This year we have a combined 2nd-4th grade class, led by Amber and joined by Nancy teaching Language Arts and Phil teaching Math and Science. The theme for the year is Expansion - with a focus on ancient civilizations (Greece, Rome, China and Japan) how they expanded and what happened to them. The children also focus on themselves - what happens when their energy expands or contracts, what causes it, how does it feel, what does it create, what are the effects? How are we learning - expanding our understanding of the world, and how can we impact the world around us?
On this page, we will share some of our projects as they unfold throughout the year.
Written in January: After studying Ancient Rome for 2 months, we built a Roman City! The children in pairs each picked a famous building to create, and then planned how to build it and what materials to use. They also built Roman catapults in science and math, using simple machine techniques and then predicting and measuring how far the beans were shot out of the catapults. Then they tried to improve the distance by making changes to their catapults.
Written in October: In science this year our class is engaged in two projects: Creating our School Nature Park and Life Cycles of Animals. To begin, we collected specimens from Coal Creek on a Friday hike. We reviewed the life cycle of a Mantis, and labeled our drawings. We discussed what other animals go through life cycles, and introduced the terms: complete and incomplete metamorphosis, along with, egg, larvae, and nymph. We also continued our conversation about what animals need to survive, and focused on the birds we want to attract to our nature park. We did research to identify the local plants and animals, and each chose a specific bird to attract to our nature park by planting what it likes to eat, and building the type of home it prefers to nest in.
The whole school prepares for our Book Fair in the spring. Every child goes through the process of planning, writing, revising, editing, rewriting, and illustrating to create a published book. They sell these books as well as present their process as a writer - to all the parents and students. We started this fall by creating a moveable story board with sticky notes for details about character, setting and plot. One of our parents (Carla) is a professional writer and editor, and she taught about plot - and the "inciting incident" that begins the build up of tension in a story. Here is Carla working with the children.