During the second week of the district’s summer investigations elementary program, students centered their learning around an “under the sea” theme.
During the library classes, students watched videos of ocean animals swimming in their water habitats. Students used Chromebooks to access the Pebble Go databases and read about two or three animals before choosing one to research. While the students researched, they enjoyed a video that featured many types of sea creatures swimming to peaceful music. Graphic organizers were used to help students organize their notes and record facts about their sea animal.
To tie the theme into their math and English language arts lessons, students fished for math facts and wrote math word problems. Several classes included ocean-related vocabulary words such as anchor, whales and clownfish in their word problems. Classroom read-alouds included “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister. Beach towels created flexible seating for partner work. Mrs. Russell, school social worker, pushed into classes and led “mindful minutes” which allowed students to practice readying their minds and bodies for learning.
During their time in the STEM lab, students discussed the terms sink, float and prediction. They were able to apply the key concepts of buoyancy and density by first making predictions on whether certain objects would sink or float. Students then tested their guesses to see if they were correct.
Students designed a boat using tin foil that was not only sea worthy, but also met an engineering challenge relating to the Archimedes principle. The students placed paper clips on their boats while keeping track of their count by using tally marks on their worksheet. They skip counted by five to see how many paper clips their boat could hold before sinking; 187 paper clips was the maximum a student’s boat held.