October 1, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman

Wonder: Our Favorite Precepts


Our class read aloud for first quarter has been the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. It’s the kind of book that makes you think, but it also makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next. We’ll probably be a little sorry when it ends in a few days!

As we’ve been reading we’ve also been learning a lot about literature. We’ve learned about:

  • Point of view: the book is all written in first person, but there are multiple narrators so we get to hear different points of view.
  • Elements of plot: we’re now reading the resolution of the story.
  • Character development: we’ve seen how characters can change and grow through the course of book, while still keeping their major traits.
  • Theme: we’ve discussed how a book can have more than one theme, and how the message, lesson or moral may be different depending on the reader.

In Wonder, the main character has a teacher named Mr. Browne. Every month Mr. Browne introduces a precept, which he defines as “rules about really important things”, or words that help guide the choices people make.  Some of them are famous quotes and others are written by the characters in the book. It’s been interesting for our class to discuss the precepts as they come up in the book.

R.J. Palacio just released a new book called 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s PreceptsWe’ve started exploring the precepts in this new book, choosing our favorites and writing some of our own. Some of us made Haiku Decks to show the ones we like the best.

Andrew – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Naomi – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Ciara – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Aiden – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Falicity – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Irlanda – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Adrien – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Our next read aloud will be The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm. We’re looking forward to connecting with others while we’re reading that one, since it’s one of the choices for for Global Read Aloud 2014!

What is your favorite precept?

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September 30, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Fraction Nation

Last Saturday a group of students came to our classroom to learn more about creating videos. We made green screen videos and stop motion videos, and learned how to edit in some special effects. Look for some examples of our new skills as we make videos to share our learning throughout the year!

One site we liked was called GoAnimate. It lets you create animated videos with your own characters. Eva made one to advertise a math game we’re going to be starting soon, Fraction Nation. Check it out below!

Fraction Nation by Hamman Team5 on GoAnimate


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September 23, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman

Oreo Project 2014

It’s time for the OREO Project! This project connects us with other classes around the country and world who are talking about math using OREO cookies.

This year we divided into four groups to do our two official attempts at stacking, then just for fun we did a round-robin style tournament where the winners from each group went against each other. Congratulations to Darren, the winner of the tournament!

Then we did some calculations about our results. We determined that the mode of our data was 18, the median was17, and the mean was 16.65. Our highest stack overall was 20. In Mr. Maijala’s class next door, the highest was 22. We’re going to have to ask them about the techniques they used to get their stacks higher!

In our groups we did some more math with the nutritional data of Oreos. Did you know:

  • There are more calories in a serving of regular Oreos than in a serving of Double Stuff. However, if you read the package carefully, you’ll see a “serving” of regular Oreos is 3 cookies, while a serving of Double Stuff is only 2!
  • There are approximately 2,800 calories in an entire package of Double Stuff Oreos. That’s about 40% more calories than you’re supposed to eat in a whole day!
  • A serving of regular Oreos contains 10% of the daily requirement of iron. You’d have to eat 30 cookies to get your whole daily requirement—probably not a good idea! We noticed there is more iron in regular Oreos than Double Stuff, so we assumed the iron must be in the cookie part and not the filling.
  • One serving of regular Oreos contains 8% of the daily allowance of sodium. If you ate 12.5 servings, or 37.5 cookies, you would reach 100% of your daily allowance of sodium.

Many of us in this class did the Oreo stacking two years ago, and we noticed that our stacks this year were overall much shorter than the ones from that year; we had several stacks of over 20 that year and our highest was 25. We wondered why that was. Do you think something about the cookie design could have changed in the past two years? Some of us thought that we are just less patient than we were when we were third graders! We’re curious to watch the results page and see how the data from other classes matches our results.

Did you participate in the Oreo Project?


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September 18, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

The Peace Crane Project

peace crane project

Did you know that September 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace? This year we found a great way to learn about and celebrate the Day of Peace.

We are participating in the Peace Crane Project. Earlier this year we read the true story of Sadako, the Japanese girl who became sick after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima in World War II (you can read the story of Sadako on traditional Japanese kamishibai cards here). We learned that the origami paper cranes she made in the hospital have come to symbolize the wish for peace in the world. Through the Peace Crane Project, kids all over the world exchange origami cranes and learn a little bit about one another. We sign a pledge to help make the world a more peaceful place.

We became partners with Lalaji Memorial Omega International School in Chennai, India. We learned to fold origami cranes by watching a video on the Peace Crane Project website, and soon we had over 50 of them made! Here is a Snapguide showing the steps we followed to fold the cranes:

Check out How to Fold an Origami Crane by Shauna Hamman on Snapguide.

Then we wrote poems and letters for our partners in India. They had asked us several questions about our school, and one of them was, “What is special about your school?” Here’s one of our responses:

We are proud of our school and our community. We are a Four Peaks family.We here at our school have a saying: ”Four Peaks pride is hard to hide.” We also have wonderful teachers that will do anything to keep us safe. We have lots of technology to help us learn. We have a giant playground to play on. We also see a lot of critters like javelinas, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and all kinds of interesting insects. Our school mascot is a desert animal, the roadrunner. We think our school is a very special place.


After we finished our letters, we packaged them up with our cranes and sent them off to India! We hope they have a safe trip, and can’t wait to hear back from our new friends! You can click on this link to see a map showing all the classes that are participating in the Peace Crane Project. Can you find our class flag?

Are you doing anything to celebrate the International Day of Peace?


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September 9, 2014
by Mrs. Hamman

A Math Question

In math class we learn all kinds of new things, but we really like it when we come across math problems that relate to real life. That’s why we love the site 101 Questions. It has pictures and videos of  things you might see in real life. We like to find an interesting picture, then think of math questions to solve that relate to that picture.

One of the pictures we saw on 101 Questions recently made us think! (This picture was also posted on Yummy Math, another awesome math site.) Here is the picture:

"Soda Santa" by Brian Marks is licensed under CC-NC-BY 3.0

Soda Santa” by Brian Marks is licensed under CC-NC-BY 3.0

Have you ever seen a display like that at the grocery store? Most of us have. Looking at this picture made us think of a lot of math questions. In fact, within a few minutes we had brainstormed a list of over 50 questions about that one picture! Some of our questions were:

  • How tall is it?
  • How long would it take one person to make? What about two people?
  • How many calories are in all of the soda?
  • How much did it all cost? What if it was on sale? What if only certain brands were on sale?
  • What size of a truck would you need to transport all of it?
  • If you took all the empty cans to the recycling center, how much money would you make?
  • How long would it take one person  to drink all of the soda?

After we brainstormed we voted on which question we actually wanted to answer, and the question about how long it would take to drink was the winner.

Then we had to decide how to answer that question. The first thing we had to do was figure out how many boxes were in the picture. We realized that a quick way of counting would be to figure out the areas of the rectangular sections. (We won’t tell you the amount we came up with in case you want to do this problem yourself!) After we figured out the amount of boxes, we multiplied that by 12 to figure out the amount of individual cans.

Then we had to figure out how long it would take to drink all those cans. We realized that we would have to use some estimation, since different people would drink at different rates. We also realized that different types of different soda (like diet vs. non-diet) probably would take different times to drink, and it would make a difference whether or not the soda was cold or room temperature, or whether you poured it into a cup, or whether you used a straw…

For our problem, we decided to all drink one kind of soda (Sprite) at one temperature (cold), out of a can, and without a straw. We chose 12 people to time while they drank a can; we told them not to race, but to drink it at their regular rate. As we suspected, there was a large range in our times. The longest time was just over 13 minutes, and the shortest time was under 45 seconds!

photo (5)

To make the times easier to work with, we converted all the times to seconds and rounded the decimals to hundredths of a second. Then we had to decide what time to use for our math problem. Some of us wanted to use the mean, while others wanted to use the median. Because we are learning to divide with decimals, Mrs. Hamman thought finding the mean would be good practice, so that’s what we did.

Then there were only a couple of steps left! We multiplied the number of cans by our mean, then converted our answer into other time intervals. Are you curious about our final answer?

By our calculations (rounded to the nearest hundredth), if one person drank all that soda at the same rate and didn’t stop, it would take that one person…

1,299,590.16 seconds,

OR 21,659.84 minutes,

OR 361.00 hours,

OR 15.04 days,

OR 2.15 weeks

to drink all that soda!

If you like to make up your own math problems, you should check out 101 Questions and Yummy Math. If you’d like to see lots more creative displays at grocery stores, here’s a fun Flickr group!

Does the Soda Santa picture make you think of any other math questions?

In the part of the U.S.A. where we live, most people call carbonated drinks like the ones in the picture “soda”. What do they call them where you live?


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