Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Collaboratively Working to Create a Colony

Earlier this quarter, our students studied the early English settlements and the many challenges they faced. After great discussions around why some settlements survive and some did not, the students had the opportunity to create their own colony. To begin this work, the students started the note taking process- they worked with their colony group to outline their motivation for colonizing, write a charter, and decide on the supplies they'll be taking on their journey.

Difficult decisions had to be made when the groups realized they could only carry 200lbs. of supplies with them.

The groups then chose a location, the responsibilities of all colonists, and looked at the necessary security and safety of their colonists. Diagramming their settlement and designing a flag was also done prior to work on their presentation.

Collaboration was key when it came to making their colony a success! Angela and I were super excited about their enthusiasm towards this inquiry project, and really impressed with the conversations we heard in their small groups.

~ Kate

Friday, May 1, 2015

S.T.E.M. Challenge Exploring Volume!

We are just finishing up one of our Geometry units in math workshop.  This unit looked at standards around coordinate grids, volume, and area. The students will be completing their learning models and final assessment next week.

To have a little fun on this Friday morning, Angela and I decided to spend today's workshop tackling a STEM activity exploring volume. This creative and fun challenge came from CDavis @ Teachers are Terrific. She has amazing STEM activities on her Teachers pay Teachers store. Be sure to check them out! 

We began our mini lesson by reading Tomie de  Paola’s book-The Popcorn Book. This nonfiction book presents a variety of facts about popcorn and helped us set the stage for our volume activity. Our students were faced with the challenge of designing and building a container that would hold EXACTLY 293 pieces of popped popcorn. The groups were given a sample sizes of 10. This small amount of popcorn helped them estimate volumes and construct a container for the larger amount. Each group was given a roll of tape, scissors, a ruler, stapler, and unlimited pieces of paper. Then they were asked to use their knowledge of volume to work together and create the vessel. 

With 40 minutes on the clock, the kids were off and constructing! They used a lab sheet to plan out their groups' thinking and to sketch their possible ideas and final design. While the groups collaborated and created, they snacked on popcorn and got to constructing! 

In the end, two of our vessels met the challenge and successfully held all of the popcorn with little to no room to spare. We had an additional 4 vessels that came very close to meeting the challenge. They had an inch or less at the top!