Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure, event or place and presented information about it. Many students essentially “became” that historical figure as they dressed, acted and spoke as though they were that person.
For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit.
Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived. Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.
Fourth and fifth grade students learned about zero waste lifestyles- ways of living that use no plastic or packaging that can’t be composted. Afterwards students walked around campus to see our schools compost pile and picked up trash along the road in front of school and on campus. They filled three grocery bags and the kids were so proud to help our environment.
Third graders became soil scientists by observing and testing different soil samples around the school campus. Students noted color, texture, and infiltration. They did a simple soil test to determine the main rock particles of each sample. After moistened, if the soil would not make a ball we knew the main component was sand. If it formed a crumbly ball the main component was silt. A sticky ball that could form into a worm was mostly clay. Students also noticed if there was a high or low amount of organic matter present. Students identified organic matter in the garden soil and noticed it made the soil darker in color.
First graders recently completed a PBL project (Project Based Learning) where they learned about the climate in Antarctica. On this particular day, the class made snow!
Fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School completed their studies of the Civil War on April 26th but students didn’t want the unit to end.
Jay Ward, fifth grade teacher, developed a multi-layered social studies simulation that required students to imagine they were a soldier who just volunteered for the Civil War. The class was divided into Union and Confederate soldiers and grouped to represent different state infantries.
“Once students were assigned their regiments, they had to research what battle flags looked like and replicate one for their regiment flag,” said Ward. “Students then marched around campus with their battle flags and we recreated the Battle of Oak Grove.”
To simulate the Battle of Oak Grove, students rolled dice to determine if they fired their weapons, were injured or deserted. They would roll again and use an injury table created for the simulation to determine what injuries they sustained, if they were healed, died, received amputations or were sent home due to injuries.
Recreating the battle took several class days. Every day after the simulation, the students had to write letters home as a soldier and explain circumstances, outcomes and daily struggles they faced on the front lines of the Civil War.
“My students were so engaged in this learning process and figuring out exactly what it was like to be part of the Civil War,” said Ward. “This project really allowed us to explore the subject on a deep level.”
Fifth graders learned all about heredity in science and created “alien babies” using Punnett squares and figuring out dominate and recessive traits. The students were so involved in the activity they wanted to see what other types of species they could create like a mad scientist!
A Punnett square is a graphical representation of the possible genotypes of an offspring arising from a particular cross or breeding event.
Students in fourth grade across the state have a special emphasis on North Carolina history as part of their social studies curriculum. This year our Fourth Graders learned to clog as part of this emphasis.
Clogging is an American dance form that began in the Appalachian Mountains and now enjoys widespread popularity throughout the United States and around the world.
The students performed a clogging dance to the song “Cotton Eyed Joe” at the annual talent show on April 4th. They did a fantastic job too!
As part of a unit of study on entrepreneurs, third grade students were tasked with building a business and creating a business plan.
They borrowed “money” from “the bank” to start up their business and had to buy materials from “the store.”
They had to figure out what their prices would be in order to make the most profit.
Their teacher, Ms. Gina, said it was amazing to see the students in action. Most were very conscientious about their start-up costs and tried to find ways they could not spend as much money up front by thinking of what they could make that didn’t have a large up-front cost, but that would sell well for a good price.
At the end of the day, they had to see how much money they earned by subtracting start-up costs from profit.
Ms. Gina said that students really enjoyed this project and getting a feel for what it might be like to be an entrepreneur some day.
The class also studied famous entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs from our state, and local entrepreneurs. Ms. Cindy form our school came in and talked to the class about her small business as part of the kick-off for this unit.
Fourth graders love math. Especially when they have a glow-in-the-dark math celebration!