Lovin’ the Legos!

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Science, technology, food, oh my!  Who knew there were so many different things you could do with Legos.  Our class had a great day learning with Legos recently.  We created simple machines, made stop motion videos, built with them on the computer, designed a bridge to hold the most rocks, and even ate some Legos!  Yeah, you read right-we ate Legos!

Have you ever used Build with Chrome?  This is a great interactive site that lets you build with Lego bricks.  Try it out.

What’s your favorite thing to do with Legos?


Harvest Time at Desert Vista!

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Our class is working hard on our garden, Nature’s Rainbow, the Hummingbird Garden, and our Sunflower Garden. We harvested kohlrabi, cilantro, tomatoes, and green onions.  Each of us got to try the tomatoes.  They were a lot better than the ones at the store.  We also tried the kohlrabi.  It tasted kind of like broccoli.  Our Tower Garden arrived and we were able to put even more vegetables and herbs in it.

Take a look…

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We are working with the Master Gardening Club in Gold Canyon.  Each Monday Myrna comes and helps us garden and teaches us more about gardening.  Did you know that tomatoes should be replanted up to the stem?  

What bits of information can you give us to help us make our garden a success?

Project Pencils is a Winner!

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Helping others is a good thing…especially when you can win an award while doing it!  Our class finished the project and had great results.  Through selling pencils and “pencil pals”  we were able to raise $650 to help children in Nairobi, Kenya and children in our local community.  The families in our class, staff at our school, and  community members donated pencils and Beanie Babies for us to sell.  Each morning we sold to the students at Desert Vista as they were coming into the school.

Mrs. Fraher entered us into a community service contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  We heard that it won first place in the local contest, then we heard it won first place in the state contest, and finally, we heard it won first place in the national contest!  Were we super excited!  On April 30, the two students who helped out the most will be able to accept the award at the state meeting for the Daughters of the American Revolution.  We will keep you updated on getting the award.

We felt great helping others.

What are some things that you have done to help other people?


Oreo Project 2014

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There is so more to an Oreo than two cookie wafers and some creamy filling!  Our class learned this first hand as we participated in this year’s Oreo Project through Projects by Jen.     We started with creating a hypothesis, then went on to brainstorming variables affecting stack stability, and then joined our buddy class in Ohio to a stacking challenge.  To get the variables, we had to analyze the Oreo very carefully.  We created a line plot on stack counts and used that data to determine stack average.  Our class also created an Oreo Book containing facts we learned about the Oreo and the line plot containing stack data. 

Take a look!

Can you guess the four main variables affecting the stability of an Oreo stack?

Another activity we did with the Oreo was to create our own “I Wonder If I Gave an Oreo” story based on the Oreo commercial with the same title.  Here is the commercial.  Stay tuned for our version of the same.

Oreo Project

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Oreos were the name of the game one week recently.  After getting the idea from Projects by Jen, our class dived in with eagerness.

Take a look at some of the many things we did.

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Here is the important question…

How do you eat your Oreo?

Turkey Vulture Does the Math!

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Hi, my name is Christian.

I am going to tell you about the turkey vulture and how it did math.  I think the turkey vulture is funny looking, but an interesting bird.

Christian looking at his favorite book...Birds of Arizona!

A turkey vulture is one only birds that eats carrion as its main source of food.  This is good for the environment because dead animals can’t sit around or diseases will start.  I like to compare them to a live vacuum.  They suck up the waste!

How did the turkey vulture do math?  Look at the picture my dad took of this turkey vulture on our view fence in our backyard.

Taken from my backyard!


If you recall, there are 12 inches in one foot and one yard is equal to three feet.

How can we tell how long the wingspan is by just looking at the picture?

Well, let me tell you.

Look at the fence.  The space between each bar is six inches.  Now count how many spaces there are under the turkey vulture’s one wing.  I count six spaces.

Here’s the math:
six spaces times six inches for each bar equals thirty-six inches
6 x 6 = 36
This tells us that one wing span is about 36 inches long.

What number do we know in measurement that is 36?

You are right!  There are 36 inches in a yard.  So, the turkey vulture’s one wingspan is 36 inches long, three feet or one yard.

How long would both his wings be?

Here are some fun facts about the turkey vulture:
The turkey vulture builds no nest, but lays eggs on a cliff or in a cave.  It’s eggs are white with brown markings.   The eggs remain eggs for 38-41 days.

Here I am with my friends discussing bird species.

What else can you tell me about the turkey vulture?

Want to Learn and Relate? Collaborate!

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Mrs. Fraher gives our class a lot of chances to collaborate with other students.   We collaborate with different students within our class.  It is fun to learn from others because everyone thinks differently.  Collaborating makes learning fun!  We have learned how to write better, explain ourselves better, and comprehend what we learn better.  A lot of what we have learned can’t be tested using a multiple choice test.  

Global collaboration teaches us about cultures and the importance of relationships.

We learned that collaboration relationships require give and take, learning doesn’t just come from books, and there are no boundaries when it comes to collaborating.

We collaborate with other classes at our school.  We work with Mrs. Shamhart’s first grade class in reading, Mrs. Rivera’s second grade class in math, and Mrs. Goucher’s class in science.  We have met a lot of different students at our school that we would not have met if it wasn’t for collaboration.  When we walk around school we get to wave to them and know that we learn from them and they learn from us.

Collaborating on PhotoPeach

The cool thing about collaborating and the technology we have is that we can also collaborate with students from other countries.  We were email buddies with a class in Port Lincoln, Australia and collaborated with Mrs. W and Mr. Davo Devil from Tasmania.

  We also get to collaborate with other kids at other schools in Apache Junction and around the United States.  We are going to meet Mrs. Moore’s class and Mrs. Hamman’s class at Four Peaks Elementary, and we are writing to a class in New York- Mrs. Delace’s Class. For the whole year, we have been buddies with Bensesa School in Nairobi, Kenya.  We have learned about different cultures and have found out that we are a lot alike, too.  We are starting a new collaboration with Mrs. Murphy’s class.  We will be blogging buddies with them and also participate in a Flat Stanley project.


Reading with each other is a great way to collaborate!


Did you now that you can collaborate with people from all ages?  Mrs. Fraher likes to invite community members and experts to collaborate with us.  This shows us that we can learn from any age and that people in our community care about our learning.

Do you collaborate with other kids at your school or around the country?

What do you like about collaborating?

It’s Superman, It’s a Plane….No, It’s A Bird for Project Feeder Watch!

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We are doing a project called Project FeederWatch.  It is about finding different bird species, graphing and recording the number we see, and then reporting it to Cornell University.  
We are doing it for the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University.  We are doing it October through March.  We are doing it in Mrs. Fraher’s class, Mrs. Goucher’s class, our school habitat, and by the desert wash outside our class.  
We are feeding the birds, observing the different feeder locations throughout the day, and recording what we find. 
The first steps of this project was to get to know the birds and their features and their habits so when we are ready to tally their numbers we know what species we are seeing.  
We did this through observing birds,
keeping a record of the species we have found using a digital camera and a birding  journal.  
                 So far, we have observed nineteen species!
       Cactus Wren                                      House Finch                                                White Crown Sparrow
Song Sparrow                                    Curved Bill Thrasher                              Gila Woodpecker
Gilded Flicker                                    Gamble’s Quail                                           Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal                         American Robin                                        American Crow
Abert’s Towhee                                 Western Wood Pee-Wee
Take a look at some of the species we have seen:
Make your own slide show at Animoto.

Every week there are two new bird feeders that go out twice a day to fill the feeders by our window.  They put food on the window sill and the feeders.

Never Get an Addition or Subtraction Problem Wrong Again!

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Mrs. Fraher went to a math class by Kim Sutton and learned about the digital root of a number. When she taught us, she gave us a challenge to try to find out the theory of doing it with subtraction on our own.  Three kids found it out- Claire,Lilly, and me, Justin. We found this song on the Internet that was written by Kim Sutton and performed by Ron Brown… this is only part of the song.

By Justin 🙂

Digital Root by Kim Sutton © 2008

performed by Ron Brown

Digital root, digital root, Can you find the digital root?
Digital root, digital root, Can you find the digital root?

The digital root of a number is the sum of all its digits.
Keep adding that sum, Until you’re done,
And a single digit is the final outcome.

That’s the digital root. Digital root, digital root,
Can you find the digital root?

Let’s take a number like 53.  Add the 5 to the 3
The sum is 8. You’re doing great.
The digital root is 8. The digital root is 8.

Our teacher challenged us to use Show Me on an iPad to teach others how to do digital roots for addition and subtraction.  Here are the problems we used digital roots for.   In order to do this, we had to create a problem, write a script so we wouldn’t forget what to do, and then we practiced until each of us knew how to do it without mistakes.  Each of us has a different kind of problem.

by Lillian



Here’s a couple questions by Claire:

Do you think digital roots will help you get better at math?  Will you get more problems correct on your test if you use digital roots?  Let us know!