Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thanksgiving - Musical Performance

Inspired by Ada's Violin, a story about an under privileged community who grew to fame by renewing garbage into instruments, our student built their own musical tools and performed using them at gathering. 

Dice Game

The Dice Game is a math practice we turn to when we need a break from traditional book studies. The premise is simple...pick a number, roll the dice, use the numbers on the dice to create an equation to get to the number picked. Seems easy enough, but it's more difficult than it seems.

This game really gets students to stretch their minds about math. The students have to start by testing an approach. They start using the numbers to design equations. Creating their own equations requires a degree of higher level thinking than simply working on predetermined equations on a work sheet. Then they have to test, revise, and test again to see if their equations are working.

The process allows for natural differentiation as well. Each student will work at the math levels they understand most. Advanced math students will rely on squares and algebra, while students in early learning stages will rely on arithmetic and rounding.

In addition to the basic skill building, the game is fun. Students get excited for the challenge. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Presentation Practice

One important skill we practice is public presenting. Routinely we take turns presenting information related to our studies. 

In each practice setting, students are expected to summarize information they've studied into succinct 1 to 3 minute presentations. They are allowed to make notes on white boards but are encouraged to speak from memory. 

Some of the key skills we focus on are:
- Clarity of voice
- Voice projection
- Avoiding filler words
- Presentation posture 

There is a lot of value in polishing public speaking skills. Long term, comfort in this area, could serve students well in higher grades, community work, social situations, and even future job interviews. 

It's also a great time for us to review our listening skills. We talk a lot about the value of being a focused listener and how to respectfully show your attention during presentations. 

Window Painting - Leaves

With fall finally underway we decided our classroom needed some fall leaves.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Engineering starts with atoms

As we continue our learning about electricity, we are starting with the fundamentals of elements and electron structures. We are starting by completing our own versions of the periodic table. Then we'll move on to creating models of electron shells.

The goal is to first understand the basics of how to read a periodic table. Part of that includes understanding how atomic the number of neutrons is determined.

Once we have a strong understanding of basic atom and electron shell structures, we will move on to studying electron orbitals. Ultimately this will give us the foundation information necessary to understand how electricity is generated by atoms.

Evolution & Archaeology Overnight Field Study: Sun Banks Cabins

We roasted S'mores and told stories around the fire. The cabins were nice and we got great cabin mates. There was a lake that people ...