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?

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

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?

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?