We returned from observing Veterans Day and so this week will be a four-day week, Next week will have just two days and then we will celebrate Thanksgiving Break.
In literacy, we took a break from the social studies tie-in to spend a week (and into next week) doing opinion writing. I first did a mini-lesson on fact vs.. opinion. A fact is something that can be proven, a verifiable truth. An opinion is something felt, thought, liked/disliked, etc. The key give-away words for an opinion: ought to, would, could, should, good, bad, best, worst, mediocre , etc.
Students then were given the task of writing an opinion piece on whether turkey should be the main part of a Thanksgiving meal. They were to plan it out and write to convince the reader - one way or the other. Today their task was mainly to do the first part of the writing process: plan/prewrite. This stage of the writing process is about getting basic ideas down lest one forgets. The only right way is the one that works for the individual student. This can include a flow map, outline, list, etc.
In science, the students were asked if they noticed that most healthy cereals contain iron, along with other vitamins and minerals. The question that was given to them is: using their existing knowledge of magnetism, how could they determine the iron content of a cereal sample?
After having them discuss the idea and how to go about doing it, we did our experiment. Each pair of students was given a ziplock sandwich bag, a handful of Bran Flakes, a piece of white copy paper, and a magnet.
The task: crush the cereal into as fine a powder as possible - the finer the better. Then, opening the sandwich bag they carefully poured the powder onto the paper.. Next,, the students placed the magnet close to the crushed cereal and into it as well. If the experiment was a success, the magnet should have picked up small back particles - iron!
But,to determine how much requires an extra step and this one I decided to demonstrate. But, if anyone wishes to do this at home, here is what I did:
1) Carefully pour the powder back into the sandwich bag and fill it about halfway with water, preferably warm water.
2) Carefully seal the bag and gently swish the liquid around until the cereal powder has dissolved.
3) Gently insert the magnet into the bag (if your magnet has a handle, carefully move it around without spilling the liquid; if your magnet does not have a handle, you can drop it in the bag and reseal it).
4) Then, I examined the magnet's surface and looked for iron bits.