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3rd-4th Newsletter

May, 2012

Our Current Unit of Inquiry

How We Share the Planet How people understand and treat other species has consequences in our world. Lines of inquiry: 1. Characteristics of invertebrate species 2. Roles of invertebrates in ecosystems 3. Relationship between invertebrates and people Key Concepts: Form, Function, Perspective Related Concepts: Properties, Systems, Patterns, Interdependence Learner Profile: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Reflective

Our classroom is filled with evidence of student learning in this unit as they develop the learner profiles of inquirer, knowledgeable and reflective. The students worked in research teams to determine which Colorado invertebrates we could safely and respectfully welcome into our classroom for observation. They then collaborated to design terrariums to meet the needs of different types of invertebrates. We are now hosting crayfish, earwigs, centipedes, pill bugs and a few more invertebrate guests. If you walk through our classroom, you will see these terrariums and their inhabitants, as well as students’ invented insects and bilateral and radial symmetry designs from our math inquiry into symmetry in animal classification. Students have also been learning about invertebrates through experiments, field trips, research and a simulation about the mysterious “Insect Island.” We have been so impressed by their passion for learning during this unit and their risk-taking with both their thinking and their openmindedness toward invertebrates. Each day it seems like someone makes a comment that demonstrates a broadening understanding of how we share the planet with a vast variety of living things.

Our learning during this unit has been enriched by field trips to the CURE Organic Farm, Butterfly Pavilion, and the Carson Nature Center. We also enjoyed our collaborative Bioblitz with students at the Mackintosh Boulder campus. We send gratitude to our parent drivers for helping us with these impactful learning experiences.


Upcoming Dates and Special Events May 18th Field Trip to Carson Nature Center We will be learning about river invertebrates and the roles they play in a river ecosystem.

May 23rd – Summative Projects Due May 25th – Half-day for students Learner Profile Spotlight: Inquirer. “I seek answers to the hows and whys of the universe.”

The dismissal time for our class is 11:20am.

May 28th Memorial Day – No School May 30th - Field Day Details on this event will be coming home shortly.

June 1st - Graduation Students will be dismissed after our graduation ceremony – around 11am. Parents are welcome to join us for this event.

Math Inquiries Our first math inquiry in this unit was an exploration of symmetry in invertebrate phyla. We then explored the question, “Why do honeybees use a hexagon pattern in their hives?” We first looked at the mathematical concept of hexagonal close packing and found evidence of this in both nature and in manmade designs. Students next designed a beehive by covering a plane with repeating at repeating pattern block and measuring the length the lines needed to create their design. From this, they learned that the hexagon gives the most area for the least amount of material. In the case of bees, the hexagon design allows them to have cells which have the greatest area for the least amount of precious wax. It was wonderful to help the students use math, science and the experiences of beekeepers to solve this interesting question.

Mackintosh Academy Littleton 3rd 4th grade newsletter  

Mackintosh Academy Littleton 3rd 4th grade newsletter

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