Tropical Rainforest Unit 2015

Well, better late than never on my FAVORITE unit of the year, our Tropical Rainforest Unit!! ¬†ūüôā ¬†I’m going to share some projects that we worked on throughout this unit.

We did all sorts of project learning, from hands-on creations to tech projects. ¬†Some of the hands-on projects included: researching and creating models of the 4 layers of the rainforest…measuring out life-sized rainforest creatures and creating them to their actual size…a reader’s theater puppet show…and various writing projects that we used to add to our rainforest classroom decor. ¬†Some of the tech projects included: commercials encouraging people to save the rainforest (made using iMovie)…and animal reports! ¬†We also went on a rainforest-themed field trip to the zoo!! ¬†Below are pictures and videos of our experiences. ¬†Enjoy, and maybe learn something along the way!! ¬†ūüôā

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Swiss Heritage Village Field Trip 2014

This past Friday was our field trip to Swiss Heritage Village in Berne, IN. ¬†Every fall they hold a special Education Day, and it is AWESOME. ¬†The kids get to do all sorts of hands-on games, activities, and demonstrations. ¬†I’ll let the pictures do the talking for this (and do some explaining in the captions, of course).

First thing we all did and loved was the old fashioned merry-go-round. ¬†You sat down…the volunteers wound it up…and then they let it go!! ¬†Great fun.

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Here’s a video of some of our riders…it wasn’t as bad as they made it sound. ¬†Hehe…

The next area that quite a few groups enjoyed was the music station.  They were taught how to play various instruments, and then had a little jam session with the volunteers!

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Check out how one of our groups did!

Other stops in the first area included the barn, where you could make soap, milk a goat, play with baby chicks, learn about weaving, and do woodworking. ¬†There was also a face-painting station…not sure how historically accurate that was, but the kids sure enjoyed it!

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The second area had a bunch of lively outdoor games, along with a schoolhouse and a doctor’s office. ¬†We, of course, took full advantage of the games, but managed to find some time for some learning in the schoolhouse and doctor’s office as well.

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The last area we hit before lunch was the fur trade area.  There were some Native American traders, along with a fur trader, who sat and showed you their goods, talked about the trading business, and tried to sell you things.

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We had lunch in the SHADE (soooo hot out!), and then were back at it for two more areas of our day.  The fourth area we visited included more games, some dance lessons, and the free ice water station (yay!).  There were also some activities you could do in that area, including candle dipping, sawdust doll making, and a few other pioneer toys and crafts.

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Tug of War was a fun one…here is a video of two of our groups battling each other.

And of course, I must share with you our awesome dances moves.  Even when tired and hot, we can still rock out in 4th grade!

The last area we visited was a Native American area, where they also had Swiss language lessons, and then back through the woods there was a Civil War encampment and a blacksmith.

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SUCH a fun day!! ¬†Thanks again to all our awesome parents who drove and chaperoned! ¬†Our day would not have been a success without you!! ¬†ūüôā

Tropical Rainforest Study 2014-Final Weeks and Zoo Field Trip

We are quickly approaching the end of our school year.  This also means the end of our study of Tropical Rainforests.  My hope is that this unit helped to spark an awareness of how important rainforests are, even though we were barely able to scratch the surface of all the plants, animals, and people who live there.

Our last major project that we worked on during class were readers’ theaters adaptations of “The Great Kapok Tree”, an awesome book about the importance of saving the rainforests from destruction. ¬†(We are also still in the midst of working on some computer projects for this unit as well: Powerpoints and Glogsters.) ¬†Here are some pictures and video from our performances of “The Great Kapok Tree”, as presented to both kindergarten classes and two of the preschool classes. ¬†They were GREAT audiences!!

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To wrap up our unit, we took a special field trip to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. ¬†We spent the majority of our day in the Indonesian Rain Forest section, hunting for answers to questions about different plants and animals. ¬†It was a great day, and after a scary start to the day (can we say torrential downpour, thunder, lightning, and hail?), the skies cleared, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful field trip to the zoo!!

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Sauder Village Field Trip 2014

Tuesday was our annual field trip to Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio.  Students traveled back in time to various time periods in Ohio history (much of which relates very closely to our studies in Indiana History).  The weather was PERFECT!  The first rain drops fell as we were getting in our cars to drive home.  Along with our history lessons in different shops, schools, churches, and Native American dwellings, we also enjoyed sweets from the Sweet Shop and General Store, as well as nice cool ice cream from the Ice Cream Shop.  Much fun was had by all.  Thank you again to all of our parents who were able to come along as drivers and chaperones.  Your help is appreciated more than you know!

Here are a sampling of pictures from our day:

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Swiss Heritage Village Field Trip

Last Friday we traveled to the Swiss Heritage Village in Berne, IN, for a field trip.  It was their educational day, part of their annual fall festival.  I think it is safe to say that this was the first of MANY trips there in the coming years.  This place was amazing!  The kids had nothing but positive comments once we were back in school today.

The place was split into 5 different sections.  The schools were divided up into groups, and each group traveled through the sections on a schedule throughout the day, spending about an hour at each area.  There was so much to do that I know we missed something, but I think we got a great taste of Indiana History, and there was definitely something for everyone!!

Within the first 30 minutes there, I had heard MANY different adjectives describing their experience. ¬†Anything from “fluffy” to “warm, squishy, and weird!” to anything in between…pretty much described our day! ¬†I’ll allow the following pictures to do the explaining.

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A favorite stop was the lower level of the barn, where baby chicks had just hatched that morning. ¬†“Fluffy” and “cute” were heard here more than once! ¬†(They really were cute…”peep, peep, peep!” ¬†Aww…)

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Another favorite part of the day was the Old Fashioned Merry Go Round.  They wound you up, then let it unwind and spin you around!  Check out this video of how it works:  

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Goat milking: “Warm, squishy, and weird!” ¬†Enough said. ¬†ūüôā

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There were various craft stations, including tin and leather working, doll making, candle dipping, soap making, and a beading station.  All of these stations were part of the experience, and the kids got to take home the items they made.  So many fun pioneer-themed crafts!

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There were TONS of games for the kids to play! ¬†Rope ladders, a bucking bronco, slingshots…but the hands-down favorite (of the boys, at least) was the Tug-O-War. ¬†Check out the progression of pictures below:

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Ready to start…

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…pull!!

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Hang in there, guys, hang in there…

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…oh man. ¬†Well…better luck next time, guys! ¬†Hehe…

There were also different areas with reenactment-type of activities.  Buildings you could go through, people dressed in the times teaching you different things about the buildings and areas.  It was really informative and the kids enjoyed these areas just as much as the crafts and games!

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1901 Schoolhouse

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Fur traders

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1812 and Civil War encampments

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Doctor’s Office

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Blacksmith

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Doing the laundry!

This was SUCH a great field trip. ¬†Don’t worry, Swiss Heritage Village…we’ll be back next year!! ¬†ūüôā

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We’re Going to the Zoo…Zoo…Zoo…

Well, we went to the zoo!  On Tuesday, 4R took its first ever field trip to the zoo for our Rainforest unit!  I have wanted to do this trip for years, but it never fell right to schedule it!  It was definitely a good time.

We spent most of our day in the Indonesian Rainforest section of the zoo.  The students had guides to fill in, searching for answers on the signs throughout the section.  I know we learned at least a few things during our time in the rainforest section.

We had about 30 minutes to hit another section of the zoo before eating lunch and heading back to school. ¬†It was a good, but fast, trip, and thankfully the weather held out for us so we could enjoy our time there. ¬†ūüôā

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Sauder Village Field Trip

Yesterday was our annual field trip to Sauder Village in Archbold, OH. ¬†This place is AWESOME. ¬†Full of rich history, it is a fun place to walk around and learn about how things were done in the 1800s. ¬†For example, we learned that barbers didn’t just cut hair and do shaves, they also pulled teeth and did surgeries! ¬†Acting up in class didn’t just earn you a scolding, it earned you a swat with a stick! ¬†We also got to see the inside of some Indian dwellings, as well as check out some cool old stuff in the museum. ¬†It was a great day, with beautiful weather. ¬†The kids were great, we had some great parents along…truly a wonderful day! ¬†ūüôā

Enjoy these pictures from our day.  This is only a sampling, as we saw and learned so much!

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