4th & 5th Graders Learn About Zero Waste

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.

3rd Grade Science — Becoming Soil Experts

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.

5th Grade Science — Plant & Animal Cells

Fifth grade students learned about plant and animal cells. At the same time, they learned about microscopes so that they understood the difference in magnification between magnifying glasses and  different microscopes. They were so enthralled with the activity and loved looking at different things under the microscope with varying magnification.

5th Grade Science – Heredity

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 Study Science & Social Studies in One Project

Third grade students at The Learning Center Charter School completed a cross curricular study of the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush in March. Their studies included standards in both social studies and science.

Students learned about the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush as part of their social studies curriculum. They learned about specific land forms and water bodies as part of their science curriculum. Their teachers teamed together to create a hands-on project that blended the two together beautifully.

Gina Stafford teaches social studies to the class while Emily Willey teaches science. Working as a team, the two teachers asked the students to create 3D models that included land forms and bodies of water they studied in science with the real life route that people took on the Oregon Trail during the time of westward expansion.

Students used salt dough and cardboard to create their landforms following the guidelines for both science and social studies.

“It’s one thing to study a subject and a whole other thing to relate it to particular events in history,” said Stafford. “Students were surprised to learn about the physical obstacles people faced while traveling west in the search for gold.”

 

1st Grade STEM — Coral Reef Dioramas

First grade students made coral reef dioramas as the culmination of their coral reef unit in Science where they learned about the unique ecosystem known as the “rainforest of the sea”.  Students had corals, amenome, urchins, fish, sharks, seashells and other items to create their own mini-worlds.

1st Grade STEM — Bears!

First grade teacher, Ms. Katie Beaver, and elementary science teacher, Ms. Emily collaborated on a huge ecosystem unit that covered deciduous forests, rainforests, and coral reefs.  In addition to covering an entire wall with trees to represent deciduous trees found in each season, students also were given a STEM activity where they created bear caves for the bears to hibernate in using nothing but marshmallows and toothpicks to engineer their designs.
Each student was given 10 marshmallows and 15 toothpicks. The students were instructed to use these materials to build a bear cave (shelter). The shelter needed to fit a paper bear that was about  4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.

Additionally, students delved further into their studies by designing and constructing underground burrows by connecting small paper bags to model beneath the ground shelters of animals in the deciduous forest.

1st Grade — All About Birds

First grade students recently spent time studying birds across the curriculum. Their bird STEM project incorporated reading, math, writing and a hands-on art project.

The students studied and gathered information about six different types of birds — Penguins, Eastern Blue Birds, Birds of Paradise, Hummingbirds, Golden  Finches, and Blue Jays. They learned how to draw and label diagrams with specific bird body parts/ field marks, create graphic organizers of bird facts, use bullets to organize and record data, write detailed sentences of bird facts, and use a ruler to measure the actual height of each bird.

To gather this information, the class read non-fiction books and read online articles about each of the six birds during Guided Reading.

The students also made suet feeders out of peanut butter, seeds, and dried corn.  Student especially liked gathering sticks from The Outdoor Learning Center to serve as a perch for birds at their feeders.

5th Grade Science — Catapults to Study Force and Motion

Fifth graders have recently learned about force and motion as part of their science studies. They have learned about trebuchets, catapults, and balistas.

The students were tasked with researching each of these launching devices and then designing their own.  They then build prototypes of their designs using popsicle sticks, straws, rubber bands, hot glue, tape, cardstock, and coffee stirrers.

Some realized their original designs would not give them the momentum needed to  effectively launch their items, so these students immediately started adjusting their original design. Ms. Jay commented that watching the students go through the problem solving process of trial and error (some as many as five times) and not giving up was fantastic.