Tropical Rainforest Unit 2015

Well, better late than never on my FAVORITE unit of the year, our Tropical Rainforest Unit!!  🙂  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!!  🙂

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Math and Science Fun Times

We have had a few Math and Science activities in our room lately that we need to share about.  In lieu of a chapter test in our Geometry unit, the students went on a scavenger hunt around the school searching for various geometry items, taking pictures of what they found on the iPads.  They then brought their findings back to the room to work on a Pic Collage, which showed and labeled all of their Geometry items.  It was fun, different, and a nice way to review not only what we studied this chapter, but how Math shows up in our everyday lives!

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In Science yesterday, we reviewed what we had learned about Earthquakes, Fault Lines, and Volcanos.  To explore our learning further, we made “Plate Tectonic S’mores” and “Toilet Paper Volcanos.”  The kids had a blast, and of course making a mess was a bonus.  🙂

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Good times were had by all.  🙂

4R Fall Fun 2014

With my growing love of Instagram and Twitter, I have found myself blogging on our class blog less and less.  This must change!  You, our faithful followers, deserve more.  So even if you follow my other accounts, those are only part of the story…a 140 character glimpse into the goings-on in 4R.  Here is where you get the whole story.  So now, without further adieu, I will attempt to bring you up to speed on what we’ve been up to in our classroom over the last month.

Since the topic of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark kept coming up in our Science and Social Studies discussions, we decided we needed to take some time to read the story of the flood and dig deeper into that story.  One afternoon we took to the soccer field and measured out the actual size of Noah’s ark.  I don’t need to tell you, it was huge!!

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We also did some creative writing.  The students chose from a list of 10 different Noah’s Ark-related writing prompts, and wrote something to add to our board.  They were very entertaining.

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This fall we also tried our hand at some iPad projects.  The students chose a favorite book, and did either a book review/summary or read the entire picture book.  The apps we used for this project were ChatterPix, Tellagami, and Educreations.  The first two are limited to only 30 second recordings, so they worked well for the reviews.  Educreations worked for both ideas, and made for some pretty neat longer-length videos.  Once they had created their video recording, I entered each review into a QR code, and we hung them from the front bulletin board.  This allowed for parents and other students to scan the codes and see what they had created!  Too fun.

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At the end of October, we talked about the life of Martin Luther for quite awhile.  As part of this discussion, the students created Reformation word clouds on the iPads, and also wrote out Reformation tweets.  They had to write, in 140 characters or less, something that might have been posted in 1517 if Twitter had existed.  I took their tweets and posted them on my own Twitter account.  We received many favorites for these, but also had some great conversations with some commenters.  Our assistant principal commented on many of our tweets as if he was someone from that time period.  We had fun coming up with responses to his and other comments.

We also had a Reformation/Fall Party, complete with Luther seal temporary tattoos and “Diet of Worms” cake.  🙂

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In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of exploration in our Science labs.  To go along with our study of Technology and Design in chapter 2, we wrapped up the chapter with a boat design lab.  The object was to design a boat that would hold the most cargo.

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Most recently in Science, we began our chapter about Motion.  What better way to introduce the idea of motion than with wind-up toys, rulers, and stopwatches?!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what we’ve been up to in 4R so far this fall.  More to come, but this post is full enough for tonight.  🙂

Technology and Design

This week we started a Science chapter on Technology and Design.  On Monday we made paper “helicopters” and talked about what types of modifications we could make to change how the helicopters fly.  (They were also really fun to drop!)

Today we made all different types of paper airplanes.  One plane had wide wings, and the other had narrow wings.  We found that the wide wings caused the plane to stay in the air longer, while the narrow winged planes flew farther.  (We had a great time doing test flights in the gym.)  Here are some pictures and video clips from our designing experience today.  Enjoy!

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Oobleck Science Lab Fun!!

Pardon the delay in posting, but better late than never, right?  😉

The last week of school, we spent an afternoon exploring the joys of “Oobleck”, a substance perfect for figuring out the difference between solids, liquids, and gasses.  Though OUR version was given to us by scientists at NASA, you can make your own version at home with water, corn starch, and your choice of food coloring.  🙂

Here are some pictures from our fun (and messy!) explorations!!

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Believe me, much fun was had by all!!  AND, all the mess came out of the carpet!!  Success!!!  🙂

Have a GREAT SUMMER!!!  It was truly a fun-filled year in 4R!!

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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Tropical Rainforest Study 2014- Week 3!!

So much has happened in our classroom since last week’s post!  We have been hard at work, continuing our study of the rainforest.  This week was full of activities that helped us further explore this amazing ecosystem!!

First up, our collages of rainforest products.  Students searched through ads to find medicines, foods, and other products that come from the rainforest.  What an amazing array of items we would miss if our rainforests disappeared!!

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This week was also our first time trying out the school’s iPads.  This was a LOT of fun, and the students were way better at using them than I was!!  🙂  We used a program called ChatterPix, where you have a still picture, but give it a “mouth” and record yourself talking.  When it plays back, the “mouth” moves with your voice!  Super cool.  We told about our animals from our rainforest animal projects.

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Here’s an example:

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My favorite rainforest project is Rainforest Superlatives.  We talk about a few examples of rainforest plants and animals that are either extremely large or extremely small.  Then, using yardsticks and rulers, the students drew out each creature true to life size.

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Finished products:

The Rafflesia Flower: the world’s largest lily, measuring up to 3 feet across!

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The Harpy Eagle: one of the world’s largest eagles, measuring up to 3 feet in height, with a 5 foot wingspan!

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The Pygmy Marmoset: the world’s smallest primate, measuring only 14-16 cm long with a 15-20 cm tail!

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The Goliath Bird-Eater: world’s largest spider, measuring an 11-inch legspan!

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The Reticulated Python: the world’s longest snake, measuring 32 feet, 9 inches in length!

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The Goliath Beetle: one of the world’s largest beetles, measuring up to 6 inches long!

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Our last project for the week involved some practice in letter writing.  We wrote letters to our governor, asking him to help us save the rainforest!  Each letter was then attached to a rainforest creature of their choice and added to our classroom rainforest display!  Lots of great creativity with these!!

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Stay tuned for more fun projects coming up next week!!