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!