From Ms. Shortreed's Desk

Rocks and Minerals Unit

We have recently started the Rocks and Minerals Unit with the grade 4 class. So far we have explored the differences between rocks and minerals through the chocolate bar analogy. Minerals are like pure milk chocolate bars because it is only made up of one thing. Rocks, on the other hand, are like an O'Henry bar because they are made up of multiple ingredients/minerals. Next we explored igneous rocks through watching the eruption of Ms. Shortreed's homemade volcano. The students were very engaged with activity and enjoyed watching the volcano explode and had lots of questions about volcanos and lava. The last rock type we looked at was sedimentary rocks and we learned about how rocks erode, soil settles, and how as it is pushed downwards it forms new rocks. We then did an experiment by observing how soil, gravel, and sand settle in a jar of water. We will continue learning about rocks and minerals and next lesson we will be exploring metamorphic rocks.

Forces Causing Movement Unit

In the grade 3 class we have started a unit on Forces Causing Movement. There are a lot of complex topics in this unit and the grade 3's have been doing very well in their understanding. The first thing that we explored was how movements are caused by push and pull force. This was done through exploring how the grade 3's could make different toys move. They came to the realization on their own that they either had to push or pull the toys to make them move. So far we have explored mechanical force and gravitational force through a number of different experiments that showed the students visually how forces are at work when an object moves. One example was when the students predicted what would hit the ground first, a tennis ball or a ping pong ball; most students choose the heavier object. As we discovered they both hit the ground at the same time because the gravitational force pulling them towards the earth's surface was the same.