The 5th graders worked on Growth Mindset, Systems Thinking, and Design Thinking this week. To practice Growth Mindset and Systems Thinking, they did a challenging puzzle on the interactive white board called, “Blocky Christmas.” As they reached higher levels, the students encountered more obstacles and really had to persevere. They also had to think about what mistakes they were consistently making so they could break out of frustrating cycles of incorrect answers. In a different activity, “Holiday Hink Pinks,” the students again applied these skills to help them solve the riddles.
In addition, the 5th graders also worked on Design Thinking with the Bloxels kits. We hit many obstacles because the app has been updated and only part of it will work with our district filters. But we powered through and got the beginnings of some games completed.
Last year, I backed a project on Kickstarter called, “Hackaball.” The toy is designed to be a programmable ball – similar to Sphero, but it can be thrown and bounced. I finally received it two days ago, and decided to see what the 5th graders could do with the programming.
Hackaball is programmed with an app by the same name. The programming is similar to block programming, and it is pretty basic at the moment. The problem we ran into was that the ball does not seem to respond to certain actions differently – such as being thrown or dropped – so that was frustrating for all of us. The students got to see, firsthand, how some products are a great idea but need numerous tests and refinements to work correctly!
5th grade also worked on “profiling” Jonas in The Giver, making excellent comments about the changes he has gone through during the story.
The 5th graders have been working on a new site called CoSpaces to build virtual 3d scenes of their favorite memories. This goes along with our reading of The Giver, in which the main character learns he lives in a dystopian world when he receives memories of the past. The students also used multiple perspectives this week to consider what the characters in the story might be thankful for.
The students are working hard on their Genius Hour projects which include: how to prevent school shootings, how copyright affects creativity, the need for safer equipment in football, and the consequences of oil pollution.
They also had a little time to work on some challenging math perplexers that test their understanding of radius and diameter.
A favorite memory of camping
The 5th graders spent a good portion of GT time this week on deciding whether or not community service should be a high school graduation requirement. We read about the required volunteer hours in The Giver, and thought this would be a good real-world topic to discuss. With the help of the Drafting Board tool from iCivics.org, the students are creating persuasive essays about their feelings on the topic. They have read many different perspectives, and are now using evidence to make their points. The feelings are definitely mixed on this topic in our classroom!
As we have been reading The Giver, the main character has been apprehensive about an upcoming event. In this dystopian society, there is little freedom but also little to fear. The 5th graders brainstormed some of their fears and with the help of the green screen and a couple of iPad apps, used the famous artwork, “The Scream,” to express what scares them.
The students also started brainstorming their Genius Hour project ideas this week, and will work on coming up with their research questions next week.