June 12

Camp Illawonga 2017

We were busy packing on the weekend. There was a lot to bring to school!

Mickey courtesy of Tumblr

Week six had finally arrived. The day we had been waiting for since we started in grade three.

We were going …. Camping!

Yay.

Most of Mrs Woolford’s year 3/4 class would be joining our excited campers. We left our families for three days and two nights. Would they survive without us? They would just have to be brave. But it was okay if some parents needed extra hugs good-bye.

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We had a long two hour journey to get to Camp Illawonga in Swan Reach, which would be our new home for the next few days. Thankfully the coach had comfortable seats and seatbelts.

Map from Illawonga home page

The road trip was fabulous, but travelling made us hungry, so we stopped to stretch our legs, have a bite to eat and of course have a little playtime. Angaston was the perfect place.

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Another short ride, well sort of …… and we were soon settled into our dormitories at camp. Our class was on lunch duty so it was straight to work. Yum … Tacos.

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Mark, the Camp Leader, gave us a lot of information and instructions about being safe for our stay and expectations around the camp site. Soon it was back on another bus for a short ride. We were crossing the Murray River on the punt to visit The Murray Aquaculture Centre. This was an interesting place where we learnt about almond farming and yabbies.

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That was fun because we also had a challenge  to see which team would catch the most yabbies. Yabby catching sounded simple enough, but there were some tricks to learn…… patience.

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The girls were Yabby catching heroes, how did they do it!

The sun was going down, and it was getting cooler, but there was still so much to do… more duty groups for tea.

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After our delicious meal, we went into the gym for some outrageously exciting fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the still camera!… But trust us, we worked up an appetite for a yummy supper with twisting and jumping, turning and rolling, hanging and falling…… before it was time to hit the sack. We had a huge day planned so we needed our beauty sleep.

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Some of us slept soundly. Poor little Scarlett.

Up and at em, the next morning was quite eerie. A mysterious fog crept in, it threatened to hide the sun… but we found it.

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Lucky the Sun burnt off the fog by the time we were ready for our river cruise. We needed our floatation devices before we could walk down to the boat.

While we went on the cruise, the other groups went on a caving expedition and a Safari ride. We would all rotate activities throughout the camp. Once again, I left the still camera behind for the cruise… but I remembered it for the ride to the caves.

Those hard hats were fabulous protection, without them I think we would all be a little shorter!

After that adventure we had a short bushwalking to a HUGE river red gum. That tree was so big we just fit around it! We had enormous fun building Tepees with all the twigs and sticks lying around.

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Each time we visited the river, it meant a short but steep 400m walk down a gravel path… naturally we had to walk back up too. That was tiring, luckily Ellen makes us do fitness each week so it was a piece of cake.

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We needed to get back to camp quickly, as we had to get ready for an exciting adventure at Sunny Dale sheep farm.

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What a whip cracking great time we had. We really earned our tea that night. In fact some us sang after supper! Karaoke was so much fun, we have stars in the making. Stay tuned for the videos.

It was a perfect night for a camp fire.. but oh,we forgot to sing a Letter from Camp! Still the planets were smiling for us in the night sky. Then of course the marshmallows needed toasting… yum.

Time for bed, it was a big day indeed and it isn’t over, there’s more to come. To bed!

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Getting up wasn’t that easy, lots to pack and clean up before breakfast and be ready for our last activities. I missed the Safari ride, but I did managed to check out archery. We had some bullseyes. Bravo.

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All too soon we needed to pack the bus and say our goodbyes to Mark and the team. Camp was the best. Three cheers for Illawonga.

We reckon it was sad to leave, but we were glad to get back home to our loving families too. Thanks to our brave Dad, Shane Brow who gave up his time to help with the boys and group C.

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Dear Families,

Apart from a few sore tummies, there were no problems just loads of fun and learning. Thank you so much for allowing me to borrow your precious ones for those few days, we have some wonderful memories. Stay tuned for some great videos the kids will be working on. I might have a go too.

Warm regards, Ellen

April 2

Harmony Day – Everyone Belongs

This year Ellen was at a maths conference and missed celebrating Harmony Day at Grange. But Thankfully Mrs Tunney our relief teacher captured some of the events that our class were involved in.

Traditionally we transform the school by simply changing the colour of our clothes. The colour for Harmony Day is orange, so we could wear orange for the day. If we did, a gold coin was donated which we send to support our World Vision sponsored child.

We had an harmonious assembly where classes shared work about diversity, tolerance and inclusivity. Australia is our home and like our class, there are many nationalities that live together. Harmony then, becomes an important concept to understand and practice.

We all worked hard to write acrostic poems using the ideas from our brainstorm on how to let everyone belong. We were able to decorate and publish them before Mrs Tunney put them up on display.

Giving people compliments and acknowledging the kind and helpful things they do is an important part of showing respect. Lending someone a hand when they need it is a simple act, but very powerful.

The class was asked to trace around their hand and write a message of gratitude  when someone included, helped or supported them.

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Once decorated, they passed their messages on.

I hope you enjoyed the activities on the day. Happy Harmony Day everyone.

Somethings to think about.

What did you think about the events of Harmony Day?

What things have you done to include others?

How has someone helped you out?

Do you think we should celebrate Harmony Day? Why or why not.

 

 

April 1

Classifying living things

As scientists, our job is to record our observations. So before we began investigating our topic for this term, we brushed up on our scientific drawing skills. Ellen gave us an interesting specimen to look at closely and we had a go at drawing the object with as much detail as we could. We added labels another helpful notes.

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Our Topic for investigation this term has been

Feather, Fur or Leaves

We began by checking out a scientists journal entry. Were things living or not?  Was it an insect? Was it an animal or plant? How could we tell? Did we agree with the observations and recordings? Why? Why not? Questions, questions…?scientists should always questions. That also makes them think of answers, so we should be able to give an explanation of why we think what we do too.

We shared and recorded our ideas of these journal entries in different groups according to our understanding.

 We thought our explanations were quite thoughtful, given the limited information.

 

We got excited by the different specimens that we compared, so we set up our own nature table.

Phoebe’s Grandmother bought her a Venus fly trap to observe, Phoebe kindly added it to our collection.

 

Taxonomy anyone?

So what do you call it when a scientist sorts out stuff? We sorted lots of living things into two groups plants and animals. There seemed to be a lot of animals, they couldn’t all belong to one group, could they?

We were given some animals cards and in groups we stared looking at similar features. We made a list of features we could use to separate animals into groups.

We shared our thinking with the class.

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It is hard to be a complete expert and remember everything, so having tools to help makes our life easier. We were introduced to a branching key. That unlocked the door to any problems we had.

By answering yes no questions, we could slowly refine our search until we had the exact group. For example.. Start at the first question…

This animal, Does it have bones in its body. No Does it have a hard body. Yes Does it have antennae. Yes Does it have more than two antennae? No Does it have six legs? No -its a Myriapod

We had a go using more animal cards. It was quite challenging. How do you know the answers, sometimes we went down the wrong path?

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Time to collect some real animals and put the table into action. We set up an investigation. Searching for animals groups in the leaf litter at Grange School. To get us on track, we predicted what we thought we might see. To be fully prepared, we read our procedure carefully, making sure we had everything we needed. For a successful investigation we all needed to know our jobs, so it was time to negotiate.

 

But wait, field work can be hazardous. So we armed ourselves with eye protection and wore gloves in case of any bites. We were ready to go out and collect a couple of scoops of leaf litter to see what animals we would find.

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Back in the laboratory, or the classroom as we usually refer to it, we looked closely at our leaf litter and checked out what specimens we could identify. Then we needed to work out which animal group it belonged to.

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We found a variety of things living under the leaf litter such as:- millipedes, ants, spiders, worms, bugs, moths, caterpillars. Each team recorded their own….eg.

Using the branching key we discovered that there were only four animal groups. We made a table to record this information and the total animals found in each group..

Making a Claim – stating a case

Tables are useful tools to help sort out information. From this we have evidence and can make a claim.

We claim that there are many different animal groups found in the leaf litter at Grange Primary School. We also claim that it is highly likely that you would find myriapods such as millipedes and slaters, as well as insects such as ants and beetles. We know this because in our total samples there were more myriapods and insects, compared to the small amounts of annelids and arachnids found.

We also thought that there were variables (things that might change our results) such as rain, time of day and time of year might effect which animal groups we would find.

 

What did you think of our unit?

Questions for you to answer and let me know how you felt about science this term.

What did you like most about this unit?

What didn’t you like?

What questions do you still have?

How could you solve some of the team issues you experienced in the research?

Which scientists do you believe would need to investigate in the field or use tools such as a branching key or table?

 

 

 

 

December 13

End of Year Celebratory Team Lunch

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Tuesday is traditionally Party Day here at Grange Primary School. A time for classes to have their end of year class parties and have a fun day. Given we are a class that works together, thinks together and acts together. This day was not going to be an ordinary class party!

Ellen actually doesn’t do “class parties”, instead this was a chance for teams to get together to organise a festive shared lunch. To be a collaborative effort it meant that there was lots of negotiating, discussing and organising. As our school doesn’t endorse red foods, the menu needed to be healthy and foods that all team members could eat. Mind you as it was also a celebration, one red food per team was permitted (choose wisely).

There was lots of decision making as they realised planning menus can be tough, some members had allergies or were fussy eaters. Now they know the dilemma parents regularly face! This was also not a time to put demands on parents to cater, food needed to be organised or made by the students too.

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Being nearly Christmas, they could bring decorative utensils, write up menus, placemats and bring other festive additions. I challenged them to turn our room into a festive restaurant. They were brilliant with their division of jobs and all teams worked well together to assemble a great healthy lunch with a spectacular Christmas theme.

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We had won the Golden bin award for keeping our yard area tidy the week before, so we started the day using the sports equipment for some out door fun. But it was a really hot day, so we ended up back in the cool for some of our favourite co operative games.

  • Door Keeper ( that was a new one)
  • Prisoners and Guards
  • Freeze frame
  • The Queen of Hearts is dead!
  • Countries

Oh what fun they are we were in stitches at times. Then it was time to set up. Teams were very busy working collaboratively together. Take a look.

We even asked a neighbouring teacher to judge their efforts and he found it very difficult as the creative spirit was every where. So we decided everyone was a winner today.

After a quick efficient cleanup and our lunch play we settled back to watch the BFG.

Congratulations my lovely elves you did a fabulous job working , thinking and acting together. I am proud of you the best shared lunch by far.

What did you enjoy the most about today.

What would you do differently?

If you could change the movie which one would you pick.

December 1

Were we Lost in Space?

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In term three and four our science topic had to do with What creates day and night, so it made sense to also investigate other cosmic ideas. We had enormous fun investigating these science ideas. We had a go at recording what we thought happened in space, before learning new information.

To begin with, we had to get our heads around the different ways things move in space. You would think that we would know if we were spinning and moving on Earth, as we live here, but oh no!  Our eyes can play tricks on us and our brains often get tricked too. This great Crash Course Kids clip on how the Earth moves, did help us clarify a few misconceptions.

 

Trying to understand the differences between and remember, rotation, revolution, orbit did make our heads spin.

So next it was our turn to investigate these celestial bodies for ourselves and really see things in action.

Space is REALLY, REALLY BIG and Things in space are really big and it’s hard to get our heads to understand that. We used these relative sizes pictures to understand that size is indeed relative. That means compared to each other. Ellen is bigger than us, we are small, but compared to a baby we are giants! The Moon is big, but Earth is bigger and when we looked at the Sun, it was the biggest… or was it? Check these out.

Still, hard to get our brains to think of anything that BIG! But distance in space can affect the size of what we see too.

So getting back to the three objets we were studying Sun, Earth and Moon we checked out their sizes. We used a basketball for the Sun, tennis ball for the Moon in this activity. Using our eyes to measure and working in teams we took turns to see how far the Sun would have to be moved away, so that the Moon and the Sun appeared the same size to the observer.

Now I told them that even though we know the Sun is enormous, it is also far away and that it appeared the same size as a full Moon in the sky. Just as their basketball looked the same as the tennis ball from their activity… they weren’t convinced.

It was time to prove it to them. Luckily I had my eclipse glasses and making sure they operated within the safety rules, they each checked out just how small the Sun actually looked in the sky.. it really is no bigger than a full Moon.  Cool!  Amazing, they even saw the Sunspots.

So it is true, the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size! Incidentally that’s why we get Solar eclipses. These are fascinating events indeed. If ever you can, be in the path of totality.

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What do Shadows tell us?

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Well a lot really and it turned out we already knew a lot about shadows.

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Ah, so now it was time to investigate light and shadows. It was tricky to get our room dark enough, but we experimented with torches and making shadows. Some of us were exceptionally talented at shadow puppetry.

From our observations, we reconfirmed many of our scientific ideas about how light works and what created a shadow. Light does travel in a straight line and anything getting in the way of the ray of light blocked it, creating a shadow. This gave us lots of information to get us thinking of what we could investigate.

Getting back to the sun and the shadows we saw around the school, we decided to set out an investigation on how these shadows in the school changed over the day.

In our teams we planned to go out every hour on the hour and measure the length of a gnomon. ( shadow stick, much like a sundial) Each team found a sunny spot. Lined the gnomon/poster to the North with a compass and set about recording the time and length of the shadows cast by the gnomon throughout the day.

Eventually with shared team work, our boards looked a little like this.

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Once we had all our recorded observations, we could look at the information closely and see if we noticed any thing interesting. This is called analysing data.

In our teams once a gain we set about analysing the information . We discussed our ideas and made our claims based on the data.

To make our observations clearer, we organised them into a table and from that, we could create a graph.

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This graphic record made it easier for us read and come up with some claims and conclusions it was the proof and evidence we needed.

We claimed that:-

Shadows changed length over the day long to short then long again.

That when the Sun is low in the sky, the shadows are longer and when it is high in the sky, the shadow are shorter.

The Sun moved from East to West over the sky because the shadows moved West East.

Our Conclusions

We know that the Sun is in the Centre of the Solar System. It rotates but doesn’t move. So that meant the Sun didn’t move, it was Earth’s rotation that made it look like the Sun was moving.

earth_bca3

So as the Sun continues to shine light and we know the Earth spins once every 24 hours. We get day when we face towards the Sun and we are in night when we are in the shadow of Earth.

But we also know that we are orbiting the Sun and as we go on our year long journey around the Sun, we take our Moon with us. That combination of rotations and orbits does get our heads dizzy thinking about it.

earth-sun-orbit-animation

 

Understanding how all this works is tricky, but we enjoyed learning about our near celestial neighbours and working scientifically.

We also had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on a topic to do with space. We had a great variety of themes planets, rockets, space travel, famous astronauts etc. These were well researched and shared confidently for the most part.

Space Art

For a creative challenge, we could make an alien from plasticine and perhaps their pet, if they had one.

What do you think of our modelling skills?

Somethings to think about.

What did you think of this science unit?

What didn’t you like investigating?

What would you like to do more of?

What are you still puzzled about and would like to learn more about?

Would you like to work in space?