Fifth graders will be working on scientific explanations this year to explain natural phenomena like why the moon appears differently in the sky each night, why seasonal patterns of stars look the way they do, and how daily changes of daylight and shadow length are affected by the earth's relationship to the sun. We spent a good amount of time this week learning to set up a "Earth Systems Observation" entry in our journals, which will be the springboard to our yearly data collection. We also secured spots in our journals to gather data on moon phases, constellations, and daily amounts of daylight. Fifth graders are going to be data experts by the end of the year!
So students' first two challenges of the school year had them thinking a lot about the work of engineers. Engineers specifically define problems and design solutions to the problems. Their two "challenges" were really problems they needed to solve in teams. Since engineering and science are naturally collaborative, there was no better way to establish working norms for teamwork.
We're moving beyond engineering (but don't worry, we're not saying good-bye to it for long), and thinking now about the work scientists do. Scientists and engineers have work that is similar, but their work is distinctively different.
Scientists ask questions and seek the answers to those questions through meaningful research and investigations. We'll be working on what it means to construct an explanation in science, using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning Framework.
Claim: A statement that answers a question.
Evidence: Data that supports the claim.
Reasoning: A justification that connects the evidence to the claim.
To introduce this concept, we watched this short commercial to answer the question:
Is my dad a space alien?
Check out our CER model that we developed as a class. Great work!
Teamwork is such a simple word, but boy, does it pack the punch! Teamwork can mean a lot to many different people, and how we work in teams can make or break our experiences.
Today, students were challenged to build a specific tower of cups using only a rubber band tool. They were constrained by time, and over the course of fifteen minutes, all aspects of teamwork came to the surface.
As a class, we established norms for teamwork and walked through what to do with many different situations....how to communicate, how to share experiences, how to lead or be led, how to listen, and how working together really can unite us. Ultimately, we learn from these experiences, making us better people who are able to solve problems in a different light.
Way to go!
What a great first day at Alcott! Lots of new faces and lots to learn. Students quickly jumped in learning procedures and I had the opportunity to learn a little bit about them. I gave students the opportunity to tell me what they're like both inside and outside of school as well as how they learn best and when they struggle with their learning. Here's what I shared about myself with the class:
With all that...I am excited to find ways to reach everyone this year, no matter how they learn!