Intermediate SAGE

4th grade

Unit of Study Updates

The month of January is here, and with it, we are beginning a new semester of learning. Our fourth grade students have been very busy in their Units of Study this past quarter. Read on to learn more about each unit and the progress we have made since last quarter!
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How to Train Your Robot

This quarter the students were able to use creative thinking and problem solving. The students had their first design challenge which they had to identify a problem that the robot could solve or an action it could take. They then had to describe the problem or actions the robot needed to make and then write the program. Each student was able to test their program. If the program failed, the student evaluated the failure and took time to try to improve their design.

The students were also introduced to the concept of obstacle detection and artificial intelligence – students programmed the robot to make decisions (artificial intelligence) in response to obstacles in the robot’s environment. They also learned about basic robot sensing and control similar to that used in advanced automated factories and cars.

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In this quarter, students have been studying Phylum Mollusca and Phylum Arthropoda. They dissected a squid, using one day to learn about its internal anatomy and another session to learn about its external anatomy. Students then added information from their to Book Creator, where they are creating their own Zoology textbook/portfolio. Next, students started studying Phylum Arthropoda, with a specific focus on Class Insecta and Class Crustacea. They used several resources to determine the characteristics of Arthropods and to prepare for their Arthropod dissection, such as Google Expeditions. Students were amazed at the world of VR and AR and explored the structure of a variety of Arthropods. In their dissection, they have started to compare and contrast the internal and external anatomy of a crawdad and a grasshopper – Class Crustacea and Class Insecta. Beyond compare and contrast, an additional scientific practice they are focusing on is the relationship between structure and function.
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Young Architect Studio

In our study of Victorian architecture, students investigated common elements in Victorian design and analyzed the symmetry and asymmetry in structures. Then they applied their learning to create their own Victorian home designs! We studied architectural scale, and students drew scaled building plans. Finally, they matched form to function as they designed floor plans for the structures and analyzed their designs for the effective use of entrances, windows, rooms, furniture, appliances, and traffic flow within the building.

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SAGE Startup

This quarter students learned some guidelines for creating a company name such as using alliteration, foreign languages, being catchy or descriptive. They also learned logos need to be clean and scalable. They were exposed to the design process and created a poster for their journal. We discussed why we use the design process to keep us focused and moving forward. But we also understand we can move back and forth between steps as they learn more. They researched and started to design their products they will “sell”. We have learned a lot about size and measurements while creating some prototypes.

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Light it Up

This past quarter the students have applied the principles of circuitry they learned during the first quarter to the challenge of designing, testing, and in some cases, redesigning a card that lights up and a wearable piece of fashion that incorporates LEDs and conductive thread. They have had lots of practice with the concept that creating a system is an iterative design process, one that entails iterative cycles of feedback, troubleshooting, and testing. In addition, students learned about switches, their function, and how they are incorporated into circuits to light things up. Using their understanding of switches and circuits, they created circuit schematics for their wearable fashion.
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Planning, shooting, and editing video packages are the skills we’ve focused on in broadcasting this quarter. Students have chosen areas of interest and worked in teams to plan and create their own feature segments. We have also filmed a few episodes of our SAGE News show to give the students firsthand knowledge of the many skills and responsibilities it requires.
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Fourth grade worked on progressing in several areas of language learning during second quarter. In addition to clothing vocabulary and simple sentences starting with “I am” or “I have”, we were focusing on how to be a language learner. It can be frustrating for students to not know more than a few dozen words in Spanish. We worked on using circumlocution (finding another way to say something when we don’t have the exact vocabulary word in our memory), and making inferences when reading sentences in which we knew most, but not all of the words. Lots of problem solving and creative thinking were involved!