Kindergarteners had a very busy week building and installing the garden beds. Thanks to a crew of parents and kids who came after school to build and more a few dads who came Friday to install the beds, we are ready for our soil delivery! Even our Upper Primary buddies got into the action and helped us to finish building the fourth bed. Kids always love handling power tools, and these tools provide many opportunities for lessons on safety, proper handling, power, and efficiency. That fourth bed will never fall apart it has so many screws! Saying thank you over and over again doesn’t seem quite adequate to acknowledge all the support we have received to get this garden growing. But I will continue to say it. Thank you to Connor’s and Cyrus's dads who spent most of the day Friday digging and drilling holes so the beds could be sunk and leveled. Be sure to take a walk out front to see. The children would love to show off their hard work.
Do you believe in magic? Five and six-year-olds do, and the same magic that brings things from the tooth fairy and gifts from Santa Claus is at it again in our ‘Take a Chance’ garden. The children were so excited (biggest understatement ever) to discover some of the things we planted are sprouting! Learning to distinguish between fantasy and reality is an important developmental step that children make in the kindergarten year. Children at this age can be very clear about what is real and pretend in some situations, but still engage in magical thinking in others. Honoring a child's imagination and allowing them the time and space to create their own understanding is important. Too often adults step in and try, without too much success, to convince children of the "truth.” Remember to keep the magic alive whenever you can!
Acting it out, using counters, drawing a picture, just knowing it in your head, or writing an equation are just a few of the ways kindergarteners are learning to solve math problems. The children realized they could turn the taped off garden plan in the classroom into a ten-frame which helped them to solve many word problems and see a group of ten.
Lastly, every Friday we are trying to incorporate a cooking activity into our day. With the help of Upper Primary, we mixed and baked chocolate chip granola bars which will be frozen and saved for our bake sale at the GROW event in May. We will continue to do this every Friday until the end of the year. We would love to have your help. If you can’t come in, perhaps you could consider sending in a recipe with the ingredients. We are open to anything that can be easily stored or frozen.
Lower Primary students explored volcanoes this week. Rich background knowledge and discussions evolved as the volcano topic was introduced. To further expand on their prior knowledge, Lower Primary students studied the parts of a volcano. They learned all about the magma chamber, vents, layers of ash and lava, ash cloud and volcanic bombs. To show their understanding, Lower Primary students had the opportunity to draw and paint their own diagram of a volcano on a canvas! They also learned all about how volcanoes are formed and that the Ring of Fire is the result of plate tectonics, which they had previously studied during our earthquake study last week.
After exploring and researching volcanoes, Lower Primary students then began to connect their newly found knowledge to how volcanoes affect the earth. Volcanoes can impact the earth in many ways, and even form new lands. Students learned that the Hawaiian islands are a result of a hot spot occurring in the middle of the Pacific plate. We also studied the effect that other volcanoes had on our earth, some taking out towns or destroying land and forests. Encourage your child to reflect on all they they learned this week about volcanoes!
Lower Primary is so excited to announce that they raised $275.00 for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation! Earlier in the year, students worked diligently to research local sea animals and create a field guide. After the field guide was complete, Lower Primary reached out to our community and sold several copies. All of the money that was raised will now be donated to this amazing organization.
“What children are capable of at a particular age is the result of a complex interplay among maturation, experience, and instruction. Thus, what is developmentally appropriate is not a simple function of age or grade. What children do is in large part contingent on their prior opportunities to learn and not on some fixed sequence of developmental stages.” Duschl, R. A., Schweingruber, H. A., & Shouse, A. W. (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
This week’s activities revolved around hands-on experiences with minerals. It began simply by exploring them with our hands and eyes and noting differences and similarities. Students learned that rocks are made of minerals and that minerals are made of elements. Students came to the realization that not all elements are minerals while identifying the five common characteristics of minerals. Later in the week, we delved more deeply into differentiating among minerals. Students participated in a lab experience that provided opportunities for classification and scientific analysis techniques for mineral identification. Students worked with partners to decipher between mineral’s color, luster, streak, hardness, fracture, cleavage, and other special properties. After performing tests on each mineral and recording the results, partners worked together to determine the mineral names of their samples. Students carefully compared the properties of their samples to the properties of minerals listed on a Mineral Identification Chart. We ended the week making natural paint from hematite. After our investigation into the properties of minerals, focusing on the mineral’s hardness and streak, it was decided that hematite would be the most suitable choice to use as a pigment. Students took turns using a pestle and mortar to grind a small piece into a fine powder, which was then mixed with egg yolk to create egg tempera. Everyone had an opportunity to tryout the mineral paint and enjoyed creating Zentangle patterns. There was a lot of talk and questions about cave paintings and thoughts about if they were created using similar minerals, which perhaps is something we may have to explore!