We started out by researching with our science books and finding out what simple machines are and what they do. We then watched a video about simple machines on Discovery Education. After that, we went to the computer lab and played a game from the Museum of Science and Industry where the students needed to manipulate different simple machines to reach a goal.
After researching simple machines, we researched catapults. We used QR codes and the iPads for this research. We found out what catapults are used for (now and in the past), where they originated, and how they work. As a class, we then discussed how catapults and simple machines are related. What simple machines we will use to make our Popsicle catapults? After much discussion, we decided we would be using an inclined plane and a lever. We then drew a design of our catapult we wanted to make.
Then it was time to build our catapults. Luckily, we had 5 parent volunteers who came in and helped us with this process. Thank you! They were given popsicle sticks, rubber bands, hot glue (parents used), and a spoon. They could decide how much of the materials they needed to use. It was so interesting to see what designs each group picked and why.
Finally, it was time to launch. Before we launched, the students decided what measurement tool they would use to measure their candy corn, who in the group would launch, who would measure, who would spot and place tape where the candy corn landed, and who would videotape the launch. After each group launched 2 times, they added the distances to determine how far their catapult launched the candy corn. We then discussed the process and talked about things we did well and things we would change. They all agreed they want to do it again.
The students did an amazing job researching, designing, building, and launching their catapults. We have some future engineers in our classroom! You will be able to view your child's launch during conferences.
Over the past month, technology has played a huge role in our classroom. Not only are we utilizing our classroom iPads, but we are constantly using our laptops.
During our literacy block, the students have different centers they go to while I am meeting with a group at the front table. I have tried to change these center activities a bit by incorporating technology. For example, in the Give Me 5 center students are asked to read 5 picture books and rate them. To change it a bit, the students still read the picture books, but now they write a response to the book on one of our classroom padlet pages. If you would like to see these, please visit the following links:
Also, the listening center is all done on the laptops.
The students have also been enjoying the online math site called Prodigy. The students can't stop talking about it! I encourage you to allow your child to play this at home; it will help with their math skills.
We continue to use our classroom iPads on a daily basis. Many times I will give the students QR codes to research topics. Also, during reading centers, they have been playing a word building game. This game always them to manipulate letters to make new words.
Finally, I have introduced the students to my Symbaloo page. This is a website I have created with different links to online activities. Many of the students have told me they have visited the site at home. If you haven't, here is the link:
A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the students to different themes for each day of the week. These themes are:
Money Monday - We get the money out, discuss coins, and count money
Tick Tock Tuesday - We get the clocks out, discuss time, and make different times of the day
Wow Word Wednesday - I pick a word, give the students the meaning, and they have to use the word in a sentence. Then we go around and share.
Thoughtful Thursday - The students pick a peer's name out of the popsicle stick cup. They then write something nice to this person.
Fun Fact Friday - We find out what interesting things happened in history on that particular day.
When it is time to work on our theme for the day, the students gather at the back carpet and sit in a circle. We discuss the topic, and they are able to interact with their peers. The students really look forward to this time.