Davis and Lane School students have been busy with numerous projects since the beginning of the year.
At Davis School:
In First Grade, all first graders have participated with me in Color Mixing Experiments and the building of wind instruments (Wind Socks, Weather Vanes and Anemometers). A small group of first graders has been studying Constellations, Greek Myths, Hero Tales and Mythological Beasts. They have just completed their first PhotoStory of the year and are inventing their own mythological beast. Earlier in the year, they completed an Exploration Design Challenge on space radiation sponsored by NASA that will allow them to have their names be flown on NASA's virtual crew on the Orion Flight Test-1.
All Second Graders have participated in an Engineering Design Project where they had to design and build a hand pollinator. This engineering challenge is integrated into their study of insects which occurs each fall. Two small groups of second graders have met weekly to do engage in reading enrichment activities. These have included fiction and non-fiction activities. Fiction activities have consisted of reading adapted fairy tales and comparing to the original; and learning nursery rhymes, participating in a Reader's Theater Play where the nursery rhyme characters ask Mother Goose for advice, and taking on the persona of one of the characters in a rhyme and asking Mother Goose for their own advice. Non-Fiction topics have included a study of the solar system and constellations, participating in NASA's Exploration Design Challenge on space radiation which enables them to have their names flown as members of NASA's virtual crew on the Orion Flight Test-1, and an electricity exploration which will culminate in their designing a stylus for an i-pad. In late February, we start the Lego Robotics rotations for all second graders.
Students in the Third Grade Math Enrichment class are currently working on the concept of area and perimeter through the use of pentominoes. They have designed the letters of their name and calculated the area and perimeter of each all with pentominoes. Since the beginning of the year, they have explored palindromes, completed an extended Haunted House project that incorporated measurement, multi-digit addition and subtraction and mapping, solved mysteries involving logic problems and extended their problem solving skills from the classroom. By the end of February, we will begin our extended unit on Ancient Number Systems.
Fourth Graders are cycling through a rotation on robotics that ties in to their study of Simple Machines. They are designing and building a Ferris Wheel with Lego Robotics, then programming it to simulate a real Ferris Wheel. All fourth graders will participate in this project over the course of the year.
Fourth and Fifth Grade Math Enrichment Students are enrolled in the Math Olympiad competition. Students practice problem-solving skills with non-routine problems. We have completed 3/5 competitions so far and are scoring well above the national averages for our Elementary Division.
A Group of fourth grade students have just submitted their entry for the annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Contest. They have envisioned the design for a shirt that will change color by itself through the use of brain waves. They have called it the "Chama-Shirt" after a chameleon.
Fifth Grade math students are studying fractions and extending their knowledge to learning how to add, subtract, and multiply fractions with any denominator. They will also learn how to divide with fractions with the use of visual models.
Finally, we have published 4 issues of our monthly school newspaper: News from the Fast Lane. Copies of these are included in this blog.
Categories: Engineering · math · science
Congratulations to Cassidy, Max, Matt, Niles, Maddie, Andy, Molly, Mary, Suzie, Kathrine, Riley and Ellie (now third grade students) for winning Finalist Status for Massachusetts in last year's Siemens Foundation We Can Change the World Challenge. While in second grade, they worked closely with our town's Facilities Manager to promote saving electricity at Davis School. Their winning banner just arrived to school this week.
Categories: Engineering · science
Recently, Maddie, Samantha and Martha successfully got themselves a glass of water by inventing a Rube Goldberg-like contraption. They spent half an hour every week putting together a contraption that would finally result in giving them a drink of water. They succeeded! Finally! This is how Samantha reflected on the experience: " Just to hear the water rush into the cup made all our faces light up. The ball rolled down the ramp, bounced off of our makeshift trampoline, knocked over the cup, then hit the paddle which fell forward. The water balloon that was attached to the paddle, hit the thumbtack and popped over a glass. Magically, a small cup of water appeared. The process of getting here, though, took forever. We had to hit specific angles and find exact measurements. It was a test of our creativity, but an even bigger test of our perseverance."
Categories: Engineering · science
The 2011-2012 Math Olympiad program is officially over for the year. Mathletes in grades 4 and 5 took their 5th and last contest two weeks ago and all results are in. All participants will receive individual and group prizes later in June. Congratulations are extended to both our 4th and 5th grade teams who outperformed their national and international peers. Our 4th graders consistently performed better than the "national" 5th graders and our 5th graders consistently outperformed the "national" 6th graders. In the March Math Olympiad newletter, it was noted that the "average" Elementary Division student (grades 4-6) scored 10.30 out of the total of 25. Our own "average" fourth grader scored 12/25 and our "average" fifth grader scored 16 out of the 25. Students are to be congratulated for their strong performance here! Finally, for the first time ever in Lane School's history of offering this program, we have a student with a Perfect Score (25/25). He will receive a medallion to honor his achievement. Congratulations to Nathaniel K.!
Independent project created by third grader Vincent C.
It's been months since we have posted anything to this blog. We've been very, very busy! Here's what's going on in the various groups that are happening.
Special Projects: Healy W. (Kindergarten student) has completed several special research projects. She's learned about the Solar System and made a movie, researched insects and made an insect book and is currently studying penguins. We presented a video to her family.
Students in grade one are working on a project about the Amazon Rain Forest. We read the chapter book: Afternoon on the Amazon, then choose animals of the rainforest to research and write about. Students learned how to take notes on an animal, then turn then into a paragraph. Students then used the Alpha Smarts to type up what they have learned and added it to our bulletin board.
Second Graders have been working on an entry to the annual Sieman's We Can Change the World Challenge. Their project is Ways to Save Electricity and Money at Davis School. They began their unit of study by actually doing experiments with bulbs and batteries and learning about electricity. Then, they inventoried the school for all the things that use electricity and categorized them into special categories. We invited the Director of Facilities for the town of Bedford to meet with us and help us decide on a campaign to reduce electricity usage at Davis School. Students chose three very specific actions that all of us in the building can focus on: 1). Turn off the lights in the classroomwhenever you leave the room. 2). Make sure all computers are turned off at the end of the day and 3). Use manual pencil sharpeners rather than electric ones. See these posters that are up in the building to remind everyone to change habits: .
Grade 3 Students are working on an extensive research project of the American Revolution and plan to be ready to present their research, diarama and authentic reenactment in time for Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts.
Grades 4 and 5 Mathletes are close to being done with all 5 contests of the Math Olympiads Competition. To date, our Lane School teams continue to outperform other teams across the country and overseas. They are very, very strong.
4th and 5thgrade reporters have written and published 5 school newspapers so far this year. If you want to read them, look for the Blog page for News from the Fast Lane.
There are approximately 273,544,128 blades of grass on the Bedford High School Football field! Are you wondering how I know this? To wrap up the second unit of math, Mrs. Dorer's fifth grade math class calculated the number of blades of grass on the High School Football field. We had to assume that the entire football field was covered in grass with no bare spots. First we went outside and counted the number of blades of grass in one square inch. We then calculated the class mean and determined it was 33. Our second step was to find the number of square inches in one square yard (36 x 36 = 1296). The next step was to calculate the area of the football field in square yards. We discovered that the area was approximately 6,396 square yards. Next, we multiplied the number of square yards (6,396) by the number of inches in one square yard (1,296) and got 8,289,216 square inches for the area of the football field. Then, we multiplied the number of square inches in the football field by 33 blades of grass in one square inch to come up with the final answer: 273,544,128 blades of grass in the Bedford High School Football field!
by Nathaniel K. (Grade 5)
As part of an estimation exploration, Mrs. Dorer asked us to estimate how long it would take us to walk from Lane School to Lexington Center. We talked about what information we would need and decided we would need to know the distance from Lane School to Lexington, the number of steps we take in 1 minute, and the length of one footstep. It will take me 3 hours and 36 minutes to walk from Lane School to Lexington Center. I know this because I added up all the miles on the mapquest sheet and got 6 miles. Then, I multiplied that by 5,280 (the number of feet in a mile) and got 31,680. Then, I added up the feet on the mapquest sheet. I got 1,916 feet. Then, I added that onto 31,680 to get the total number of feet, which was 33,596 feet. I the multiplied that by 12 to get 403,152, which was the total number of inches. Then I divided that by 16 (my personal step length) to get the number of steps I would take, which was 25,197. I divided that by 117 (my number of steps in 1 minute) to get the number of minutes (215.36). I rounded that to 215 minutes, and divided that by 60 to get 3.6 the number of hours. I then converted that to 3 hours and 36 minutes, the approximite amount of time it will take me to walk from Lane School to Lexington Center! by Chris Wirth
With each new school year, I like to inform families about my responsibilities in the Bedford Elementary Schools and the goals of the programming I provide. I wear multiple hats. My primary hat is that of the Coordinator of Bedford's Gifted and Enrichment Program for the elementary Schools where I have two program goals: Goal #1: is to provide support and guidance for the educational needs of gifted elementary students. Goal #2: is to promote teaching and learning strategies that enhance the elementary curriculum of all students. Another hat that I wear is that of the Elementary Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator.
To meet Goal #1: I provide a menu of services to individual children based on their individual needs. Among these are the following: Enrichment classes in math or ELA, independent or small group study on a topic of the student's own choosing, mentorship in a particular area, flexible pacing or some acceleration in a particular subject area, and participation in national contests. I consult regularly with classroom teachers to help them provide materials and teaching strategies for our highest learners. To meet Goal #2: At our Primary School, I push in to all first grade classrooms with some hands-on science activities and to all second grade classrooms with two engineering design challenges. At our Upper Elementary School, I publish a newspaper (News from the Fast Lane - see separate page in this blog for past issues), teach math enrichment classes, and provide opportunities for students to pursue independent study topics.
After MCAS...my favorite time of the year! Fourth and Fifth Grade students begin work on combining art and math by learning how to create curved designs. Check out these beautiful designs.