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?

 

 

 

 

March 19

Learning the art of Chess

This term we have been fortunate to have Chess expert Alan Goldsmith from Knights & Bytes teaching us all about the game of Chess. He has been teaching Grange kids and staff the skills of how to think logically and strategically  in order to capture the opponent’s King for many years.

Alan taught us about each piece and how to move each piece. We also needed to know how much they were worth if we captured one.

While we knew the information, winning a game is about careful thinking, planning and strategy! We found out it is important to think about the opponents next possible moves. We gave it a go.

 

Alan taught us to read the board as if it was a map and we could move pieces according to their position. for example Q to F4.

Did you know you need to do CPR in chess? That means if you hear that your King is in Check there are three things you should do.

  • C – Capture Can you capture any piece? If you can, then do that and the King is safe, if not then…
  • – Protect Move a piece in to protect the King, if you can, then the King is safe, if not then…
  • – Run The King needs to flee to safety!

Chess is all about protecting the King.

 

But if you want to do some extra chess playing go to www.chesstempo.com that is a site that will teach you exciting strategies.

If you really want to get into more chess then checkout  www.knightsandbytes.com.au   Alan has a host of chess information and activities available for you to peruse.

Next term we are having a chess tournament to find the top players in year three. Will it be you?  Start practicing.

What have you learnt about Chess?

What would you still like to know?

Do you think playing chess is a useful activity? Why, Why not?

February 25

Learning how to say, read and write Big numbers

Reading numbers like this  830 150 753 is a challenge, so where do we start?

Well knowing place value helps. That is looking at the value of a digit and knowing what it is worth by the position in the number.

We have been having a lot of fun learning how to better understand place value. We have learnt the first four places – Thousand Hundred Ten One then we played a game using playing cards. In pairs each player would flip a card and place it in one of those positions. The aim was to make the highest number. The winner was the one who could win five times.

I love it when they explain their mathematical strategies while they are playing, it helps us with our thinking. I reckon sharing how you do work is very helpful to others and ourselves.

This was a great warm up place value activity, then it came to writing these big numbers. First thing we did was to make our own set of arrow cards. These were colour coded for each place value. It took a while to cut everything, but it was worth it.

Go team one

Love the concentration team five

Way to go team three great modelling for others

Once that job was done we could make lots of four digit numbers. So randomly choosing one of each colour, we made 4 digit numbers.

But that’s not all.. No, we learnt that there were three ways you could record a number.  Check this out..

Anita has built the number 7762 with the cards she randomly chose, she can write it 3 ways

  1. Standard Form 7762
  2. Expanded Form 7000 + 700 + 60 + 2
  3. Written Form seven thousand seven hundred and sixty two

Look at them go..

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Using the arrow cards made a lot of sense to us. We could clearly see where the numerals needed to go to make the standard form and when it came to expanding the number, it was easy to read. Once we could read it, it was easy to write what we said… but we had to check our spelling for accuracy.

We’re not experts yet, but we have a made a great start to becoming one.

Something to think about.

What did you think of the place value card game?

What could you do to try to win the game?

Is it better to go first or second?

How do you feel about place value after using the arrow cards?

What confuses you with big numbers?

What do you still need to learn?

February 7

2017 A New Year Begins

 

Greetings to all our new families for this, the beginning of the school year. Welcome to our blog too, we hope you find it useful to keep in touch with what is happening in our class and to provide people with supportive and thoughtful feedback.

 

There’ll be lots of routines and procedures to learn.  It’s early days we’ll get there.

How exciting to be starting in the primary, year three is going to be so much fun indeed. I will catch up with parents and caregivers at acquaintance night next week to clarify  a lot of things. Hope to see you there.

Collaboration

Our class has a mantra

“We work together, we think together, we act together. We collaborate”

This term we will be practicing collaboration and what this may look like, sound like, feel like and think like.

Today we stared by working in pairs on a maths task.

The task was  – To collect 3 digit numbers, sort them and publish our thinking.

Now while we were using our mathematical logic smarts, we were also practicing our skills in working together. Check us out.

For our first go, I reckon we have a positive start and I particularly liked the way they all respectfully shared their information.

I was also impressed by the variety of ways to sort information. Take a look at their posters.

Some things to think about, let us know your comments.

How do you feel about year three?

What are you looking forward to?

What might have you worried?

How do yo feel about working in teams?

 

 

February 5

It’s a wrap …… or …. the class that didn’t get away!

Well 2016 has come to an end and it was time to say good bye to my fabulous learners as they prepare to move to year four.

Now what do you do with things you like? Put them in a jar and keep them for later! Well at least that’s what the BFG did when he found dreams he caught.

As we were making snow domes for Christmas presents, something magical happened and the children suddenly found themselves trapped.  argh…..

Poor things, should I let them go?

 

Oops can’t, they trapped me too.

What fun that was.

But all good things come to an end and sadly, I say farewell to my dear class of 2016.

I’m sure their teddies will support them as they bravely venture into year four.

What a fun and busy year it has been.

Farewell

All the best in 2017