April 22, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman

Earth Day Resources

Today is Earth Day! We’ll be exploring resources about ecology throughout the day today. Later this week we’ll post presentations showcasing what we learned.

Here are some articles, videos and games about Earth Day.

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April 16, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman

Moon Phases

In fifth grade science, one of the things we study is the movement of different objects in our solar system. Earlier in the year we learned about how the moon’s gravity affects the Earth’s tides. Now we are learning why the moon appears to look different in the sky at different times of the month.

We have been learning about the movement of the moon by using different models. For one, we put a styrofoam ball on a pencil. We used a bright lamp to represent the sun, and our own bodies represented the Earth. As we moved the Moon in a revolution around the Earth, we could see how the Moon was illuminated differently depending on its position in the sky. Here’s a slideshow showing this:

Phases of the Moon from S Hamman on Vimeo.

We also created moon phase models using Oreo cookies! In partners, we drew pictures of the eight phases of the moon, then we made models from the cookies. The frosting represents the illuminated part of the moon.

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Do you think planets have phases, too? 

(We’re going to find out the answer to this question after a video conference in a few weeks, and we’ll post the answer after we find out!)

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March 10, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Mad Science Day

Mad Science Day is a day when we spend all day doing science projects. It started a few years ago as a way of celebrating Halloween, but now we like to have multiple Mad Science Days every year. We love getting the chance to really explore science in a hands-on way.

We had our most recent Mad Science Day last Friday. Since we’ve been learning about physical science this quarter, all of our activities centered on the things we study in fifth grade physical science. Together with our friends in Mr. Maijala’s class, we learned about the properties of matter—by making food! We also showed the difference between chemical and physical changes in matter. Then we learned about motion and forces by making and testing balloon rockets and marshmallow catapults!

We realized that we never posted about our earlier Mad Science Day this year, which focused more on life science and the scientific process. Our video shows pictures from both science days.

Mad Science Day from S Hamman on Vimeo.

Next quarter we’ll be studying earth and space science.

What do you think we should do for our next Mad Science Day?

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March 5, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Iditarod Math

One of our school traditions is to read and learn about the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska every year. We always research the mushers and have a class vote about which one’s progress to track once the race begins (here are our past Iditarod posts from 2014, 2013, and 2012). This year, the winner of our class vote was Aliy Zirkle. She has finished in second place in the race for the past three years! Good luck, Aliy!


We made this map for our Iditarod board, and we’ll follow Aliy’s progress here.


The race always has a ceremonial start in Anchorage, but the actual race doesn’t start until the next day. This year, for only the second time in race history, the restart of the race has been moved from the town of Willow to Fairbanks. Why do you think they made that change?

This year we’ve been incorporating our learning about the Iditarod into our math class. The 2015 Teacher on the Trail website has some great lessons and math problems. Here’s one example (the entire set of problems is here):

On Sunday, March 3rd, 65 teams departed Willow to embark on the 41st Iditarod! The sixty-sixth musher, Ed Stielstra, scratched due to an injury that happened in training prior to the race. Mikhail Telpin started with 12 dogs. Cindy Abbott, Bob Chulpach, and Rudy Demonski each started 14 dogs and Charley Bejina started with 15 dogs. All of the other mushers fielded full teams of sixteen dogs! How many feet crossed the starting line and started down the trail to Nome on restart day?

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Pictures of us trying to solve this problem!

Can you figure out the solution to this problem?

Who do you think will win the Iditarod?


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February 5, 2015
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Global School Play Day

On February 4, we, along with 65,000 other students in 6 continents, participated in the First Annual Global School Play Day. This was a day to celebrate creativity and play in school. We brought in things we wanted to play with, with the only rules that (1) we couldn’t use anything electronic, and, of course, (2) whatever we brought had to be appropriate for school.

It was interesting to see what people chose to do when they weren’t told what to do! Lots of people got together and played card and board games, making up new rules as they played. Some chose to work on creative things, like drawing, making bracelets, or writing stories. Some wanted to read or work on individual projects. A few even wanted to worked on memorizing lines from Shakespeare (that’s for a project we’ll blog about later)!

We’re looking forward to seeing what other classes did on Global School Play Day! You can check out the pictures and stories from other classes by going to the website above or following the #GSPD hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.

Here’s an Animoto video showing some of the things we did:

What did you do on Global School Play Day?

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