1st Grade: SCAMPER

In first grade we have been learning about a great tool called, S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  This is a tool used by inventors and innovators around the world.  The first graders are learning that any one is capable of being both an innovator and an inventor.  





P-Put to Another Use



Each day we have looked at a different everyday item, spun our SCAMPER wheel and then made a change to that item.  We have SCAMPERed bikes, rulers, and kites.  I love seeing the kids’ creativity and ideas expand.

1st Grade: Animal Mash-Up

After studying animals native to Australia, the kids researched two animals and then created a new animal that mixed traits from their original two.  The kids created Thinglinks to share facts about their original animals and their invented animal.  Not all the kids were able to finish, but enjoy what we did accomplish. 

1st Grade: Multiplication

This week in first grade the kids got to explore the world of multiplication, and boy were they excited.  The concept of multiplication seems so mysterious and exciting to kids…especially when they think they are learning it years early. 

Concepts Explored:

  • Connection between multiplication and addition.
  • Grouping…equally.
  • Arrays versus Grouping
  • Commutative Property
  • Skip Counting helps you know your multiplication facts
  • We looked at the multiplying by 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10.
  • We also looked at a fun trick to learn the 9’s. 

1st Grade: Inventions

A few weeks ago the kids and I wondered what it meant to be an inventor.  We started by learning about a great inventor from history, Thomas Edison.  After learning what it takes to invent…being creative, showing perseverance and learning from our failures.

The first graders tried their hand at inventing.  They were each given a noun and a verb and had to force fit them to create an invention.  You can learn about their inventions below.

1st Grade: What are Pentominoes?

Wonder of the Week:

What are Pentominoes?

It was time to bring in a math wonder with the first graders.  I started by placing some pentominoes under the document camera to build curiosity. The kids noticed that each shape was made of 5 equal squares and that the squares were attached on the edges.  The kids learned two new vocabulary words related to these shapes: polyominoes and pentominoes.  

After learning the math behind the pentominoes, the kids were tasked with the job of building rectangles using the pentominoes.  The kids had to record their different solutions.  They had a terrific time, despite the challenge.


1st Grade: What are Owl Pellets?

Wonder of the Week:

What are Owl Pellets?

Two Mondays ago I had the great pleasure of discovering owl pellets with my first graders. One of the best part of my jobs is the learning curve.  I am always discovering new things right along side my students.  I had not given owl pellets much thought, but thought they would be a fun way to get the kids wondering about animals in a deeper, more complex way.

I started by placing an owl pellet on each table.  The kids put on their scientist hat and thought about what they noticed about the pellet.  They considered the texture, size, weight, etc. as they considered what the object might be.  The students recorded their observations and predicted what it might by.  A couple of the kindergarteners guessed that our object was an owl pellet, but no one knew where the pellet came from.  We watched a video of a baby owl spitting out an owl pellet.  As you can imagine the kids were excited and disgusted at the same time.

After talking about what an owl pellet is and why an owl needs to spit it up, it was time to start dissecting the pellet.  The first graders loved finding various animal bones and using them to predict what the owl ate.  I loved it too.  I was just as excited by every new bone as the kids were.

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1st Grade: What Does It Mean to SCAMPER?

Wonder of the Week:

What does it mean to S.C.A.M.P.E.R.?

Last week the first graders were asked the question above.  Many of the students predicted that it meant to move fast, especially when talking about animals.  I was impressed that so many had a working knowledge of the word scamper.

I showed them that this S.C.A.M.P.E.R. looked a little different.  We discussed acronyms and brainstormed a few, like USA. 

The kids learned that S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a great way to get us thinking divergently.  We went through the each letter of the acronym while reinventing a kite.  The kids then took their new knowledge to SCAMPER a snowman.  You can enjoy their work below.


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1st Grade: How Do You Talk to Computers?

Wonder of the Week: How do you talk to computers?

Word of the Week: Coding

As the first graders entered the room they each received a card that had a message on it.  Each message said HELLO, but in another language.  The first graders were abuzz trying to figure out what each of their cards meant.  After all the kids entered and found their spot I greeted them in Spanish, a language we are familiar with in San Antonio.  The kids then realized that they each had the word Hello on their cards.  They were surprised to find out that there are even more than 16 languages in the world. 🙂

Next I asked the kids how they thought computers, iPads, smart phones understood what we wanted them to do.  It was fun listening to their responses.  We watched a video from Code.org and discovered that computers speak special languages and that we need to learn those languages in order to get computers to do what we want them to do.

We wrote our first program involving our classmates.  The kids had to write a code that would cause their friend to walk in a square.  It was fun to see what would happen if your code wasn’t specific enough.  The kids then applied what they learned by creating a square in Hopscotch.  When they conquered that challenge, they moved on to make multiple squares, or to even make the first letter in their name.  It was fun to see all of my coders in action.

1st Grade: What Makes Popcorn Pop?

Wonder of the Week: What Makes Popcorn Pop?

Word of the Week: Vaporization

Last week the first graders wondered why popcorn pops.  Most of the kids agreed that heat was involved and that popcorn machines were helpful. 🙂 

The first thing the kids did was to observe a kernel and a piece of popcorn using magnifying glasses.  The children shared some of the things they noticed.  You can enjoy a few of their observations in the video below.

After studying the the kernel and the piece of popcorn, we looked at the anatomy of the kernel.  The kids drew and labeled the parts of a kernel.  During this discussion, the kids learned that there is water in each kernel.  We did an experiment involving a balloon to help the kids see what happens when water is heated.  We watched a slow motion video of the kernel popping and the kids connected the balloon experiment to popcorn popping.  The video below shows the experiment and a few of the first graders observations.

After the experiment, the children drew the process of a popcorn kernel popping and becoming popcorn.  They used Adobe Voice to record what happens to a kernel as it becomes popcorn.  Enjoy their work below.

1st Grade: Wonder-Chameleons

I am so glad to finally start class with my amazing first graders.  We have a great group and I know that we will all learn a lot from each other.

This year we are going to focus on developing our curiosity, to engage in wonder.  Each week we will focus on a new wonder.  I look forward to seeing where our wonders will take us.

On our first day, the kids each brought in something to share that they wonder about.  It was a great way to jump start our zest for questions.  Below you will see some of the things the first graders are wondering about.  I can’t wait to see how their initial list compares to their list at the end of the year.

Our first wonder to us into the world of lizards, specifically the chameleon.  We wanted to discover why a chameleon changes color.  Most of the kids predicted that they changed color to blend in with their surroundings, for protection.  We discovered that chameleons are actually quite fast and can generally run away from predators.  Chameleons actually change colors to help regulate their temperature and to communicate how they are feeling.

The first graders went through a Nearpod to learn the reasons that a chameleon changes color, but also how they change colors.  They learned some cool new words: Chromatophore, contract, and expand.  Here they are researching.

We used colored poly-folders to see how pigments can layer and change colors.  Here is Brandon sharing something he observed.  We learned that a chameleon will become darker when cold to absorb more heat and warm up, or turn lighter when they are too hot and want to cool down.

We had about 5 minutes at the end of the day, so we had to add a quick tech piece.  The kids that were done with their work used Chatterkid on the iPad.  They took a picture of their chameleon and made it talk using the Chatterkid app. Click on the play buttons to hear some examples.