Early Elementary News: May 2012

In K-1 we are finishing up the school year with our last thematic unit “How The World Works.” The children are in the process of developing the following understandings: The world is a system, they are part of many interconnected systems, when something happens in one part of the world it affects other parts of the world system, and improving one part of the world can improve the dynamics of the whole world system.

The children are learning about machines in “How My World Works” because the world uses machines to get work done. Computers, vehicles, appliances, and many other types of machines are used everyday. That’s how the world works! When people invent new machines it can change things all over the world. Additionally, just as the world is made up of different parts that function as a system, machines are comprised of different parts that operate as a system.

We are approaching the study of how the world works as scientists and inventors. At the beginning of the school year, each group of students sharing a table chose a machine to name their table after. In the interest of learning how their specific machine works, the children learned about machines and the scientific principles that govern how machines work. Through books, videos, demonstrations, discussions, and hands-on experimentation, children explored forces, properties of matter, states of matter, and magnetism. In addition, the children acquired knowledge about the process of invention by learning about the lives of inventors from diverse backgrounds.

After the children gained an understanding of how physical properties affect the way machines work, they were instructed to think like scientists and pose a question about the machine their table chose. An expert from Honey Creek’s community came into our classrooms to meet with each group to answer all of their questions and explain how their machine works. The students are now preparing to present what they learned to the rest of the class by supplying answers to a group reflection sheet and by constructing a model of their machine.

To reinforce this content, K-1 will be going to Greenfield Village on Wed. May 30th. We will leave Honey Creek at 9:30 and return by 2:30. On this field trip, the children will see the Wright brothers’ bike shop, visit Edison’s Menlo Park lab where he produced a steady stream of inventions, including the phonograph and the light bulb, and we will also see how different materials are used to make items such as pottery and glass decorations at Liberty Craftworks.

In math, we are finishing a unit on money, measurement, and problem solving and we’re now beginning our next unit on place value, time, and problem solving.

Additionally, in our language arts curriculum, we are focusing on poetry in writing workshop and retelling narrative story elements in reading workshop.

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