This week, the 3rd graders practiced introducing their Genius Hour video about Coral Reefs and the accompanying Scratch video game they created so they can present it to their homeroom classes.
The 3rd graders want to save the coral reefs, and learned from their Skype with a science reporter that buying sustainable seafood can help. They researched which grocery stores in our area sell sustainable seafood (seafood caught or raised responsibly), and found that Greenpeace has given the following scores to our local stores. Then they input the data into a Google Sheet and created a chart. This will be used in their Genius Hour presentation.
With their Genius Hour research completed, the 3rd graders have begun working on their presentation with the hope of persuading more kids to help save the coral reefs. They decided to make a video game using Scratch programming that will teach kids facts about the coral reef and the things that damage it. So far, the game has been a great collaborative effort from the students, and they are branching out this week to add some more details from home.
The 5th graders, like 3rd and 4th, also work on Genius Hour projects. However, in 5th grade the students take their passions a bit further by researching things that “break their hearts.” For one group, this is the football injuries that could be avoided by using safer equipment. For another, this is the rise in school violence. This week, the students and I brainstormed some people they could talk to that might benefit from their research. We are trying to find authentic audiences so that these projects don’t just become one more assignment to get through before they can move on.
We also continued to have some very meaningful conversations about Courage, did some Hands-On-Equations, and a few of the students got to try out programming with Python on our Raspberry Pi.
The 4th graders have been working on research for their Genius Hour projects, and many of them are at the stage where they can now plan how they want to present what they have learned. When they get to this phase of the process, the students must determine their intended audience(s) and mode of presenting. They are also required to include an interactive portion, which could be a game reviewing information or any other activity which involves the audience.
Many students like to present using slides, as this is a tool most of them have used many times. So, we went over the World’s Worst Slide Presentation to discuss some of the things a good presenter does NOT include in a slide show 😉
We also discussed some more Courage scenarios this week, as well as attempted to create Thinglinks of their hexagonal learning about Tuck Everlasting. (We’re still working on the latter due to some technical difficulties!)
This week, the 3rd grade GT students started to learn how to design 3d objects using an online program called Tinkercad. The students spent most of their time exploring the different tools and doing a couple of tutorials. Our goal is to have the students begin designing different types of coral to print out, and possibly inventions that might help the coral reef by the end of this year.
The 3rd graders also got introduced to word problems where they need to apply what they have learned about algebra so far. They caught on very quickly, so they actually flew through Lessons 1 & 2!
The 3rd graders chose to study the health of the coral reefs for their Genius Hour project this year. As part of their research, they spoke to Erik Vance, a reporter who has written stories about the impact of mankind on the animals who live in the ocean. We connected with Erik through the Pulitzer Center, one of the many resources on the Skype in the Classroom site. (The Pulitzer Center, by the way, has a wonderful educational outreach program that includes a fabulous Lesson Builder tool.)
From Mr. Vance the students learned about some practical ways that we can help to keep the oceans healthy. He taught them about “sustainable fishing,” and that one easy way we can promote this is to ask waiters for sustainable fish in restaurants. Mr. Vance also told the students about a creative project an artist has done in Cancun – placing sculptures underwater. The sculptures attract sea creatures who add to his artistic masterpieces, enticing tourists to swim in this area rather than in regions where amateur divers might cause damage to fragile ecosystems.
We really appreciate Mr. Vance’s time and expertise! Thanks to him and Fareed Mostoufi at the Pulitzer Center for making our Skype visit possible!
Since the 3rd graders chose the Great Barrier Reef for their Genius Hour project, it seems like I am constantly finding it in the news! There is lots of information about the Reef on the web, and we found a fabulous interactive simulation that really helped the students to see how different activities of humans impact a diverse group of animals directly and indirectly.
The 3rd graders also learned about to set up Algebra problems that include subtraction in the original equation, and “profiled” some of the characters in Fish in a Tree this week.
The 3rd graders were excited to have another student enter their class this week. This brings the total number to 4 in 3rd grade, which is double the number we started with at the beginning of the year!
Our new student caught on quickly to our introduction to algebra, Hands-On-Equations. The students learned a new “legal move” this week, and Daniel had no trouble picking up on the previous lessons.
The students took on the role of “Illustrator” as they continued to read and discuss Fish in a Tree, and took notes on some short videos we watched about the Great Barrier Reef for our Genius Hour research.
The 4th graders used various building materials to represent spooky scenes today. They also analyzed Tuck Everlasting as “Literary Luminaries,” finding quotes to best represent the characters, conflict, and setting. The class split up for some problem solving so the new students could learn the first level of Hands-On-Equations, while the “old-timers” worked on some tricky exemplar problems. Then, the students worked on selecting Genius Hour topics and writing their research questions. During all of this, Dylan, our current photographer, snapped some shots!