Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Petting Obediah the Screech Owl!
WHOA! November and December flew by in a flurry of learning and exciting projects! In an effort to share our learning and not get further behind on updates, I wanted to share some of the grade-level highlights.

                              JO SANTIAGO AND THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE

One of the highlights to the year is when Jo Santiago, Wildlife Biologist with the US Forest Service visits with her amazing Birds of Prey. This year she brought Freedom the Bald Eagle!


In addition, Simon Carswell, reporter for the Irish Times (and Maury dad) did a great report on her visit. Take a look at his awesome piece here!



Our young learners turned our classroom into Space! Early childhood students created "Space" to explore themselves and went on "moon walks" using the app Moon Globe. 


 Kinder and 1st graders used the Engineering Design Process to create the ideal International Space Station. They watched videos from the ISS to determine the needs of the astronauts, tweeted questions ( and got answers from!) real astronauts and created final group designs.

Students also completed the Project Lead the Way "Sun, Moon and Stars" lessons surrounding tracking the sun throughout the day.

One of the students' favorite activities was using "mystery beads" to explore UV Rays! These needs change color when exposed to ultraviolet light!

It was very cloudy on the day we tested... but the bracelets changed color! Molly in 1st grade explains her findings:

Kindergarten and 1st grade are finishing up this unit in January by designing a playground that can keep students cool and protected from UV rays!

                                                      VARIATION OF TRAITS!

3rd grade is finishing a unit on variation of traits. Using the Project Lead the Way unit as a base to this study, students began by completing a traits surgery of their class, graphing their data and forming questions from it.




After recording this data, they went on to test how traits are passed down through generations. Using Wisconsin Fast Plants, students predicted which traits would pass down through two generations of plants. We received the "children" of two parent plants:  one with green stems and one with purple stems. These "children" produced ONLY purple stems. Where did the green stems go? Our students investigated. They cross-pollinated them and grew seeds for the next generation. The question will soon be answered: will green stems return in this generation?
Class predictions
Recording predictions
Pollination Day!

                                                                    HOUR OF CODE!

Maury took on the Hour of Code in all classes this year! What a great experience!  Just look at this video of our 5th graders' complex codes!

Students made their own apps, learned to code Star Wars games and got inspired to try this amazing area of STEM.  Even the PreK students got into it. 

Parent volunteers joined us and Maury students completed tens of thousands lines of code!

As we head into 2016, we start a number of new, exciting studies. From robotics to solar ovens, landforms to oceans, many new studies are on the horizon!

Stay tuned and keep on thinking!
-Mrs. Ford

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