremely tight, much like a G-Suit, to allow the blood to move around the body more efficiently.  This research led into a discussion of some possible inventions based on the giraffe’s adaptations.

Next week the second graders will choose an animal to research and the students will brainstorm inventions based on what they learned about their animal.  You might start talking about a plant or animal, their adaptations, and how this can lead to a new invention or fix to a current problem.

TESSELLATIONS: Many weeks ago, after studying polygons in nature the 2nd graders learned what it means to tessellate and had a chance to create their own tessellations.  Here are a few of the finished pieces.

Photo Feb 14, 3 06 17 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 06 45 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 10 52 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 12 16 PM

2nd Grade: Punished with Puns

In second grade we are reading a book called Punished by David Lubar.  It is a fun novel about a boy that is punished for some mischief he got into in the library. Logan’s punishment includes not being able to say more that 4 words in a series without using a pun.  As you can imagine it is wrecking havoc in his life, while bringing a lot of laughs to the readers.  This week to help the 2nd graders understand what a pun is and how they can be used, the kids participated in a Pun QR Hunt.  There was a lot of giggling as they scanned each of the QR codes.  Next week the kids are going to try their hand at creating their own puns, should be fun!

Photo Jan 27, 1 35 10 PM Photo Jan 27, 1 35 27 PM Photo Jan 27, 1 35 44 PM Photo Jan 27, 1 35 59 PM

2nd Grade: Tessellations

The last several weeks we have learned about polygons, polyhedrons, their connection to crystals, and then into their influence in the structure of the bee hive.  In looking at the bee hive the kids learned a new term: Tessellate.  We looked at examples in the world.  We explored the difference between regular, semi-regular, and demi-regular tessellations.  The kids were introduced to M.C. Escher and his incredible tessellations.

We first looked carefully at the rules and patterns related to tessellations.  The 2nd graders pulled out the pattern blocks and tried their hand at creating both regular and semi-regular tessellations. Here are some images of the kids in action.

Photo Jan 06, 2 30 16 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 32 15 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 26 48 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 28 48 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 27 11 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 27 22 PM Photo Jan 06, 2 27 37 PM

After exploring the regular, semi-regular tessellations and the demi-regular tessellations by MC Escher the kids and I decided we wanted to try our hand at creating a more complex tessellation, like Escher.  We used a note card, some scissors, and tape to create our complex shape and then set out to cover the plane of our paper with our new shape.  They are not quite done, but they are going to be awesome when they are finished.  Here are some picture so them working.

Photo Jan 13, 1 55 27 PM Photo Jan 13, 1 36 15 PM Photo Jan 13, 1 36 51 PM Photo Jan 13, 1 55 07 PM


We have also started a new novel, Punished.  It is a great book and will introduce the kids to some fun new words.  As I am reading, the kids are doodling what they are visualizing.  Here are some of their doodles.

Photo Jan 06, 4 11 12 PM Photo Jan 06, 4 09 34 PM Photo Jan 06, 4 09 57 PM Photo Jan 06, 4 10 15 PM

2nd Grade: Snowflake Crystals

In 2nd grade we had a chance to observe our finished borax crystals.  The second graders recorded their observations after looking at their crystals with their jewler’s loupes. They were pretty impressed at the changes.

After exploring their crystals, the children used an app called Haiku Deck to write a haiku about snowflakes.  We started by brainstorming verbs, nouns, and adjectives related to snowflake crystals.  The kids then learned that a haiku is made of 17 syllables, with a 5-7-5 pattern.  Here are their finished projects.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

2nd Grade: Crystal Fun

Last week we took jumped into the world of crystals.  We looked at the structure of crystals and the kids observed that you can find many polygons in crystals.  The children used the SmartBoard to trace the various polygons they noted in each crystal.  Here are some pictures of them in action.  We watched a Brainpop on crystals and recorded important vocabulary (like crystal lattice), details, and the big idea.

Polygons and Crystals on PhotoPeach

This week we looked at the snowflake as a crystal.  The kids discussed that snowflakes are made from ice, which is frozen water.  I asked if they had heard people refer to water as H2O before and asked what they thought it meant.  The kids learned that every water molecule is made up of 2 hydrogen and an oxygen.  Each second grader made their own water molecule.  We discussed the fact that water molecules all have the same structure, so ours must too.  The kids learned that when water is in its liquid form the water molecules are all kind of bouncing off of each other, but when water freezes the molecule bond in a more stable structure.  We bonded our molecules together and the kids realized that they build hexagons when they connect, which is why all snowflakes are six sided.

Next the kids had the opportunity to try their hand at making a crystal using Borax, hot water, and pipe cleaners.  While making snow crystals would have been fun, not very practical if we want them to last. 🙂  I didn’t get any images.  I should have chosen a student photographer as I was busy helping with the experiment ;).

This afternoon, the All Stars were performing.  I gave the kids the option of going to see the All Stars or staying with me for an Hour of Code.  We learned a little about how computers talk and how we can learn the language and get computers to do what we want them to do. We didn’t have a lot of time with our study on snowflakes and growing crystals, but the kids had fun and got a chance at playing with code.  Here are some examples:

Lillian and Sophia used Scratch to begin making a holiday greeting.  They are not done, yet.

Some of the other kids chose to use an app called Hopscotch.  They did a great job playing and trying things out.  They helped each other solve problems, it was neat to see.  Here is a little video of the kids in action. Both Scratch (computer) and Hopscotch (iPad) are great tools for teaching coding to kids.  I hope you will play with both tools at home and share what you learn and create!

1st-2nd Grade: Parent Meeting

It was such a pleasure to see the many parents that were able to brave the cold and come to the parent meeting.  I know that it is not easy to work around work and other responsibilities, so I appreciate it.  I love getting the chance to visit with the parents of my amazing students.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, I am posting the presentation below. Please feel free to email or comment with any questions or concerns.

Thanks again for entrusting me with your sweet children.

The Most Important Questions

In fifth grade we read a story called The Three Questions.  The main character, Nikolai is on a quest to find answers to his three most important questions:

When is the most important time?

Who is the most important one?

What is the right thing to do?

After the Thanksgiving break we are going to be thinking about the power of questions.  I would love it if you would take a moment to post to the Padlet below the three questions you think the most important.  I hope you will share this post with other friends and family members.  The ideas posted will help us jump start our lesson on questions.  I welcome the kids to share their ideas too, from the youngest to the oldest.  🙂