First Grade Newsletter - March 9, 2013 Unit of Inquiry Updates During the past few weeks we have been focused on explorers. That means famous historical explorers but also modern day exploration such as space and ocean exploration. Students began the exploration part of our unit by brainstorming in groups answers to questions such as what qualities does someone need to be an explorer? and what are some real or imagined dangers that explorers might have faced? We learned about reasons that someone might want to explore and made mini books telling the reasons for exploration. The Bartos came in as guest speakers. They work as aerospace engineers building rockets and telescopes. They talked to students about what we are looking for in space and the challenges we face as we explore space. Students built a to scale model of the solar system in the field behind school to begin to understand how far away planets are from us and how many years it would take to travel to each one. Students had a rich discussion about how to creatively solve to challenge of being in a space ship for many years, possibly longer than one person could live. They suggested solutions like growing food on the space shuttle, bringing a baby with you, and sending a robot instead. Students decided that being a risk taker was an incredibly important part of being an explorer so we went on a rock climbing field trip where students had the chance to practice being a risk taker. Students cheered each other on for trying something new and for trying again when they were scared. We practiced note taking as students listened to short stories about several famous explorers and took notes on the most important information they heard. Students wrote a postcard from a famous explorer, wrote a song about a famous explorer, and made a crew wanted poster for a real expedition. We read alien reports about landing on earth to see if earth was a place they could live on and tried to figure out where they had landed depending on what their reports described. Then we had a great conversation about how explorers would have thought very different things depending on where they landed and what they saw right away. Students wrote their own alien reports about landing in Boulder from the perspective of someone that had never been to earth before.
Quote of the Week: “I think traveling for seventy five years in space would be really awesome as long as I could bring my dog.” “What about your family?” “Oh yeah, they could come too.”
unit of inquiry continued..... Then they wrote journal entries about if they had been traveling on a spaceship, what they saw, and how they felt about their expedition. Student wrote an interview with a stowaway on a famous explorer’s expedition. We had a visit from Ernest Shakleton, polar explorer (I dressed up as him) and helped him to come up with a rescue plan to save his crew. Students used drama to act out their rescue plans and then worked together to combine ideas and come up with the best rescue plan. After researching famous explorers, students made sock dolls of their explorers and did a short presentation to introduce their explorer to the class by telling about their explorer.
Math Minds at Work Miss Miller’s Math Group Miss Miller's math group has been exploring number sense by practicing solving word problems using addition and subtraction and working with doubles. This week they have even begun exploring multiplication and division. A great way to encourage your child to practice their addition/subtraction at home is to ask them how to play "Make 10/Go Fish" with a deck of cards. Or, work on multiplication/division by preparing a dozen carrot or celery sticks and asking your child to figure out how any each family member will get if they are shared equally. Miss Bolch’s Math Group Miss Bolch's class has been working on identifying, creating, and comparing fractions. We have also been working on shapes and different types of symmetry such as radial symmetry, turn symmetry, and regular symmetry. Students have been practicing identifying lines of symmetry and creating symmetrical designs.
Upcoming Dates March 14- evening conferences March 15- NO SCHOOL, conferences March 22- half day of school - teacher conference exchange March 25- 29- spring break
Photos Front Page (top to bottom): first graders being risk takers on a rock climbing field trip, setting up a to scale model of the solar system, Ernest Shakleton visits Back Page (top to bottom): enjoying a snowy day, Neil Armstrong sock doll, brainstorming about explorers, students acting out possible rescue scenarios for Ernest Shakleton’s crew