Thursday, October 10, 2013

We Love Science!

Fourth grade studies water throughout the year. We are lucky enough to have monthly visits from Mr. Duff from Portland Water District, who brings awesome hands-on lessons. Today was our first lesson. We learned 3 key points. The first is that 75% of the world is covered by water.

We played a game where Mr. Duff tossed the ball to each person. We kept track of whatever your right thumb was or water.
Jaden kept track of the responses. You can see that most people landed on water!
Next, Mr. Duff did a demonstration to show how much of the world's water is drinkable.
Earlier in the day, students had made predictions about this at morning meeting.
We imagined that all the world's water could fit into a one-gallon jug. 50% of that water, or 1/2, would be the Pacific Ocean. Another 25%, or 1/4, would be the Atlantic Ocean. And most of the last 25% is other salt water, such as the various seas around the world. 
Only 3% of the world's water is fresh, and much of that is trapped in glaciers. Less than 1% of all the world's water is available for drinking! This really made us think about how important it is to protect our water sources and not to waste water!

The last activity we did was called "The Incredible Journey". Students got to be water molecules, traveling through the water cycle.
There were nine stations around the room with all the places that water can be found.
At each station, you put a color-coded bead on the pipe cleaner and rolled the dice.
The die would tell you to either move to a new station, or stay where you were, because sometimes water gets trapped places for a long time.

We realized that the water cycle is much more complex than just evaporation, condensation, and precipitation!
By looking at the order of the beads, you could retell your water cycle journey.

Everyone had a different journey!

We recorded our journeys on paper and shared them with a partner. 
Look for more science in the coming weeks. We are learning about states of matter and will be doing some cool experiments.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lost on a Mountain in Maine

Our first read-aloud every year in 4th grade is always Lost on a Mountain in Maine. Parents, if you grew up in Maine, you may remember this book. It is the story of a twelve year old boy, Donn Fendler, who was hiking Mt. Katahdin with his father and brother, when he got separated in a storm and was lost for 9 days. It was national news at the time in 1939, and now 74 years later, it still fascinates us.

Since then, Donn Fendler has traveled the state, speaking to school children. However, now that he is in his mid-eighties, he does not travel much.

A few years ago, however, he did collaborate on a graphic novel version of his book, called Lost Trail. It has been a popular read in our classroom!

I am so excited to learn that a feature film has been made of Lost on a Mountain in Maine! Check out the trailer...

Not sure when or where it will be released, but once it's available on DVD, we will definitely get a copy of this inspirational story of courage and perseverance!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Month of School

How can it be almost October already? The first few weeks of school have flown by, but we have been very busy in 4th grade. The first month of school is full of getting-to-know you activities and group challenges, like the Cup Challenge you see below.

Teamwork and cooperation were also emphasized during activities such as a Jigsaw Puzzle Challenge and The 4th Day in 4th Grade #4 Challenge.

Check out our first month slide show to see what else we've been up to!

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Trout Release

We have been raising trout since we got eyed eggs back in January. This past Friday, it was time to release them into their natural habitat. Here is a slideshow of our morning at Trout Brook. Enjoy!

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Southern Maine Children's Water Festival

We had a wonderful trip to the Southern Maine Children's Water Festival on Friday, May 17th. This awesome event is sponsored by Portland Water District, who does such a great job all year with their monthly science lessons about water. We have applied to go to the festival every year since we went 5 years ago, but this is the first time since then that we were selected to attend. This year's event did not disappoint! Check out our slideshow. (What is not in the slideshow is a really funny ecology skit that we saw at the end of the day. I was so caught up in it, I totally forgot to take any pictures!)
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Maine!

A large part of our social studies curriculum is focused on learning about our state. We study the geography, history, government, and economy of Maine. Friday, March 15 was Maine Statehood Day, because on that date in 1820, Maine became the 23rd state to join the Union. In honor of the occasion, we had a Maine Birthday party. It was a great way to review some of what we've learned about our state as well as just have some fun!
This was my morning message on the SMARTBoard.  Students took turns dragging each number to the correct spot.
Students colored Maine symbols to glue onto a party hat.

The hats came out awesome!


We had a special snack of Maine foods, (or in some cases, foods meant to represent Maine products.)

Our menu consisted of blueberries, (our state berry), Goldfish crackers, pretzel logs, apples, B&M Baked Beans, potato chips, Moxie, (which was invented in Maine), apple juice, and Poland Spring water. We used to have baked goods like blueberry muffins, but due to food allergies, we can no longer have them. The kids did not seem to mind at all and some even came back for thirds! There were a lot of purple teeth in the room!
We did the birthday chant that we usually do when it's someone's birthday.
We played "Pin the Tail on the Moose"!
You can't see everyone's tail in this picture because some of them were really far away. After being spun around 3 times while blindfolded, you can get pretty dizzy! Connor got so turned around, he almost walked out of the room! Abby had the tail closest to the correct spot.
We also played Maine Jeopardy, boys against the girls. It got pretty intense! I adapted the rules a bit. First, I did not require students to answer in the form of a question. Second, while each team took turns choosing a category and point value, both teams had the opportunity to answer every question.

We used iPads to write the answers using the free Show Me App. Each team discussed possible answers and had to come up with one answer for the team. The kids had a ball! It was quite competitive right up until the end, when the boys pulled out the win. Mrs. Clark found the cool free Jeopardy template on the Smart Exchange and we just added our own questions. We will play again with questions from other subject areas.
All in all, I would say that our celebration was a success! Happy Birthday Maine!