UE2 Newsletter: Spring has Sprung!

Classroom News, Events, and Activities for 2015

Fish and Aquaponics

UE2 has recently welcomed fish into its environment. Our freshwater friends are helping to keep the wheatgrass plants above them alive and have provided us with a real-world example of aquaponics. At the same time, the bubbling tank has provided a soothing background noise to our classroom. Sofia, a 4th year student, and instrumental to helping set up this project, wrote the following article describing her role:

"Getting the fish was really a fun adventure that involved research and going to Pet Smart. Gianna and I were really excited when Katie told us that we could get fish for our classroom after we had studied and researched which types of fish would be able to survive in a freshwater tank. Even though I don't really enjoy doing lots of research, at the time I was still so excited. After a lot of research and reading we finally found the right 3 guppies to get. It took a lot of hard work to get a time that would work for Gianna and me to go with Laura to the store. However, after we had a decided on a time and day we prepared for going out by readying the tank and making a supply list. We then drove to Pet Smart and purchased the fish. Afterwards, we helped introduce the fish to our tank back at school. Finally, we decided on names as a class. The blue one's name is Bubbles, the red and yellow guppy's name is Mr. Fish, and the orange guppy's name is Kete."

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Sofia and Gianna with our fish: Kete, Mr. Fish, and Bubbles

Ancient Egypt Research

The 5th years have taken their research to a new level. While cultural music played liltingly in the background, students walked into the kitchen and perused articles and books on ancient Egypt to select a topic of this culture that truly fascinated them and that they could then design a project around. Tanner, a 5th year student, shared his excitment for this new project in the following piece:

"The ancient Egypt lesson was really cool because you are going to be able to learn about Ancient Egypt while creating 3D boards, cooking, and making tools. I think it is so much fun because you can have a partner while you do all of this stuff. My favorite part so far is doing the research. You even get to choose your topic! For instance, Zander is choosing to research the religion of the ancient Egyptians as well as their language."

Frog and Earthworm Dissections

The 4th and 5th years have recently had the opportunity to delve into dissections of vertebrates and invertebrates. Gianna, a 5th year stated, "It surprised me that earthworms have 5 hearts! Also, the process of dissecting it was really hard because the worm was so skinny!" Sofia, who along with the other 4th years dissected a frog, commented, " I was grossed out by how many eggs can be inside a female frog. Overall though, I thought it was a cool opportunity to see the anatomy of a frog."

Peace Corner

The Peace Corner is a place in our classroom where students can go to relax and re-energize themselves while being in a calm and serene setting. Two students who were instrumental to the design and the construction of this environment were Aidan and Sascha. They share their reflections below:

"The Peace Corner is a place where you go if you are hyper or excited and need to calm down. In the Peace Corner there are books, a fountain, a rainstick, a zen garden and a labryinth. On the left hand side of this space a big piece of paper exists for students to draw or doodle on. On the right hand side there are the materials and the sign-up sheet. "

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Aidan in the Peace Corner he helped design

Writer's Workshop

Currently, all 4th and 5th year students are participating in a research of some way, shape, or form and are hard at work designing both a 2D and 3D work to share by the end of April. Ava, a 5th year student, shared her thoughts on this process:

"So in Writer's Workshop all the 4th and 5th years are doing a research at present. They are required to make a 2D booklet on a topic of their choice and a 3D project such as a diorama or board game. Some topics students have chosen include 'The Attack on Pearl Harbor', 'The London Bridge', 'The Civil War', and 'The Attacks of 9-11.' This project is teaching us how to write a research paper and to really dig in and learn more on the topic of our choice."

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Zander explaining his book group's "Strategies for Success" and his enjoyment of "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe