Explorations of Elementary 2017 April Newsletter
We were busy preparing for the International Festival this month, but had plenty of time to work, experiment, and take care of our environment, inside and out! This month we had a student create and laminate a lesson about foxes, had a week of Earth Day activities, completed plant experiments, baked and build our Periodic Table out of cookies, and spent time in the garden!
There are many things we love about our Montessori classroom, but one of the best parts has to be when students take the initiative to create something to share their knowledge with others. A second-grade student is fascinated by foxes. She wanted to create a way to share her knowledge with others. She researched the few things she did not already know and created a fox fact card game inspired by a capitals of South America card game where students “slapped” the answer. She drew and colored each type of fox and wrote a matching fact card for the fox drawings. After double checking and correcting any spelling or grammatical errors, she laminated her work to prepare it for lessons. Finally, this student was ready to present her lesson to friends. She called students to the lesson, had them record it on their work plans, then presented her knowledge. Students are always excited to learn from each other and are respectful participants!
This month first year students enjoyed their science experiments! These students brought in leaves to do a leaf rubbing to label all of the parts. We then crushed the leaves in a mortar and pestle. After crushing our leaves, we added them to a glass with rubbing alcohol. In the days that followed we observed that the alcohol broke down the chlorophyll leaving us with the colors these leaves would have turned in the Fall. After about a week, our leaves were all brown.
These students also performed another Energy Transformation experiment. This time we used water and an egg beater. We started with cold water, made a hypothesis, and continued to use the egg beater until we heated the water!
Second year students continued their rock and mineral research by making rain sticks. They learned about Tibetan rain sticks and different places around the world that used rain sticks before the science was created to predict the weather. Students decorated their rain sticks with markers, ribbons, and feathers. It ended up raining the day we made them!
These students also created “Layers of the Soil” booklets and collected soil samples. In May, they will be doing an experiment to see the different layers and types of soil they have collected from around the school.
The week before Earth Day, we talked about how we can make a difference, even as Elementary children. On our first day, we discussed littering and cleaned up the yard next to the school. Students were so excited to make a difference, that they asked to continue cleaning up litter during their recess! On the second day, we talked about oil spills and how people try to help the animals that were harmed in the spill. We did an experiment with oil, water, and feathers. Each student dipped a feather in oil, then tried rinsing it off with just water, which is all many animals would have to try to clean themselves, and found this wouldn’t work. We then used dish soap to clean the feathers and talked about the steps taken to try to heal these animals. Another day we did some weeding in our garden and planted bee-friendly flowers. We also wrote pledges to take care of the Earth.
Our second, third, and fourth year students have been working with the Bohr Diagram to build elements from the Periodic Table. Students chose at least 25 elements to build and record. After a few months of practice, we decided to build our own Periodic Table out of cookies! Students had to measure and mix all of their ingredients. They cut and kept track of cookies. Students mixed and dyed frosting. After all the dishes were washed and the table was assembled, each student was responsible for labeling atomic number, chemical symbol, and atomic mass of 15-20 cookies using food dye markers. These students were so proud of their hard work and tasty cookies! Thank you to everyone that stopped by to try them!
Here’s to a marvelous May!