Here is the 1st grade research report on China!

2nd Grade Tests Their Bridges

The 2nd graders finished up their bridge designs this week, and tested them out with our Dash robot.  As you can see from one of the pictures, we put a little cushion underneath in case Dash did not make it across.

Unfortunately, Dash was not able to cross for either bridge design.  However, the students reflected on their experiences and felt like they had learned a lot.  Their designs went through many revisions, and they would probably have even better ideas for building the bridges if they had more time.  We compared/contrasted their process to the real-life work that goes into building bridges – and we all decided we would need a lot more training and experience before we could design a real bridge!

2nd Grade Begins Bridge Planning

The 2nd graders were tasked with building a 2 ft. bridge that our Dash robot can cross between tables.  They were given a budget of $50,000 and a price list for potential supplies.  They brainstormed designs, made diagrams, and did some mathematical computations to decide which supplies to “purchase.”  This took quite a bit of planning, so they haven’t had a chance to build yet.  They are definitely learning how difficult it can be to stick to a budget, though!

This Week in GT – April 13

Between a crashed computer, electricity outages, and short weeks, I’ve once again fallen behind on keeping you updated about GT happenings.  Here is what each grade level did this week:

Kinder practiced “Magician Thinking” (Visual/Spatial) by doing Tangram puzzles and matching rotated shapes.

1st did Divergent Thinking by imagining what surprise might hatch from a mother bird’s egg.  They also got to use the Dash robots, including the robot launcher, to review some of what they have learned during their country studies.

2nd finished and presented their bridges designed for fictional characters.  They also worked on more “Balance Bender” math puzzles.

3rd grade continued to work with Scratch and a movie editing app to get ready to present their Genius Hour project.  They also began a new Billibonk book, which will give them even more Systems Thinking Tools.

4th explored a small virtual gallery of paintings, learned about the theft of the Mona Lisa, and read more of Chasing Vermeer.

5th grade worked on their Genius Hour projects, their websites, and a really tough logic problem (so far only one student has solved it!).  We also got to watch a student demonstrate the robotic vending machine he designed at home (video embedded below)!

2nd Grade Builds Bridges

The 2nd graders learned about different types of bridges this week.  They did the “Bridge Challenge” on the Building Big website, which involved recommending types of bridges for different situations.  Then they built Beam Bridges with the K’Nex kits, and began working on some bridges of their choice once those were completed.

This Week in GT

I am a bit behind in updating each class post, so I am going to do a summary of all of our GT classes this week today!

Kinder – They worked on Inventor Thinking by making Leprechaun Traps.  We’ve set the traps out to see if we can catch any during Spring Break.  The students also played the Osmo “Monster” game.

1st – The students began their new rotations for studying the individual countries they chose to research.  They are analyzing statistics, programming a robot to travel around a map, and looking at fascinating photos of the countries.  They also worked on a St. Patrick’s Day sudoku.

2nd – 2nd grade GT finished up their limericks from last week, shared them, and illustrated them.  They also did some more Math Analogies.

3rd – The 3rd graders learned how to do Scratch programming, which they hope to use to create their final projects for Genius Hour.  They also learned the Order of Operations, and applied it to an algebra activity.  We read Billibonk, and discussed the habits of systems thinkers.

4th – We celebrated Pi Day this week!  With a few videos, a story about Sir Cumference, and a Pi Day Breakout to solve, the students are fully prepared to make 3/14 a great day during Spring Break!

5th – The students began to work on their “manifestos” using what they have learned about themselves throughout the school year so far.  We had some great conversations and excellent brainstorms.


2nd Grade Adapts Classrooms to Leprechauns

The 2nd graders worked on the “Adapt” portion of S.C.A.M.P.E.R., a creative thinking tool which helps people to generate new ideas.  For this activity, they had to Adapt a classroom for leprechauns.  They thought about not only the physical differences, but the curriculum changes.  For example, leprechauns might have to learn how to talk to humans, how to survive without getting stepped on, or how gold changes its value (I think I would like to know that one as well!)

The students also worked on limericks, but we are still refining them.  In addition, they did some more “Balance Benders,” which are really challenging all of us!

2nd Grade Writes Haikus

The 2nd graders have been talking about the structures of poetry for the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday, they learned about haikus.  After brainstorming things that they love, they each chose a topic for their poems.  They wrote their rough drafts and we did a quick Writer’s Workshop to help them revise their poems.  We used a thesaurus to find some less “worn-out” words.  Once they were happy with their finished products, they published them using Haiku Deck on the iPads.  You can see the results below:

GT 1st-5th This Week

Wow – can you believe it’s February?  This school year is certainly flying by, and this week has been one of the fastest!

Since I’m a bit behind on daily blogging, here is the rundown on what the classes have been doing this week:

1st grade finished their continent stations.  Next class, they will be meeting their mystery Valentine partners, and they will begin studying the countries they chose to research.

2nd grade worked more on empathy and multiple perspectives by pretending they were the fictional clients for whom they are designing structures.  Then they did second drafts of their designs.

3rd grade finished Fish in a Tree, and worked more on their Tinkercad tutorials for 3d design.

4th and 5th grade both analyzed song playlists for their respective novels to choose the songs that best represented the books.  They gave supporting evidence using the song lyrics and passages from the books. (Tuck Everlasting and The Giver)

There will be no GT classes February 7th-9th as I will be attending a technology conference in Austin.

One of the 1st graders shows the model she made of the Eiffel Tower during our stations