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4th Grade Weekly Update

September 9, 2013

Our Current Unit How the World Works Central Idea: The earth’s structure affects human endeavors. Lines of Inquiry: Line 1: Structure of the Earth Line 2: How the dynamic Earth impacts human life Line 3: The use of Earth's resources The 4th grade spent the first few weeks of the school year investigating the Earth through the key concept of form. We learned about remote sensing techniques that geologists use to study the interior of the Earth and practiced our own remote sensing skills by trying to identify what was in an unlabeled can. We read about an exciting venture to dig a hole through the Earth’s crust to the Moho, the boundary between the crust and the mantle. We reviewed the valuable skill of reading textbooks to help us learn about the theory of Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics. The 4th graders are now in the midst of designing and creating a model of the Earth that demonstrates its structure for our formative project. This week, we will embark on the second line of inquiry which will allow us to use the key concept of causation as we study earthquakes and volcanoes. Over the coming week, the students will use the US Geological Survey’s website to discover where and when earthquakes occur each day and notate them on their own map of the world. Each student will research a catatrophic geologic event that has occurred historically and will write an informative paragraph detailing the significance of the event. We have incorporated conceptual math into our Unit of Inquiry this year. The students practiced adding and subtracting large numbers by determining the thickness of several layers of the earth. We also applied our graphing skills by drawing and analyzing a graph of temperature versus depth of the Earth’s layers. Additional conceptual math lessons will include figuring out the rate of sea floor spread and understanding the units of degrees, minutes, and seconds as they relate to latitude and longitude.

Upcoming Events: Thursday, September 12 – All day field trip to the National Earthquake Information Center (USGS) and the Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. Wednesday, September 18 – All day field trip to the Colorado Mountain Club with Mackintosh Boulder 4th grade Thursday, September 19 – All school assembly – Namlo and our sister school in Nepal Thursday, September 26 – Student photos Friday, October 4 – 5th/6th grade play - Mackintosh Littleton Fall Auction Language Arts During our Language Arts session in the mornings, the 4th graders have practiced the important skills of cursive and typing as well as spelling and vocabulary. We also wrote an informative paragraph about the Mohole andemployed numerous editing techniques to improve the original drafts. Reading aloud the book Wonder by R.J Palacio has provided a wonderful opportunity for our 4th grade class to discuss the important themes of Family, Friendship, Overcoming Challenges, and Bullying. Through discussing these themes we hope to establish a strong classroom community based on the precept “When given the choice between being right or being kind, chose kind”. During these past 3 weeks we have had several wonderful teachable moments where the students have practiced this precept with their classmates. It is our wish that this book will provide a strong foundation of kindness and empathy for our classroom community that we will continue to build upon as the year progresses. Our academic objectives for reading this book are as follows: 1. Focusing on the IB Transdisciplinary Skill of Listening through listening to Wonder as it is read aloud to them. Students have been asked to demonstrate their listening skills through completing various in-class short response comprehension activities. 2. Having students demonstrate their understanding of the IB Key Concept of Form through composing Form questions based on Wonder. 3. Having students demonstrate the IB Profile of Principled through their actions during the time they are being read aloud to from Wonder. We thoroughly enjoyed a visit on Tuesday, September 3, by author Jana Laiz ( who shared with us her experience in becoming a published writer. Ms. Laiz led a brief creative writing workshop during which she listed 5 unrelated words on the board and challenged the students to incorporate the words into a short story.

4th grade Newsletter September 9, 2013