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March 2021


Pre-K The preschool is involved in the IB Unit, How The World Works through a study of all different kinds of tools. We began by learning about tools used to mail letters at the post office. We made Valentines for our families and had them delivered to our houses by mail carriers. We have many construction tools in our room this week. Next week, we will be learning about tools that scientists use which we will use to discover living things outside of our school after Spring Break.


Kindergarten

Kindergarten students are learning “How the World Works” by exploring toys. First, we focused on the materials used to make toys. We discovered that toys are made from many different materials. Our second line of inquiry focuses on the design and function of toys. Our toys have many different functions; some light up, some move, some make noise, most make us happy! Our final line of inquiry will focus on the choices made by toy designers. Students will become toy designers as they design and create their very own toys!


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First grade explored needs and wants, goods and services, and what people do to provide goods and services. We wrote what it would be like if we had to move to a deserted island and could only bring ten things with us. Many students decided to bring food, water, and a tent instead of stuffed animals. We shared our thoughts on why people need to meet their needs before fulfilling their wants. First graders also investigated what people do to meet their needs and wants. We created a parent invitation to share a video of their real-world jobs. Many first-grade parents talked about how they produce goods or provide a service. When the inauguration took place, we watched the swearing-in ceremony. Students took great interest in identifying the wide variety of jobs involved in the production. In this unit, we also studied different kinds of natural resources. To investigate the harm that had been done by using some of the natural resources, we recreated oil spills. We tried our very best to clean up the animals (feathers) in the oil spills.

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2

In our most recent IB unit of inquiry, How we Organize Ourselves, we have been exploring the world of economics. Students used their problem-solving skills to determine if situations were wise or unwise based on their knowledge of needs and wants. Making these choices can be very difficult. We also had great learning and engagement opportunities where our parents joined us virtually to share about their careers. Students gained knowledge about different occupations and if they provided goods or a service. To conclude our unit, students thought about what they want to be when they grow up and what resources they will need to perform their job (human, natural, and capital). We are excited for our students to explore different types of jobs and learn how they are important to our community and world.


3

Salt. It is used to melt icy roads, provide seasoning Grade for food, and helps regulate our breathing and digestion. It has many functions. This rock, ground down into tiny grains has been the object of wars, revolutions, and the foundation of global economies. In our current IB Unit, How We Organize Ourselves: World Market, third graders are exploring the role of salt and its impact on world economies past and present. We began our unit of study with the first of several science experiments using salt. In our first experiment, students dissolved salt in water. Students observed what happened to the salt once the water evaporated followed by a group discussion of their findings. As we continue our study of salt, who knows where this journey will take us! Ah ha, here’s a hint: Egyptian mummies. Stay tuned!


4

After completing our unit How We Express Ourselves, the fourth grade embarked upon Grade How the World Works. In this unit students are learning about geography through investigations of weathering/erosion/deposition, landforms, natural disasters, regions of Indiana and the U.S. Students are researching a place in the world of their interest and writing an informative piece with text features to show their learning. This ties beautifully into our next unit of Where We Are in Place in Time.


5

From December through mid-January, fifth graders have been learning How the World Works through a study of living systems. We became knowledgeable about the adaptation of living things to their environment, and we discovered new creatures that we designed based on those characteristics. Our culmination ceremony displaying the animals and plants we “discovered,” in pre-Covid years, were displayed in a huge convention in the cafeteria. This year, we displayed our discoveries through Padlet links shared among students and parents. Our study of living systems then moved seamlessly into Where We Are in Place and Time which is a study of how exploration and colonization impact the people and environments explored and conquered. Students are considering how some of the IB profiles have been displayed by those who seek out new things, whether it is risk-taking going into the unknown, such as traditional explorers or Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon, or being an inquirer of topics such as the mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani. Exploration and discovery can encompass many ideas from music, art, medicine, and science as well as land. We explored floating and sinking, thinking of ships, and we incorporated leaders in the civil rights movement, and participated in the Black History Month contest with the City of Bloomington.

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6

Sixth grade students are working within the International Baccalaureate transdisciplinary theme of Sharing the Planet in order to better understand how community interactions affect the sustainability of systems. As parts of the unit, students will inquire about factors that affect the organization of the world, how relationships among individuals work to create balance, and how actions and consequences affect the sustainability of a community. Content is focused around medieval society and structures such as the feudal system after the “fall” of Western Rome, as well as how those structures changed due to conflicts and the spread of knowledge, ideas, and culture. Additionally, students are looking at structures in biology and ecology in order to better understand relationships, classification, limiting factors, and invasive species. Throughout the next several weeks, students will contemplate the central idea of our current unit of study, and they will research a social or environmental issue that affects a larger system. Through research students will learn background knowledge about the chosen topic, reflect on possible biases that exist around the topic, ponder multiple perspectives and solutions, and consider tradeoffs and balance in order to suggest a solution that will best benefit a larger system.

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Our mission: We at University Elementary School work together to encourage our students to become inquiring, reflective learners who value others in an inclusive community and around the world.

University School Bloomington, Indiana Spring 2021

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University School IB Newsletter March 2021  

University School IB Newsletter March 2021  

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