January 21, 2016
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

#ThrowbackThursday: Mission US

Mission US is always a favorite activity in fifth grade. Students in Mrs. Hamman’s class first wrote about the game way back in August of 2011! Since this year’s class started playing the game today, we are republishing an excerpt of that older post.

Exploring the the American Revolution

In fifth grade, we study the geography and history of the United States in social studies. We’ve been learning about life in the colonies just before the American Revolution. We found a great way to experience what life was life back then through Mission US, an interactive, multimedia adventure.

Mrs. Hamman taught us some background information to explain the first mission of the game, which is called “For Crown or Colony?” After that we all got on our netbooks to explore the game. In the simulation, you play the part of Nathaniel Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in Boston in 1770. Through the tasks Nathaniel has to perform, you get to meet real people who lived in Boston. You learn about the Loyalists and the Patriots and get to make decisions about who to trust and which side to support. The game introduced us to many primary sources, or actual documents and objects that were created during the time period. We’ve learned that when studying history looking for primary sources is important, so that you know the information you get is reliable.

We recorded our comments after playing the game:

What is one new piece of information you learned from playing Mission US?

January 19, 2016
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Before the American Revolution

In Social Studies we’ve been learning about the events that led to the American Revolution. We’ve learned that the Revolution was not caused by just one thing, but by a series of events. We’ve studied the French and Indian War and the various conflicts between the colonists and the British. Here are three activities we did to help us understand these events.

Taxation Without Representation Role Play

Members of the class were given “money” (a small cup of candies). Three students were chosen to serve as the King and his two Tax Collectors. The King started passing “taxes” that affected some class members, but not others; for example, if you had laces on your shoes, the tax collectors took three of your candies, or if you were wearing glasses, they took two. After a few turns we could see how unfair it must have seemed to the colonists when they had to pay taxes whenever the King asked, especially since they had no representatives who could speak for them in Parliament!

Sons of Liberty

We read that the Sons of Liberty had to do a lot of communicating in secret. When they scheduled a meeting, they would fly a red flag from the liberty pole in town. We practiced being Sons of Liberty by getting into groups and building liberty poles with the supplies we were given. The catch was that we had to do all the building in complete silence! It was hard, but it helped us see how the Sons of Liberty had to be careful not to give away their plans.

Boston Massacre

We learned that there was a trial after the Boston Massacre, and there were lots of conflicting opinions about what really happened that night. We went through a series of clues from the scene and read actual witness statements from the trial to compare them. We also studied the famous engraving made by Paul Revere. After we looked at everything, we had to form an opinion about who was most at fault, the colonists or the British soldiers, and write up a report about it.

Here is a Flipagram showing pictures of these activities.

Attribution: Here are links to the original sources on which these three activities were based: Taxation Without Representation Role Play by Kristine Nannini, Sons of Liberty by Mind Missions, Boston Massacre by To Engage Them All.

Next week, we’ll start Mission 1: For Crown or Colony, from Mission US!


December 8, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Abraham Lincoln and The Gettysburg Address

The Angle, Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, PA
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Pat Henson via Compfight
The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was given by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, on November 19, 1863. We read that this year was the 150th anniversary of the speech, so we decided to do some research about the speech to learn more about it. Here are some facts we learned:

  • The Gettysburg Address was given at the site of a Civil War battle which was fought July 1-3, 1863. They wanted to dedicate the field in memory of the people who died there.
  • President Lincoln was not the main speaker on that day. The main speech was given by Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours.
  • The Gettysburg Address took only about three minutes to deliver, and was about 272 words long.
  •  There are several hand-written versions of the speech with a few differences in wording. Because there was no video or sound recording back then, no one knows exactly what President Lincoln said on that day. We studied the version of the speech contained in the National Archives.

After we did a close reading of the speech, we tried to memorize parts of it. Almost all of us memorized the first sentence, which says:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

A group of us made a recording of the speech. We thought it was a good opportunity to try out our green screen for the first time this school year!

As we learned about the Gettysburg Address, we also researched information about the life of Abraham Lincoln. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a Traveling Trunk from Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park, in Kentucky. The trunk contained books, games, and reproductions of items Abraham Lincoln would have used during his life. We had a great time exploring the items in the trunk! Here are a few pictures:

The trunk contained replicas of clothing people in Lincoln's time would have worn.

The trunk contained replicas of clothing people in Lincoln’s time would have worn.

There was a set of Lincoln logs in the trunk, which we used to make a model log cabin.

There was a set of Lincoln logs in the trunk, which we used to make a model log cabin.

We learned how families like the Lincolns made “windows” for their log cabins using brown paper and oil. Can you see that the paper becomes translucent?

We learned how families like the Lincolns made “windows” for their log cabins using brown paper and oil. Can you see that the paper becomes translucent?

The trunk even contained a replica of Mr. Lincoln's stovepipe hat!

The trunk even contained a replica of Mr. Lincoln’s stovepipe hat!

What do you know about the leaders of your country?

November 13, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman
1 Comment

New Friends in Honduras

Skype Honduras

Today we had a chance to learn about a different country by going on a Skype visit. Our class got together with Mrs. Carney’s kindergarten class to make a special Skype call.

Mrs. Carney has a sister-in-law who is serving in the U.S. Air Force. Right now she is stationed in Honduras, which is in Central America. She told us about what it is like to live in Honduras, and we made notes of the similarities and differences between Honduras and Arizona. She said that it is warm there right now, like it is in Arizona, but much rainier. One interesting thing she told us is that skunks are a very common sight on their base, so they have to be very careful to avoid them when they are walking at night!

One of her jobs while serving in Honduras is to work with the local people, and they often visit local orphanages. Here is a link which tells about one of the orphanages which they visit. She told us about what it is like at the orphanage and what the kids who live there like to do. It sounds like they enjoy the same types of things we do here, like reading, drawing, playing sports and using computers! We are planning to work with Mrs. Carney’s class to send some letters and cards, in Spanish and English, to the kids who live there. We look forward to making friends with the kids in Honduras!

It was very interesting for us to learn about what it is like to serve in the Air Force and to live in another country. Every time we Skype we learn more about our world!

Have you ever visited another country?

What other countries would you like to visit?

September 26, 2013
by Mrs. Hamman's Class

Messages Through Time: Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs VCDo you know what a petroglyph is? Today we had a video conference with the Minnesota History Center. We learned about a historic site in Minnesota called the Jeffers Petroglyphs. After our conference we all wrote down some of the facts we learned. Here are a few of them:

  • Petro means stone and glyph means picture, so petroglyphs are pictures that are made in stone.
  • Native Americans drew symbols on rocks to tell stories about what was important to them.
  • We know what the symbols mean because of the oral tradition which is still passed on today.
  • Native Americans used tools made of stone, wood and animal bones.
  • They had a tool called an atlatl. It helped them throw an arrow 2.5 times farther than they could by hand.
  • Native Americans drew timelines in the shape of a spiral instead of a straight line.
  • They planted three sisters gardens, which had corn, beans and squash.
  • Many petroglyphs had pictures of buffalo, which the Native Americans used for food and to make clothes, houses and tools.

After we learned about petroglyphs we tried making petroglyphs of our own. We used sand paper and crayons to make drawings of things that are important to us. Here’s a slideshow of our model petroglyphs. Can you tell what our favorite symbols are?

There is a hiking trail close to our school called Hieroglyphic Trail, where you can see real petroglyphs.  Have you ever seen a real petroglyph?

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