Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Investigation on Balance

As you know, we are studying balance and motion in our science unit at school. This week we did an investigation on balance using "trick crayfish".  This was an investigation from a Foss Science Kit that I mentioned earlier in the week.

Something I really like about the Foss Kits is that the investigations are designed to let the kids explore and come to conclusions on their own.  Rather than telling them how to balance the crayfish, I simply gave them some background information and then encouraged them to start exploring. It didn't take long before the kids were balancing the crayfish all on their own! It was pretty cool to see their faces lighting up as they realized they had found the balancing point all on their own.

The hardest part was that the kids could only balance the crayfish using one finger and many of them tried to hold it with their hands. But eventually everyone got the hang of it.

Before beginning the experiment, I took the kids through the Scientific Method so they could experience thinking about a problem like a real scientist. Our question was "How can we get the crayfish to balance?" For the hypothesis, we listed the various ways we thought we would be able to balance it (on the top, on its side, etc).

After the kids had learned about finding the balancing point and we had talked about whether something is stable or unstable, I encouraged them to try to find other ways to balance the crayfish. After a few minutes, the kids realized that it wasn't working! This is when I introduced the clothespins. I encouraged the kids to try using the clothespins in various ways to help balance the crayfish.

It was amazing to watch them work, as I did not have to show them where to put the clothespins. Eventually they figured it out through trial and error! After we figured out that clothespins could help the crayfish balance in other ways, I introduced them to the term counterweight. 

After the kids had plenty of time to explore using the counterweights, we came back together as a group to record the results and our findings from the experiment.  We also added our new words to our science word bank: balancing point, stable, unstable, counterweight
This week we will be doing another investigation on balance...I can't wait to see what the kinders discover next!

Long Lost Photos

Sometimes I take pictures at school and forget about them. This is one such post.  These are pictures from Halloween (I know, I's December already!) and the first Family Game Night.
Uncle Larry came to read on Halloween!
 The other classes paraded through our room and then we followed them out to join the parade!
Kindergarteners in costumes-
Doesn't get more adorable than that!

MTA's first family game night!
Family Game Night

Don't forget...the next Family Game Night is Wednesday, December 14th from 4:30-5:30 in the gym! Come enjoy  friends, games, and family! You can also sign out a game to bring home. Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Bed for the Winter

This week, our story is "A Bed for the Winter".  In this book, students learn about different types of animal homes. We read the book for the first time today and the kids were "oohing" and "ahhing" over the photographs of animals. Kindergarteners just love learning about animals!

For each Scott Foresman story, the first day is spent doing a "Concept Talk" to build students' background knowledge and introducing the "Amazing Words" of the week. The second day is the first read of the story, which is reading for enjoyment. The third day we read the story and focus on vocabulary. The fourth day we read the story a third and final time and focus on comprehension. The fifth day is used for extension activities.

Our letters this week are Uu and Vv. Our sight words for the week are she, he, and for.

In math, the mini-lessons this week are on comparing numbers. In centers, students are working on patterns, number writing, computers, and comparing numbers independently.

In science, we are working hard on becoming familiar with the Scientific Method and we are beginning a unit on balance and motion. Our first investigation of the unit will be tomorrow, focusing on balance. We are lucky to have Foss Science Kits this year and I am very excited to use them! Follow this link for more information on the Balance and Motion unit.

Last week, we made snowmen to decorate our hallway and we learned our new December song. Here's a video of it (pardon the poor quality, I took it with my phone).  The kids were still in the habit of singing "November is the new month here at school"...bear with us, the song was still new to them! :)

December is the new month here at school!
December is the new month here at school!
It's the time we like to say,
Have a happy holiday!
Oh, December is the new month here at school!
Have a great week!