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.
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.
This week we worked on finishing up our work with Polygons and Platonic Solids. The kids worked on finishing up some of their polygon centers. We then created our own hexahedron, a 3-D shape with 6 faces. It is a special type of polyhedron and is one of the 5 Platonic Solids. The kids recorded rules of a Platonic solid, their favorite polyhedron, what one of the polyhedrons reminded them of, the names of the 5 Platonic solids, and their own name on each of the 6 faces of their hexahedron. Below you will see a video of the kids with their hexahedrons. They did a terrific job making them.
At the end of the day, I had the kids put on their scientist caps and their observations skills to examine three different substances. They used pictures and words to record what they observed. This will lead us into the world of crystals and hopefully the kids will see how crystals connect to polygons, polyhedrons, and structures. Here are some images of the little scientists at work.
In 2nd grade we have been studying Biomimicry, the new science of looking to nature for ideas on how to solve problems and invent new things for our world. The kids chose an animal to research and thought about what they could learn from that animal that would allow them to create something new for our world. Enjoy some of the finished videos below.
Today in GT we got to use the posters and iPads on Biomimicry to make a movie. Mrs. Germadnik showed us a new app. In the morning we did an excellent puzzle that we had to use our GT brains to solve. I got to see my sister because she came to use the computers.
In 5th grade we went to a great site called Ology to explore the world of genetics. The kids are just starting to skim the surface of a complex science. After their exploration the students thought a bit about the idea of genetic engineering. Below you will see some of their thoughts on the subject with only a small bit of information. It will be interesting to see how their perspectives change as they dig deeper into the subject.
The 5th graders were able to choose between 3 assignment to reflect on their new learning.
Analytical: They had to argue for or against Genetic Engineering.
Practical: Discuss whether Genetic Engineering is helpful or harmful to the environment.
Creative: Choose a plant or animal and think about how you would change it genetically.
Our student bloggers for Tuesday decided to test out a new app (PowToon) in their Edmodo account to share the events of our day. Tuesday was the first day they heard of, saw, and played with this app, so I think they did a great job. I look forward to seeing all of the ways that these creative 5th graders use PowToon throughout the rest of the year.
Today, the fifth graders took a pre-test on cells to help prepare for our dive in to the world of genetics. After completing the pre-test, the kids were divided into 5 groups. Each group was responsible for finding the correct answer to 4 of the questions on the pre-test, using Kids Discover Cells. They used Google Docs to collaborate on their presentation. Google Docs allowed them to create the slides together, share comments and suggestions for ways to improve the presentation, and push their partners to do their best work. Each group presented their finished presentation to the class and helped us correct our pre-test. We all learned something new today. 🙂 Some of the kids are working to create a Powtoon on something new they have learned about cells, so be on the look out soon!
In first grade we are reading about a mouse named Abel that is stranded on a deserted island. We brainstormed some of the things we must have to stay alive. We then prioritized which was the most important to the least important. All of the first graders were able to agree that water was the most imperative. In talking about that the kids thought that it would be easy to find water, because everyone knows islands are surrounded by water. 🙂 This led to the question, “Is all water good for us?” Some kids thought yes, some knew that salt water wasn’t good for us, but weren’t sure why. We did an experiment and added potato slices to fresh and salt water. We checked the potatoes 30 minutes later and noticed some big differences between the two. This led to an introduction to osmosis and what salt water can do to the cells in our body. It was a great discussion. Check out what our Student Blogger has to say:
Today we tested potatoes in salt water and clear water. In clear water the potato was straight. In the salt water it was floppy. We learned the word osmosis and the word hypothesis. Hypothesis means something you guess.
By Abigail H.
Enjoy some of the conclusions the first graders made with their first experience with osmosis:
“Where it is salty the fry gets lumpy. Where it is fresh the fry gets strong.”
“When it is in salt water it is floppy. When it is in fresh water is cracks.”
“The salt water potato can bend without breaking. The other one snaps when it bends.”
Hello visitors. My name is Kaylee. Today, GT 2nd Grade is learning about biomimicry. What is biomimicry, you ask? Well, biomimcry is where you scrutinize animals to make an invention to make the world better. For example, people looked at butterfly wings to make paint and geckos for tape that feels not sticky, but is very sticky. I researched an orca for my invention. Did you know an orcas tooth is 3 inches long? Crazy, right?
In first grade we have been reading a wonderful book called Abel’s Island, which follows the adventures of a mouse called Abel as he attempts to make his way home after being marooned on an island. The first graders used materials available in the classroom to build a boat that might help Abel escape the island. Enjoy a video showing the kids as they create, complete and test out their boats.