5th Grade Works on Growth Mindset

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.

Kinder Explores Detective Thinking

As they continued to work more on “Detective” Thinking, the Kinder GT students did several logic puzzles this week.  They also started doing some puzzles using Venn Diagrams.  In addition, I introduced them to some different games they will be starting to do in centers, which will help them to develop their Detective Thinking: Sudoku Jr., Zoo Logic, and Camelot Jr.  They are working on metacognition – thinking about their thinking – by trying to figure out which type of thinking, Inventor or Detective, is best for different situations.

2nd Grade Does Research for Great Bridge Challenge

We reviewed the materials and forces that can effect the strength of a structure, which the students researched last week.  Today, they were presented with a challenge – to create a bridge using nothing but 20 straws and some masking tape.  The bridge needs to span 25 centimeters between and we will see whose bridge will hold the most pennies.  The students had to research what type of bridge they plan to build and sketch it today.  They will make their attempts next week.  Two groups decided that arch bridges would be the best.  One group is going to do a suspension bridge, and one is doing a beam bridge.  The students also watched a video from Kid President about being inventive – and being prepared to fail sometimes.

After planning out the bridges and doing some bridge “challenges” on the interactive board, the students did centers.  They are now keeping track of their centers using the iPads and Google Spreadsheets.  They can choose their centers, but cannot repeat a center.  No more than 3 students can be at a center.  There was some great synergy going on at the Chocolate Fix and Math Logic centers!  And I posted a few pictures below of some Valentine S.C.A.M.P.E.R. projects where the students had to “Put it to Another Use” with a heart shape.

1st Grade Learns About Chinese New Year

The 1st graders are researching countries, and one of the countries a group chose to learn more about is China.  Since today happens to be the Chinese New Year, we spent our GT hour learning about this celebration and some of the associated traditions.  The students also got to work on a special augmented reality sheet for the Year of the Horse, and played with tangram puzzles (invented by the Chinese).

Earlier this week, the students refined their knowledge about the 7 continents by watching a BrainPop video and doing the quiz that followed.  They learned about the relative sizes of the continents.  I then asked them to guess how the populations of their countries were related to each other.  They lined up based on how big they predicted their country’s population is.  Then, they learned how to find the information in their reference books to see if they were right.

The students also worked on different centers – including a “Chocolate Fix” logic puzzle and sudoku puzzle center. I introduced a new way to keep track of their centers using the iPads, and they did a fabulous job!

2nd Grade Works on Holiday Centers

After the students finished working on rough drafts of their Superhero cartoons, I gave them the rest of the morning to choose from different centers.  There were a couple of sudoku options – one was using old-fashioned pencil and paper, and one was on our interactive white board.  They could also play a logic/visual thinking game called “Factory Balls-Christmas Edition” on the laptops. Holiday tangram puzzles were popular.  Another choice was to use the iPad programming app that they learned about last week, Hopscotch, to create a holiday scene.  And, lastly, the students could look at our green anole with a huge magnifying glass and some beautiful crystals (brought in by Anna) under the microscope.  I also offered some drawing activities but, strangely, no one gravitated toward those!

My goal was for the students to choose activities that were challenging for them, and I was glad to see many of the students really showing some perseverance on the more difficult puzzles.  The candle tangram was particularly hard, but no one gave up!  As far as I could tell, everyone who tried it finally figured out the solution.  There was also a lot of synergizing to be seen in the classroom.  The students were very helpful to each other as they worked out the Winter Sudoku puzzle on the interactive white board.  And, whenever a new batch of students tried out the laptop game, there were always some “veterans” willing to show them the ropes.  It was the perfect last class for 2013!

2nd Grade Researches Bridges

After reviewing what we learned about the Brooklyn Bridge, I showed the students how we could apply more depth to our learning using icons from Dr. Sandra Kaplan. We talked about the unique “Details” of the bridge, the “Trends” and “Patterns” in bridge building that we saw from looking at other suspension bridges, and how the bridge “Changed Over Time”.  Then the students each chose their own bridge from the Building Big website, and looked for similar information for their own bridges.

We also worked on a tough logic problem, and I was proud how hard everyone tried!  Great thinking, 2nd grade!