Checking in on First Grade Fairy Houses

First graders have been working on their fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center busily since school started this year. Kindergarten, First and Second grade students all have fairy houses. It’s becoming a fairy village!

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This ongoing project affords rich educational opportunities for these young students.

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Imaginative play, self-directed skill building, sharing spaces and cooperation, engineering and construction, are just some examples. Plus, Ms. Emily is always sure to include science as part of the exploration.

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These fairy house may seem like all play . . . but much is being learned in the process!

Students Make Toys in Science Class

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First grade students at The Learning Center Charter School have recently spent time exploring forces, motion and balance as part of their science curriculum. They have experimented with all the ways force can make objects speed up, slow down or change direction. They have even explored how some forces like magnetism and gravity can act over long distances.

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Science teacher, Emily Willey, helped students learn these complex science concepts in a multitude of ways.  She has assisted students to make balance butterflies to learn about cantilevered forces, manipulate scales to learn about balance, experiment with leverage by changing the position of weights and more. Willey commented, “Each day I walk into the classroom, students are eager to explain an experience they had of an object moving or not when they applied a force to it.  It’s so gratifying to see the excitement over the fact that they know that if they push down on an object and it doesn’t move, that there must also be an upward force acting on it!”

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Students finished the unit by making a fun mobile with three to four legs.  Students balanced a wooden mobile with different amounts of modeling clay to make the mobile able to spin and balance on a bottle lid.  Students were quick to further explore where they could balance their mobiles . . . from their noses to their toes!

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“I’ve been a science teacher for many, many years and this is the most exciting project we’ve ever done because the students were in love with creating a toy that could be in motion,” said Willey.

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1st Grade Outside — Introduction to Fairy House Project

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First graders recently learned that they would be building fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center as part of their science studies.  After locating forest resources and ideal locations they created the beginnings of unique homes in the local trees.

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Students will be working on this project for several weeks as they troubleshoot building techniques, learn how to use basic tools for secure construction, explore design principles – including incorporation of the golden ratio in their design, and try out some sustainable building techniques such as building out of clay or cob.

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1st Grade Science — Tree Identification

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First graders have been learning about trees. Part of their studies has included leaf rubbings as a means to learn about tree identification.  The fact that these students got to be in The Outdoor Learning Center and our own forest setting made the lesson even more meaningful!

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Taking note of the unique colors each species turn in the fall was fun. Sassafras was a favorite because the tree has three different leaf types.

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2nd Grade Outside Checking on Their Work

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You might remember that these industrious students spent time in The Outdoor Learning Center last year building fairy houses. Science teacher, Ms. Emily, gets all of her students outside as much as possible because the forest is an extension of her classroom.

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As students built these fairy house last year, they learned about the native flora and fauna found on our campus. They also learned about construction, design and trial and error!

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They’ve recently been checking on their fairy houses and deciding on repair, reconstruction or expansion ideas.

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1st Grade Science — Motion & Forces in The Outdoor Learning Center

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First graders have been taking advantage of the wonderful Autumn weather to take their science studies out into The Outdoor Learning Center.

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Here they are seen observing motion and forces out in the woods and recording their findings in their journals.

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7th Grade Learns Science by Creating Aliens

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Recently, students in seventh grade used what they have learned about genetics and biological inheritance to create fictional alien families.  They used Punnett squares to create genotypes and correlating phenotypes for each alien.  A Punnett square is a diagram that is used to predict an outcome of a particular cross or breeding experiment. The diagram is used by biologists to determine the probability of an offspring having a particular genotype.

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Students tracked the passing of genetic traits with a pedigree and created back stories for their alien families.

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They enjoyed applying science to a subject they were all very interested in learning about . . . aliens!

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More About 2nd Grade Learning About Sound

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Last week you read about second grade students and their whistle parade! These students have also been exploring sound in the classroom by rotating through stations and discovering how you can change the pitch of sound on a variety of different instruments. Students have learned that the length of a vibrating object is associated with the pitch it creates.

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