Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living Things

In Science right now we are studying living things.  Our "Big Idea" is Living things grown and change in many ways.  
To "get at" what we knew about living things we first talked about what living things are.  They each had a paper and listed 5 things that they knew were living.  Then we filled out this 'T chart'.  We knew that there were two groups of things: Plants and Animals.  The first column on each side was what they came up with on their own.

THEN, we broke up into a Boy team and a Girl team.  Each group had a piece of chart paper and their challenge was to come up with as many different animals and write them down as they could in 5 minutes, when the timer went off it was pencils down or get a penalty.  They talked about how they could do this so the other team wouldn't hear what they were saying.  It was really interesting to see 11 girls around a little piece of chart paper, but they all worked well together.  Would you believe BOTH groups came up with the exact SAME number of animals and plants.  On the 'T chart' the girls is the second column and the boys is the third column.  It was pretty amazing to see their team work. 
We then generated questions about animals during our Daily 5 writing time the next day.  After we listed them on chart paper we decided if the questions were researchable or testable (are we going to find the answer in a book, OR get messy with an experiment).  

The first question we decided to answer was "How can we break animals up into groups?"  We made the CLAIM that Groups of animals are called families, we will see if our thinking changes.  We used our science text books to find the answers, (because our science text book was written by experts on the subject) and made another chart.
We then went back to our 'T chart" and circled the animals that we wrote done according to the characteristics about each group we learned.  At the bottom of the 'T chart' you see ?people?.  We were VERY unsure about what exactly people were, we know that we are living BUT we didn't know where it fit.  After researching the different groups we found out that since people have hair, don't lay eggs, and their babies drink milk from their mommies, they are mammals.  Some of the kids were shocked that we are in the same group as tigers and dolphins!  AMAZING!

Right now we are working on some research projects using World Book Web or Kids.  We completed our investigation journals about each group of animals and are now working on detail research on animals of Iowa.  More to come later!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rainbow cupcakes and St. Patty's Day fun.

Tanner and I got a WILD hair one Sunday morning!  We were excited after we saw a picture of rainbow cupcakes in a parenting magazine and we couldn't wait to try it.  Our school was starting Spring Break on March 17, and I knew that I wanted the kids to have some St. Patty's day fun. 

 Tanner being my helpful helper, he EVEN taste tested them.

 To make them a little more festive, I added some shamrocks.

 After eating our yummy treats, we wrote about our best wish.  Someone wished for a new baby sister, someone wished to grow FASTER, someone wished for a puppy, and half the class wished for all the chocolate in the world!  Then we created our own rainbows and colored our leprechauns.

President's Day

In February, we studied Presidents George Washington and Abe Lincoln.  We started out with pictures of each, the Purple marker on George Washington is what we thought we knew about him before we read some books.
The Green marker on Abe Lincoln is what we thought we knew about him before we read some books.
After this project the students then could choose one or both Presidents for our writing project.  If they chose one president they needed to write why that president was their favorites.  They could use the charts to write down things that they learned about each president.

 Love how they all turned out...and even a month later they are still talking about George and Abe.