Mrs. Ball's Weekly Update

January 18, 2016

The Journey has Begun!

It has been a wonderful start to our trip to Antarctica! The first days of study involved important preparations... read alouds about Antarctica, packing lists, and passports. The students' measuring of their heights and weights for their passports provided a reference point for the penguin studies to come, including the physical attributes, behaviors and life cycles of 6 different penguins (Rockhoppers, Kings, Little Blues, Gentoos, Chinstraps, and Emperors). This unit is rich with measurement activities as well as map reading, sorting, and graphing. The kids' book boxes are piled deep with non fiction choices and their writing is fact based and detailed. I am truly impressed by their knowledge base of world geography, weather, and penguins. First graders are researchers by nature and the kiddos are engaged and excited for more!

This week we played our first travel game- Journey to Antarctica. This unit's math games are designed to keep the students' computation and place value skills sharp. We also gathered facts and did some research about the environment. We discussed the fragile environment of Antarctica and the concerns scientists have for the future of our planet. We talked specifically about global warming and how the rise in temperatures have caused ice shelves to collapse throughout the region, subsequently its effect on the penguin numbers. More importantly, we talked about how we can do our part to help the earth by conserving, consuming less and "chiming in" to educate others.

Big image

How Cold is the Polar Sea?

Thursday our focus was on temperature. We practiced reading thermometers and familiarizing ourselves with the terms "degrees" and "Fahrenheit". We located Antarctica on both a map and globe, and discussed how the temperature is affected by the proximity to the equator/ poles. We are glad to be visiting Antarctica in their summer time as winter temps can be as low as negative 120 ! Water temperatures are also colder. The children worked in small groups to manipulate water to match temperatures in various ocean areas. Each group used a small container of tap water and thermometer to work together to adjust the temperature of the tap water to match temperature cards. Using a combination of hot water and ice cubes, the kids raised and lowered the temperature to 65 degrees, down to 50, up to 60, down to 30... they really enjoyed this experiment. Our post activity was to "write to teach" about their findings.

Next Week....

Now that we understand how cold and dangerous the polar sea can be we will cautiously set sail to the Falkland Islands just northeast of Cape Horn. There we will meet our first penguin, the Rockhopper, and learn how to measure in inches and weigh objects to the nearest pound. We will also have an introduction to non-fiction texts and informational writing.

Big image