Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family Mousetrap Car Challenge

Our second quarter science unit focused on the study of force and motion and our Unit 2 literacy theme was "Science at Play."  These areas of study allowed us to focus in on how things work, the six simple machines, and inventions.  We enjoyed reading about these topics, doing hands-on experiments, playing with iPad invention apps, and designing our own inventions.  (Be sure to keep checking our kidblogs as we will be posting our invention write-ups there real soon!).  As a unit wrap-up, we sent home an optional family challenge.  Families were challenged to build a mousetrap powered car to bring to class to help us review our science learning.  Pictured above are mousetrap cars that were created to share with the class.  Each entry was presented by a student and then the class loved watching them take-off across the floor!  What a great way for us to review concepts such as energy, work, friction, force, and more!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  The cars looked great and are now on display in the west display case in the lobby of our school.  Be sure to check them out!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Community Instagram Project

On Friday, December 6th, we were excited to meet some of the classes involved in our Community Instagram Project.  This project was initiated by Mrs. Bettess, a 3rd grade teacher, in Canada.  Using Twitter she contacted other interested classrooms (including us!) about sharing information about the different places we live via photographs.  This fall our class took a "Photo Safari" around town and took pictures of places in our community.  We are now uploading a few of those photos each week to our Instagram classroom friends to share.  We have classes in Iowa and Georgia participating as well a class in Canada and Great Britain. 

Friday we got to put some faces with class names as we were able to connect via Google Hangouts with three other classes involved in the project.  We introduced ourselves and talked to classes from central Iowa, Atlanta, Georgia, and Manitoba, Canada all at once.  It was great to hear about their communities in person and also compare weather!  Last Friday as we in Iowa hoovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit, our friends in Canada were -35 degrees Celsius, and our friends in Atlanta, Georgia were 69 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some of them were even wearing shorts to school- we were jealous!  

It is always great to talk to other 3rd grade classes, and we look forward to continuing our Community Instagram Project throughout the school year.  What a great way for us to learn about other destinations!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Math Rotations

Math is such an interesting and fun area of study.  Sometimes when we think about math we only think of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division, but it is really so much more.  Math is patterns, shapes, money, graphs, data, measurement and more.  I am proud to say I have some excellent mathematicians in my classroom this year.  If you were to visit our math classroom- what would you see?
  • individuals, partners, and groups completing problem solving activities
  • math games to help reinforce important concepts
  • individualized math work using Moby Math on our iPads
  • hands-on math activities to help us understand the "why" behind what we do
  • different activities to help us learn our basic facts including games, flashcards, singing, and more....
  • peer teaching (helping others master math concepts)
  • math enrichment centers
  • and much, much more!
Some days are lessons are whole group lessons, but we also use what we call "Math Rotations" on a regular basis.  During math rotations students move through small group stations that include teacher time (a small group working on math concepts with Mrs. Adams), goal time (working at the student's level using Moby Math), and center time (small groups working on math enrichment activities).    Students also use their morning work time to work on individual math assignments and get help from Mrs. Adams as needed.  Below are some pictures of our math classroom in action:

 Students work on patterning activities in the math enrichment center.

Students use their problem-solving skills to do some computer coding.

We are currently studying multiplication, so small groups work with Mrs. Adams during teacher time to practice their skills.  Here we are creating multiplication arrays.

Students work daily on their Moby Math accounts which individualizes their math instruction to their strengths and weaknesses.  Moby will be available during summer vacation to use also!

Partners create multiplication array problems to solve.

Students use their iPads to create "Show Me" presentations to teach others about multiplication.