July 25

Spinning in Space

Last term we learnt about how the Moon,

 

the Sun

and Earth

spin and rotated in space. We also learnt that from all this spinning and rotating, the positions of the Sun and Earth played a big part in how we experienced day and night.

Relative sizes

It was important that we understand exactly how big these objects are. Now that is kind of tricky because we really can’t see Earth as we are standing on it, as for the Sun and Moon, well at a distance they can play tricks on your eyes.

We are fortunate in our Solar System to have the Moon and Sun exactly where they are because they actually look the same size. We know the Sun is huge, but it is 400 times further away than the Moon. The further something is away from us the smaller it looks. That is why when he Moon moves in front of the Sun we get a perfect eclipse.

Actually things in space are big, really, really big in fact somethings are so big our heads can’t get it at all. This is what we mean.

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Checking this idea out

We had a go at using a basketball to represent the Sun and a tennis ball to represent the Moon. In teams we worked together to move the Sun away until it appeared to our eyes to be the same same size as our Moon.

I had my eclipse glasses handy so we all had a couple of safe looks at the Sun. Although this mighty sphere was shining brightly, it looked indeed no bigger than a full Moon. Some children even saw the Sunspots.

Understanding shadows

How much fun is shadow tag! But there is a lot of science in shadows.

Why don’t shadows stay put?

On a sunny morning, we went outside and traced around each other’s shadow.

Then we played some shadow tag. That was challenge, they never stayed put!

Back in the classroom we discussed and recorded what we thought we knew about shadows.

Time to return outside to checkout our shadows….oh no!  They had moved. We needed to trace them again.

We noticed that all the shadows that we could see had moved from the base. To start with, they were facing west, later on, they were moving Easterly. That was odd. Why did this happen? Ah, the Sun moved. Of course, that was it!  Or was it?

Time to get serious with a scientific investigation.

I gave each team member an investigation planner, together they discussed and recorded their plan. This is a summary of our discussion, once planning had ceased.

Luckily for us the day was one of the last sunny days before the cloudy days of winter settled in.

We went out every hour on the hour, as best we could, throughout the day, sharing jobs to complete the investigation. To make it a fair test, we needed to place the cardboard in exactly the same place, have the same equipment and record the shadow line carefully. Teams worked collaboratively to complete their observations.

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The following day, in our teams, we analysed the information together.

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We had some interesting data that we were able to place in a table and record graphically such as this example. We know that tables are useful to sort out information and graphs show us data that we can see clearly.

We discussed our observations and concluded that as the Sun moved across the sky from East to West, the shadows moved in the opposite direction. Our proof was the marks we recorded on our cardboard posters. We found out that the shadows were longest when the Sun was lower in the sky and shorter when it was high in the sky. Our proof was the measurements we took each hour. Our claim based on our data was that the Sun’s movements caused all this. So the Sun did move!

But

We knew better though. Earth is really the object that moved, not the Sun, that object stays in the centre of our Solar System  and rotates. It is the rotation of the Earth that caused the Sun to appear to move in the sky, which then caused the shadows to lengthen and shorten.

You see we’d also been learning about the spinning and revolution of Earth. There was a lot to remember. Everything spins in space. You can get dizzy trying to remember everything.

We found this clip to be a great reminder.

We learnt a great deal about our neighbours in space and how they affected our life. At the end of the unit, I asked the students to design a scientific poster that explained how we get day and night. Here are a few.

 

Here are some things to think about.

What did you enjoy most about the science unit? Can you remember an impressive fact?

What didn’t you like?

Are there things you still are curious about and have more questions?

How did you feel about giving your oral presentation?

What do you think of space and the things beyond Earth?

What impressed you?

April 23

Farewell Mr Potter

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to our beloved sports teacher Mr Trevor Potter. He has decided the time was right to retire.

Many years ago, not long after I began working at Grange, Trevor and I decided to team up together with our respective classes and created what we affectionately called The Eisenpot Unit. We had a great time establishing lots of collaborative practices, many routines and practices which I maintain today, had their beginnings in the Unit.

Now anyone who knows Trevor, knows he likes to talk, that was indeed the case way back then, so to curb his monologues, I would at times perk my own voice up and over do the patronising singsong, happy voice. This irritated him, but achieved our objective in stopping him, so we could get on with things. So when we were asked to send a video message to Trevor, I knew exactly what memorable thing we could do.

Check out our message.. There were no rehearsals, I just asked the kids to answer me based on my questions, and to respond in exactly the same way as I said them.

We had fun.

Trevor’s farewell message from Ellen Eisenkolb on Vimeo.

What would you like to say to Mr Potter?

How do you feel about Mr Potter leaving?

What will you miss most?

 

 

April 2

Morning Maths

 

This term we have been using the time before school really starts 8.30 am and a little after the bell 8.55 am to sharpen our maths fluency skills. We have been working on our recall skills for number facts. We were taught a great game called flip.

Using a pack of cards we flip over a card and we need to say the number to finish the fact. Learning facts to ten. All number cards are face value e.g. 7 of hearts is worth seven. Picture cards Jack, Queen and King are worth ten. Aces are worth one.

Using a timer we set one minute to go through the pack. When the minute is up, we count our successful cards. We have found that over the weeks our totals are increasing. We are recalling facts a lot quicker. The helps us when we need to calculate in problem solving.

The great thing about flip is we can play it individually or in partners. When we feel really confident, Ellen does a game with us to test our skills.

Once we are confident at one fact family, we challenge ourselves for different amounts such as to 20, or to 8. It’s great fun. Beepers are going off everywhere, there is a hive of mathematical activity.

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As we move into learning our multiplication facts we can still play flip, instead of making totals to a number, we can multiply the card shown by a certain table number e.g. pull a seven, times by two is 14. So we can learn our two times table facts a lot quicker.

There’s a lot to be said about practice makes perfect.

 

What do you think about morning maths?

How have you improved in recalling your facts?

What helps you or gets in the way?

Which tables do you think you should begin with?

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.

 

 

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?