June 23

Making wonderful music in one lesson.

We had just the best day today. We performed a music concert for a small crowd. How good was that.

 

Earlier today, classes were booked into a music workshop with Jon Madin. This is him. To learn more about what he does, go to his website ( where I snuck this image) http://www.marimbamusic.com.au

Jon is a  very talented musician and brought a wide variety of instruments for us to play. He told us he made these wacky instruments himself which impressed us. They were bizarre indeed. There were items that were familiar, but were a strange mix of  objects we might use for different things, such as echo cellos, musical bikes, drums and musical boxes. Although they didn’t look like classical instruments, they sounded amazing especially when we all played together.

We started out learning how play three patterns on the marimbas.

The melody seemed familiar and when Jon started to sing with his guitar, we recognised The Hokey Pokey. That was fun, at the concert we had Sarah, Matthew and Sophie leading the audience in the dance too. They were very enthusatic models.

After becoming quite good at that tune, we moved over to where the echo cellos were situated. Jon demonstrated how to get the cello to rest on our left shoulders and how play using the bow. It was quite strange holding our right arm and only moving from the elbow.

We played a tune called Mama don’t allow. Which was quite interesting because she didn’t allow it, but we played it anyway. We had four students to help with the music boxes too.

Jon was teaching a few classes different songs throughout the day and then at the end of the day we were all invited to play for an audience. He asked some parents to help with some percussion and made the teachers learn a song to perform.

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We had a ball. It was a delightful concert with classes showcasing their newly developed skills. Today Witungga Hall, tomorrow Festival theatre! We highly recommend Jon and his wacky instruments.

What did you enjoy most in the workshop?

Which instrument do you believe sounded beautiful? Why?

What type of music do you prefer to listen to?

Do you play a musical instrument? Would you like to? Which one, why?

 

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

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

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.

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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?

July 26

In Term Two we were “Heating up!”

Science in term two was based on the chemistry of heating things up and how objects and material changed with heat.

We had some starter discussions on how livings things might keep warm.Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.33.58 PM

This got us thinking of how we could keep warm, if we were very cold.

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After a short discussion on heat sources, areas that produce warmth or heat, we began looking for these sources of heat in our classroom. I added some extra ones for comparisons.

In our search we needed to decide on a heat rating was the object warm, hot or very hot. We shared our investigations and recordings to see if our team mates agreed or disagreed.

We learned that heat (thermal energy) can be classified according to its form and there are three to know and understand.

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Our next challenge was to put some understandings into action. We really enjoyed our investigation using metal spoons. In teams we used a metal spoon to heat up at our choice of six different heat sources. Areas to be accessed included – urn/kettle, cups of hot water, hair dryer, candle, white board/other electrical objects, carpet, body heat, hot water bottle. We shared roles for heating and timing and to make our investigations fair, we used a stop watch to time the duration at exactly two minutes. That way we could compare the different types of heat. Warnings were given as science investigations can be somewhat dangerous, particularly given we were using a flame, metal can get very hot!

This investigation gave us lots to think about how heat might travel or transfer into or up objects. When could that be a good thing? Who would need this to happen? Why? When do we not want heat to transfer quickly or at all? Do we know of any situation where they have seen this?

We also challenged ourselves to decide what type of heat source it was chemical, kinetic or electrical.

Recording our observations gave us a chance to sharpen our science line drawing skills.

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During this activity a few of our classmates did get too excited and forgot the warnings, burning themselves on very hot metal spoons. It seemed appropriate that we look at warning signs and posters checking to see what essential information we may need to include if we were to warn people of, very hot sand, hot cup of tea or a hot frying pan. Working with a partner we used our negotiating skills to plan and display our thinking.

We got a chance to explain the message behind our posters before we placed them on display.

Our final investigation made us think carefully about variables. We wanted to know what would affect the heat of a spoon in a cup of hot water.

I thought we showed critical scientific thinking as we suggested that these things would affect the temperature :-

  • type of material spoon was made out of
  • the time the spoon was left in the water
  • the temperature of the water
  • the temperature of the spoon
  • the size of the spoon

Teams worked together to plan our investigation.

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Essentially we needed this information. We were able to use a wooden, plastic and metal spoon to compare results.

Unfortunately Ellen was so busy making sure we didn’t have any injuries this time, so she wasn’t able to visually record our work.

However it was interesting when we completed our work to find that most of our predictions were accurate. One team took a very long time to complete their plan and by that time the hot water had cooled down quite a bit. Time did play an important role in the hotness of the spoons, however so did the material that the spoon was made of.

This gave us lots to think about when using objects near heat. Many students could see connections to tools used in their families kitchens. Wooden spoons are very useful when stirring hot food. Perhaps plastic tools could be used too. Some discussed how they have metal tools but handles are wooden, that made sense given our new understandings.

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Our last opportunity to put our new learning into action was to identify heat sources in a picture. It was amazing how many were in one little scene from a family’s kitchen and outdoor area.

 

What did you enjoy most about the Heating up unit?

What questions do you still have about heat?

How have you used your new knowledge on heat lately?

How did you go locating all the heat sources?