On this leap day, we began a mini-project in science that involves creativity while using the knowledge that the students already have. But first, we had to do a warm-up in preparation for Thursday's quiz. The quiz will have 14 multiple choice questions and will be in the usual bubble-in format. I like using that because not only do they get good practice for the End-of-Grade tests in May (three months away!!!) but I can score the quiz immediately and give instant feedback.
Before doing the mini-project, I showed the students the following short video from TigTag.
This week the students will be spending their time in science being creative while using the knowledge that they already have. The task: design their own prehistoric animal. It is more than just drawing! They have to come up it its appearance with as much detail as possible. They have to invent details such as its habitat, whether it lives in a warm or cold climate, its predators and prey (and natural enemies), its food (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore), natural defense(s), height, color, weight, etc. Below is what the students saw on the screen.
Reminder: tomorrow is an early release day. This time students will dismiss at 2:15. All classes will be in session though for a shorter duration.
On this last day of the last full week of February, we are getting into the fossils section of the Earth History unit. There will be a quiz on ...
Yesterday the students took notes for the first part of the Earth History unit and they are contained within the unit's syllabus. The syllabus is a work-in-progress (like the others before it and the ones to come) and I update it when new resources or ideas come my way.
I am still working on the unit study guide. The unit test will most likely be Friday, March 18th or it might be moved back a day to the 17th. This is still quite tentative since this is just the beginning of the unit and I need to see where the students are and if they need more time to get the concepts mastered. I will definitely keep parents informed via this blog, the calendar, the Facebook page, and my weekly email.
Today's warm-up already incorporated what was covered in the notes.
Afterwards, we reviewed the notes and then watched Bill Nye the Science Guy. Before the video, each student was given a copy of the handout. This handout was basically a quiz on the contents of the video and were answered as they watched it. It did allow them about five minutes prior to showing the video
Today we began our new unit in science, Earth History. It is comprised of two main sections: fossils and Earth changes both slow and fast. We began with notes for the fossils section of the unit. I have also posted the new syllabus on its page and study guide on the Notes and Study Guides page.
We began with two ungraded warm-ups to get the students started on the topic.
Afterwards, the students took notes. This was an abbreviated day since we had Dr. Recess do an assembly as well as a special recess towards the end of the day.
Fossil - preserved parts or traces of animals and plants that lived in the past
Model – a limited representation of something that can help us understand its structure or how it works
Imprint - a mark or depression made by pressure
Nature – the physical world
· Fossils are typically preserved when they are buried under many layers of sand and mud. Under great pressure the sand and mud become sedimentary rock.
· Most fossils are found in sedimentary rock
· Fossils are evidence of living organisms that once existed on Earth
· Fossils can be compared to other known fossils or to living organisms
· Fossils share some characteristics based on where, how and from what they formed
· Fossil formation is very rare since most dead organisms decay
· Today’s live organisms will under the right conditions leave fossil evidence
· Some organisms that lived long ago are similar to existing organisms, but some are quite different
Extinct - when a plant or animal species has died out and there are no more living members
Amber - a fossil resin formed from hardened tree sap that is yellow, orange, red, or brown. It is the only thing that preserved whole animals.
Paleontologist – a scientist who studies fossils to learn about prehistoric organisms
I am working on a nice study guide that I am hoping to have completed soon. It will be for the entire unit but it doesn't hurt to have it available now.
Lastly, as I type this while the students are at specials (3:19 pm), we are in the midst of a power outage. Thankfully, the WiFi remains on throughout the building as well as emergency lighting. Hopefully this will get resolved soon.
Today while the students were making up/retaking the science test, the others did an enrichment activity. Of course, I still have a warm-up to keep skills fresh.
Afterwards, the students were given the opportunity to use STEM skills, imagination, and creativity. With this group, that is definitely not a problem! The scenario deals with a hypothetical crash landing on the moon and a list of materials that survived the crash. The task: prioritize the materials in order of necessity based on the realities of the moon's surface conditions. The crash occurred about 100 km (60 miles) from the lunar base so the astronauts will have to walk the distance. They can only carry so much hence the need to prioritize.
Some items are useless so this requires students to use their prior scientific knowledge. For example, while a box of matches can start a fire to provide badly needed warmth in an environment where the night time temperature averages -200°C/-328°F, there is no oxygen. No oxygen = no fire; no fire = no need for matches (plus, what is there to burn?).
Here is a downloadable copy:
Afterwards, we continued with social studies. Tomorrow there will be a reading-based assignment in social studies to incorporate literacy skills which truly are crucial.