Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Second Grade Math and Latino Heritage

The Studio Lab at Walgrove supports classroom teachers in a number of ways. With the Walgrove Latino Heritage program set to take place on Friday, the second grade teachers asked for help with the banner each grade level creates for the celebration. Math, specifically fact families and missing addends, was our subject focus.

Working with Mayan numerals provided a way for integration. We began with an introduction to the Mayans and a mini-geography lesson, looking at maps of Northern and Central America. We had a little fun skip counting, an excellent primer for the new symbols they were about to encounter. It was also an opportunity to work toward multiplication skills. 

When writing Mayan numerals, one is represented with a dot. Students quickly understood that two would be represented by two dots, three by three dots, etc. However, jaws literally dropped when a horizontal bar representing five was introduced and they saw how the following numerals were written. It was an exciting moment!

Students, who worked in pairs, were assigned a number (up to 19) and challenged to create Mystery Math problems for other students to solve. They began by creating a part part whole model and a fact family. From there, they made number puzzles and translated their numerals to Mayan numerals. 

For the interactive banner, students created a key code with cards for Mayan numerals . Another section was filled with Mystery Math problems written with Mayan numerals for decoding.
  "Mayans used different symbols for numbers than we do. Lift the card to see what number each symbol represents."


"Use the key code cards to find out the numbers in the Mystery Math problems and then lift the green card to check your answers."


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teamwork Marble Run Challenge

Third and Fourth graders at Walgrove began Studio Lab discussing and experiencing teamwork. We began with some basics: 
  • Teams work together toward shared goals. 
  • Families, classes and grade levels can each work as a team.
  • The teachers at Walgrove are a team. The school as a whole is a team. 
  • At school, the shared goal is to learn. 

In Council, students had an opportunity to speak about subjects they particularly enjoyed or an area in which they had a lot of practice or skill. They also had the opportunity to express what helps them when they are feeling challenged or having a hard time. 

When we are struggling, there is likely someone in the group who may have experience, skill or knowledge that we can turn to for help or support. We also have skills that come easily to us, subjects we enjoy or experience that may enable us to help others who might be challenged in our area(s) of expertise and teammates who can help us when we are struggling.
    • Getting to know each others strengths and challenges helps us to be a more effective team.
    • Teammates are not always friends and may not like each other. In order to be effective, they practice being polite, respectful and finding ways to work together.  
    • What is helpful to one person may not be helpful to another. (We also briefly covered tone of voice)
    • Before we began the marble run challenge, students were told that some pieces may be harder to maneuver than others. Then they were asked to think about what would be helpful to them or their classmates if they were challenged with a difficult section.   

Each student had a tube. The tubes ranged from very small sections of piping to long flexible tubes that took two people to maneuver. Students made a semi-circle. 

The challenge: to get a marble from one end of the semi-circle through each tube and then into a bucket at the end. Each student was only allowed to touch their own tube, but the tubes could touch each other. If the marble fell, we started over from the beginning.

After several attempts and some problem solving, we did it!!!

Back in the Studio Lab, students had the opportunity to write and draw their reflections on the marble run.

At the end of our time together, students were introduced to and left with the following ideas:
  • We are all imperfect. 
  • We are built for learning and problem solving. 
  • We all deserve love, belonging and respect.
Mistakes are expected. They are an important part of how we learn. Our brains are wired for learning and problem solving. We are all capable of learning and problem solving. We all deserve love, belonging and respect. School is a place where we belong. Our class is a place where we belong. Studio Lab is a place where we belong, a place where we will learn and practice teamwork and respect. In our work together, we will all make mistakes and we will figure it out together. 

A special thank you to Walgrove parent Jason Sharman, who beautifully photographed our work together. http://jasonfotos.com/#

For more on Council go to: http://cis.ojaifoundation.org/ 

This lesson was inspired by:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Observational Drawing - Second Grade

The second grade engaged in observational drawing of plant life that was collected from our school yard.  The children were encouraged to look closely at their specimen and to add lots of detail.  This activity was introduced as a part of the larger second grade California wildlife mural project (more details on this project will be forthcoming).  One of the students had the idea to tape her plant specimen to her drawing; several others liked this idea and taped theirs on as well. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Study of Seedlings

Ms. Sarabanda's 2nd and 3rd grade class recently planted lima beans. In Studio, they are recording the growth of the plants by drawing and painting them. Each one is numbered. Paying close attention to the details of each seedling, the students will monitor the growth of the plants through their study of the same plant next week.

First, a careful and detailed sketch.

Students prepare watercolors.
Students use test strips to create color samples. Once they test a color on their strip, they can then make any needed adjustments to a color as they match it to the part of the plant they are painting.
Students also learn to use sponges as a tool in their water-color work.
Painting the roots of the seedling.
Taking on the challenge of a seedling that is laying in the soil.

Each water-colored sketch is then labeled with the student scientist's name, the date of the observation and the number of the plant.

The test strips also become works of art.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ms. Zeena's Kindergarten - An investigation of The Arctic

The Children in this class have been talking recently about many things having to do with "the arctic."  They were interested in ice and snow and told many stories about their experiences in cold and snowy environments.  Some children had been skiing or ice skating and many others had visited cold wintry places.  The children read books in class about the arctic and saw a video which featured polar bears navigating on the ice.

As the classroom teachers and Studio teachers talked about the children's ideas and interests they realized two things:  first, the children were intrigued by the way that their bodies move differently on icy and snowy surfaces;  second, some of the children may not have had any experiences with ice and snow.  In order to give all the children a chance to experiment with the properties of ice they (along with several parent volunteers) froze large containers full of water and placed them in the studio room for the children to explore.

Ice can be strong or it can be weak.

Ice can be sharp and jagged or it can be smooth and slippery

At a point in the investigation the children decided to crush the ice on the ground and watch what happened when it was left out in the sun.


    Students know water can be a liquid or a solid and can be made to change back and forth from one form to the other *California Kindergarten Science Standard. 

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    First Grade - Hands-On Experience with Simple Machines

    The children experimented with foam insulation pipe cut in half.  The result was a marble run - hill machine- that could be changed in many ways.  They could bend it up and down, and from side to side.  They could even make the marbles do a loop-the-loop and seemingly defy the laws of gravity!

    The nails and hammers provided experience with two different kinds of simple machines:  The nail is a wedge machine and the claw of the hammer acts as a lever.

    First Graders experimenting with levers and fulcrums on a "full body" scale.  We chose to turn the studio into a hands- on experiential environment for the first graders who were learning about simple machines.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Fifth Grade Amusement Park Design Team Challenge

    After breaking up into small groups, the Walgrove fifth graders learned they were going to be theme park designers. The challenge before them was to design an amusement park ride based on the digestive system. The designs had to be tasteful in order to attract a variety of customers.

    The first step was brainstorming.

    Discussions and sketching out ideas ensued.


    Next came putting their ideas on paper.


    Using research and reference tools.

    Video of groups talking out their initial ideas: