This week Early Childhood students furthered their knowledge of worms. After reading Wonderful Worms by writer Linda Glasser and illustrator Loretta Krupinski, EC naturalists were intrigued by worm tunnels. They discovered that the tunnels the worms make are essential for a healthy garden. The tunnels allow a plant’s roots to grow with less obstruction. Worm tunnels also serve as excellent passageways for water to flow through to provide a natural irrigation system. Worm searching is a popular activity during outside play and upon overturning logs and tree stumps to find the worms, students can often see the squiggly lines and trails that are the worms’ tunnels; the tunnels from a bird’s eye view. To get a more complete cross-section view of these tunnels, students collected soil, earthworms, and compost material for the worms to eat, and placed them in a glass jar. A lid with air holes was placed on top. The sides of the jars were covered with black paper to keep the worms happy in a dark environment. So that the worms are not disturbed, writers spelled out “worms at work” on the outside of the jars. EC students have peeked at their worms and have gotten a clearer picture of the tunnels that worms create.
In an artistic expression of these worm tunnels, artists used a brush to drip rubber cement on watercolor paper to create a maze of worm pathways. Once the rubber cement was dry, students added watercolor paints on top of the cement. It was interesting to see how the paints resisted adhesion to the rubber cement. Lastly, once the paint was dry too, the rubber cement was gently rubbed off to reveal a bright white worm tunnel contrasted against a beautiful array of color. To magnify that contrast, black pen was used to outline the tunnels. Their artwork will be on display in the Early Childhood classroom.
A special thanks to Liz for helping us to add worms to our Can-O-Worms worm bin this week. More on this in next week’s blog!
WELCOME TILLY! We are so excited to welcome a new member to our Kindergarten community; Tilly Ferran is no stranger to PCS, and we are so happy to have her back.
While waiting for this crazy April cold snap to pass, kindergarteners revisited The Curious Garden by Peter Brown a story we read last week about a boy who took a chance and planted a garden where no one else did (aka The Highline in NYC). Rereading texts over and over, especially if they become a favorite, help children to build comprehension skills. Things they didn't hear or realize the first time around, suddenly become clear. And discussions become much richer when children actively participate in 'book talk', anticipate what will happen next or even make connections to their lives, the world around them, or other books we read. Part of the daily practice in Kindergarten is to listen to proposals made by the children, discuss each one, and decide which proposals to accept, table for another day, or reject altogether. When one of our kindergartners proposed this week that we plant a "Take A Chance" Garden in kindergarten - we went with it. We are now watching closely to see if the Lego we planted grows into a Lego tree if the jellybean sprouts a jellybean plant, and sincerely hoping the chocolate chip produces dozens of chocolate chip cookies. Do you think the sponge will grow into a SpongeBob? Stay tuned. Our Take A Chance garden is going to be a fun and engaging way to introduce our young students to the Scientific Method. And, since most children this age still believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and other 'magical' happenings - you just never know what might happen!
Lucky us to have Lucy Senesac as a Master Gardener assigned to our school through Edible School Gardens. Lucy got her start with agriculture at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County in Riverhead, but never really got her hands dirty in the field (literally) until she started WWOOFing in New Zealand where she worked on ten different farms in six months! When she is not busy running the CSA at Sang Lee Farms or a stall at a the Riverhead Farmers Market, she is working side by side with children educating them on every aspect of gardening, farming, sustainability and healthy eating. "Farming means more than food:," says Lucy. "Gardening is about us working in harmony with nature to create and sustain more life to come."
We are not just growing a garden at PCS; we are raising a future generation of East End farmers; good soil and great things are ahead for our PCS children!
We are fortunate that the only requirement asked of us to stay eligible for the many mini-grants offered by Edible School Yards is to attend each one of their monthly meetings. Please check out this link to Edible School Gardens for a schedule of meetings and to purchase tickets to their April 17 Moveable Feast. All proceeds go toward the mini-grants and keep Lucy at our school. Please let me (Sharon) know if you can attend any meeting. I can not make all of them, so your help is greatly appreciated. THE NEXT MEETING IS TUESDAY, APRIL 19.
EARTH WEEK - The week of April 18
If you would like to come in to do a special earth friendly project with the class - please let me know! The whole school will be heading out to do a beach cleanup Wednesday morning, April 20.
SPRING BREAK - Week of April 25
This week Lower Primary students studied earthquakes and their effect on the earth. Students learned about the different kinds of slip faults that can cause an earthquake. To explore earthquakes further, students learned about the magnitude of an earthquake at the focus and epicenter and created watercolor paintings to show their understanding. Lower Primary students also had the privilege of using a seismometer! As they explored, they learned that a seismometer measures the distance, length and intensity of an earthquake. We decided to try and simulate an earthquake of our own to see if the seismometer would detect our movements. They seismologists sat very still and observed a low reading on the computer, then they all stood up and jumped creating a high reading on the computer! It was fascinating to witness the graph spike as the students simulated an earthquake.
In our latest S.T.E.A.M. challenge, Lower Primary students are required to create a house that can withstand an earthquake. The house must have 4 walls. Windows and doors are not required. The house must have a roof of some kind. It must be at least 15 centimeters tall and 15 centimeters wide. The purpose of the challenge is for students to build a structure that can survive at least 90 seconds of shaking without significant structural damage. Lower Primary students will be given a variety of materials that they can choose from. After assessing the materials, students will make an informed decision on which materials they believe will work the best.
In math this week, Lower Primary students wrapped up their coin unit on Monday by creating a class store. They worked together to transform the classroom into a working store, including a checkout area as well as different sections for shopping. They began by coming up with a plan, creating price tags and assigning each other with different responsibilities. When the store was officially open for business, students practiced their counting coin skills to purchase items around the room. Later in the week, students in Lower Primary were immersed in geometry. They studied both flat and solid shapes and learned their names. While some students learned about how to count the faces on a 3D shape, others expanded on that and also learned about the edges and vertices of a solid.
This week was all about rocks in Upper Primary. Students started the week researching the distinctions between the different rock types (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic). We looked at images and watched videos of natural wonders such as magma cooling and forming new crust in Hawaii and a river running through the Grand Canyon carrying sediment away to be deposited somewhere else. We talked at length about the ways in which rocks form and what can alter and change them. Students were immersed in the rock cycle during a game about rock formations and transformations. They began the game as one type of rock and as the game proceeded, they followed directions to undergo changes (such as heat, pressure, weathering and erosion) to then become a new rock type, magma or sediment.
To further investigate the sorting that happens as sediment deposits into layers that eventually form sedimentary rock, we conducted our own experiment. We went outside and collected materials like pebbles, sand, and dirt. We partially filled a container with the materials and filled the rest with water. After giving it a really good shake, students quickly placed it down and watched as the sediment fell. They noted the organization of materials and arrangement of how they settled. Students conducted observations at different times; once immediately, one 10 minutes later, another 2 hours after and then finally one 24 hours later. Students were impressed to see the level of sediment rise at the bottom of the container as the different materials piled up on top of each other and seemly sorted themselves in a very organized fashion. All the while, the water gained more clarity and became increasingly less murky.
At the end of the week we sorted rocks by categorizing them by factors like color, texture, weight and overall appearance. Students tried to decipher if each rock sample was metamorphic, sedimentary or igneous based on the information gathered throughout the week. The amount of knowledge students gleaned this week was impressive. Their written explanations and conversations proved deep learning. Students were able to take what they learned and apply it to make informed conclusions about their observations.
A special thanks to Sean Tvelia for the donation of rocks and minerals and allowing us to loan the deposition tubes from SCCC!