We have been working very hard in LC5B learning about electrical mechanisms, circuits, batteries and just how electrical circuits operate.
This is a fairly in-depth unit and the students and I have approached it with inquiry in mind. We are surrounded by electricity, but just how does it work and how dependent are we on it? LC5B had come up with so many questions which we have taken the time to research and learn about what we wondered.
Last week we had failed attempts at implementing a working circuit, but our focus at that time was on the process and how to continue to try alternatives when coming face to face with a failed attempt. This week we focused on applying the skills and knowledge we had learned about functioning circuits and attempted to put them to test with our circuit boards.
Students chose partners they felt they could work best with and each group was provided with an operating circuit board and the cell batteries students were asked to bring at the beginning of the year. I didn’t provide them with any further instructions other than to make their circuit operate. We had built the foundations of what an effective circuit requires in order to function, and now they had to apply this knowledge. This was the best piece of assessment of learning as students were quick to begin and were incredibly focused and determined on getting their circuits to operate, and they applied their understandings of insulators, conductors, switches, cells and voltage. They were also 100% comfortable in explaining how and why their circuits were or were not working, which allowed me to see their understandings in a natural setting.
They explored, they pushed, they clipped, unclipped and re-clipped….and may have burnt some bulbs…but they were learning!
I hope you can see and hear their excitement below:
We have had quite the event-filled weeks leading up to our current Fall Break. I sincerely hope everyone is resting and gearing up for the next few weeks of learning!
Here is a brief update on the learning activities happening in our classroom:
We continue to review and reinforce the three estimation strategies of FrontEnd, Compatible and Compensation. These are new concepts to students as most are familiar with the use of compatible which allows them to estimate or round to the nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 or 100,000 but there are still struggles with rounding beyond 100 and we will be continuing to review and apply. Students will need to know when and how to apply these strategies when adding and subtracting whole numbers up to 1,000,000. They have demonstrated growth and understanding with addition, however subtraction across multiple place values is an area of focus.
Students are also completing their final place value and estimation project which they will have on padlet.com. They will be posting these to their blogs very soon. Here is a video made by Nate and Ashley describing this project with photos of Ian’s completed project. It also features a student from Mrs. Krefting’s grade 5 classroom sharing about the Language Arts learning we are doing as well:
We have been focusing heavily on the writing trait of Ideas. Students observed a random object within their environment and listed the details. Then as a group we wrote a descriptive paragraph imagining ourselves as that object. Students then showcased their creativity as they assumed the role of their object and described themselves from its perspective. They posted these on their blogs and were so happy to see your guesses in the comments section. Some were very tricky but also quite descriptive.
We also read the book called Nothing Ever Happens On 90th Street and had a group discussion about whether things ever happen at our school. We discussed how we can observe things in our everyday environment so that it may help to spark ideas for our writing. Students then each chose a staff member in our school to visit and observe as they taught their class or worked in our front office. As they observed, students had to write what this person does and says. If this person required specific tools and what their working environment was like. They also had to imagine what superpower they would gift this individual and why and how it would affect them.
Students also had the opportunity to watch a short video called Ideas Are Scary and write a reflective piece on their observation and comprehension of its basic idea. I am trying to push them out of their comfort zones this year so that they can bring out their creativity and showcase their understandings in deeper more meaningful ways. These blog posts were truly inspiring to read.
Our Global Read Aloud is coming to an end as well. We are almost done reading The Fourteenth Goldfish together. The discussions and questions that have come up from this book have truly allowed for us to have very informative discussions surrounding Science and famous scientists. We will be sad to finish this book.
Electricity and Magnetism is really bringing out the student’s love of experimentation. We have discussed quite a bit of information so that students have a strong foundation of content to apply to their experiments. They have learned about conductors and insulators, cells, open and closed circuits, switches, symbols and components. They also are learning how to use the Scientific Method when conducting experiments ensuring they have documented the following: Question, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedure, Observations and Conclusion.
Their very first experiment was to build a circuit and conduct electricity through the use of acidic vinegar, copper wire and metal nails to light a single LED bulb. I didn’t provide students with the exact way to conduct this as I wanted to observe their initial understandings from what we had learned previously about circuits. The objective in this first experiment was to see whether students have fully grasped the concept of an electric circuit, how to apply the Scientific Method when experimenting and what they do when and if they should fail. We have had numerous conversations about scientists in our classroom and how they are continuous learners who fail, but learn from each situation to make their following experiments better.
Not a single group was able to get their bulb to light, which I expected, however every single group continued to change the variables within the experiment and learned from every situation they had attempted. Only one group from Mrs. Krefting’s class got their bulb to light and they came in and shared their findings with us. Students documented their experiment and shared with me.
Here are a few photos and videos of their experiment:
Our next step is to create fully functioning circuits and applying the skills learned.
Students have brought back their information from the interviews they conducted with you and their extended families. This was the very first step in our inquiry project into finding out more about our histories and backgrounds. Every student has brought varying amounts of information ranging from a few short answers, in-depth multi-person interviews to detailed family trees. Our next step is to review their content and provide one another with feedback as to how they can get deeper answers so that their information starts to build a complete story instead of random short facts. Once this feedback has been provided, please expect that students will come back to you with more detailed questions in order to improve on their first attempt. Once completed, they will be required to organize and assess their information in order to bring it together into a presentation to share with our other LC5 communities. Students will be provided with various methods of presentation and will have the opportunity to choose which method suits them best.
We have also reviewed our country and its location in the world. We also looked up our family names to find out what they might connect us to. They are very intrigued by the fact that their last names are connected to so many things in the world and have an extensive amount of questions as to who their relatives might have been. These would be wonderful discussion questions to have and learn together about at home.