Tomorrow is our last day of school! We have learned so much this year. This week we have been reviewing our old blog posts and talking about the projects and activities we liked the most. After we brainstormed a list, we each voted on our top five. Here’s a Tagxedo showing all of the activities that received votes.
Our top five activities, as voted by members of our class, were:
We realized that all of those projects came about because of connections we made on our blog, and all of them involved collaborating with others outside our classroom. Today we talked about how we have each started to build our own PLNs, or Personal Learning Networks. A PLN is a group of people we can turn to when we want to learn something new. We look forward to continuing to build our PLNs as we move on to fourth grade!
We are nearing the end of the year and have been reflecting on all of the things we’ve learned this year. We’ve been looking back over all our old blog posts and remembering the fun experiences we’ve had. As we brainstormed subjects for a new blog post we realized: there are many things we’ve done that we haven’t blogged about! We don’t write blog posts about everything we do, but we do take a lot of pictures, so here’s a Smilebox showing some of the things that haven’t been featured on the blog.
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This week we are learning about engineering. We learned that there are many types of engineers, like computer engineers, aerospace engineers, and industrial engineers. Before we started talking about engineering most of us thought that engineers were builders, but we learned that actually engineers are designers. They figure out how to put things together so that they will work better.
Groups of three students were given 20 marshmallows, 20 gumdrops and 20 spaghetti noodles, and were asked told to build a tower as high as we could. They catch was that we could talk for five minutes during the design process. but we were not allowed to talk at all during the building process! It was hard to build without talking, especially when our ideas didn’t work out exactly the way we had planned.
After the activity we talked about some of the challenges we encountered:
As the towers got taller, they got heavier because of the gumdrops we used to hold them together, and the heavier towers started to collapse.
We thought it would be good to start with a cube as a base, but the towers fell over as soon as we added to them.
Here’s a video trailer showing our work.
On Wednesday we learned about geodesic domes. We noticed during the spaghetti tower challenge that triangular bases were the most sturdy, and a geodesic dome is made of triangles, which makes the structure stable. We followed the same instructions Mrs. Hamman’s class used last year. Here are some pictures of our work.
On Friday we learned about potential and kinetic energy as we designed and built popsicle stick chain reactions. Here’s a good tutorial if you want to learn how to build your own:
If you became an engineer, what kind would you like to be?
Do you know what STEM stands for?
At our school we’ve been talking about feeling proud about something you’ve accomplished. We definitely feel proud that we found all the Mystery Classes! We wrote in this blog post about how we worked to find them. It took a lot of effort and perseverance to figure out all the clues. In fact, we struggled over Mystery Class 8 until the last day of the contest, when a small group finally figured out it was in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
This was such a fun project! We enjoyed learning about the changing seasons and the cultures of so many interesting places.
Here is the actual list of classes, courtesy of Journey North. Have you heard of all these cities?
April 22 is Earth Day! All year we have been reading and learning about Earth Day and what we can do to help the environment.
One thing we have been talking about is the amount of paper we use. Just about every week, our recycling bin looks like this:
Then we put it in the big recycling can in our building, which soon looks like this:
Now, we know that recycling paper is good for the environment. However, earlier this year we learned from Miss Evelyn from Keep Phoenix Beautiful that the most important of the 3 R’s is Reduce. We should be trying harder to reduce the amount of paper we use in the first place. We decided that this week, we would try not to use any paper at all! Here are some of the things we did.
Writing without paper is easy. We just typed our writing into documents using Google Drive.
During Read to Self, we used iPads and Leappads, or read blogs and books online.
We used page protectors and dry erase markers to practice our math facts.
We used iPads a lot during math. In this picture, we’re using the iPads for a QR code scavenger hunt to help us practice identifying types of lines and angles.
We have been practicing annotating text in reading, and we weren’t sure how to do that without using paper. We decided to take paper copies of the passages we were reading and put them in page protectors. Then we annotated using dry erase markers. That way the same papers can be reused over and over again.
When we needed to take a test, we entered our answers on responders.
We even took our weekly spelling test online, by typing our words into Spelling City.
It was Secretaries’ Day this week, too. Usually we make cards for our school secretaries, and we weren’t sure how to show our appreciation for them without using paper! We came up with the idea of using cardstock that a local business had used for its displays and then donated to our school. We reused the paper by cutting them into petal shapes, writing notes on them and putting them together into a flower (here is where we got this idea).
We had a great paperless week, and we are excited to see if we can continue this until the end of the school year!
Have you ever tried to go paperless in your classroom?
What did you do for Earth Day?