Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Quest to Discover How the Feudal System Worked

It didn't take long for the Navigators to discover that the feudal system of the Middle Ages was not fair! 

There were four main levels of the system. 

The top level: the royalty
The king ruled over all.

The next level down was the nobility and the church officials.
They pledged loyalty to the king
and were responsible for telling all what to do.
At times the two didn't agree, hence the English word feud.

The next level down were the knights. 
They provided protection for all. 
It took a long time and lots of training 
(and armor!) to become a knight.

At the bottom layer were the peasants and serfs (those who were basically slaves). 
They provided food and services for all. 

The Navigators then played a simulation game using M&M's.
Each person received 10 M&M's.

It all sounded fair and good... until they discovered what family they were born into.

The first pyramid scheme! The peasants/serfs paid taxes and rent to knights, who in turn gave much of what they received to the nobles and church officials. They, in turn, gave much of what they received to the king.

The nobles and church officials each had a lot, too!
The knights had quite a lot.
And the peasants and serfs only had a few, 
enough to barely stay alive.


Even with masks on we can show with our body language how we feel.


Here is how one student, after reading more about the feudal system, summed it up. 


STEAM Projects. Three Steps toward Building Collaboration

The Seabury first graders have been studying the Medieval era and have been not only doing a variety of STEAM projects, but have been learning and practicing the skill of collaboration. 

Step 1 Individual Project: Making a diorama of one of the four levels of the Feudal System

The Nobles

The peasants (with hovels in the background and a few knights to protect them)

A knight

More nobility

A king, a queen, and a knight

A pink polka-dotted dragon

Step 2 Small Group Project: Make the Tallest Tower. 

Supplies used: lots of toilet paper and paper towel tubes, scissors, two feet of masking tape, and a variety of cardboard odds and ends including a small box.

We needed to be very careful with our limited supply of tape

We needed to come up with a plan.

We needed to experiment with different ideas.

We had high hopes.

It took collaboration to use a tape measure.

A quick comparison of heights 

Adding the "Art" in STEAM

We needed to work together. 

Ta da! We reached the ceiling.

We felt proud of our accomplishments.

This group added ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Can we add our dioramas? Yes! Great idea!!

We reflected on our projects as we filled out our lab reports.

A comical comic drawing of the project. 

Step 3 Whole Group Project: Our Classroom Castle

Stay tuned!  This project will put our collaboration skills and our engineering skills to the test!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Using Literature in Math

What do you do when Lady Di of Ameter and her husband Sir Cumference decide to throw a surprise birthday party for King Arthur and they have no idea how many people to expect? 

Well, they start to count the people as they arrive in droves!

And so we started counting. Each bean represented one person. 

What a fun way to discover a better way to count big numbers and to discover the need for place value.
We wrote down our strategies. 

And started counting. 1...2...3...

This was going to take a long, long time. 

We came up with some new strategies. This group started counting by 10's.

And then by 100's. We needed some bowls and cups to keep track.

Each group then brought their 1,000's, 100's, 10's, and 1's to our group staging area, the place value chart. 

We had to do some regrouping, and ended up with 5,614!

Here's how one student drew the activity.

We practiced on paper.

We practiced using base 10 blocks.

After literally hours of bean counting, 
place value is making sense to us. 

An example of a differentiated mini-lesson that always happen when we do Math Adventures. 

We look forward to many an adventure using the Sir Cumference book series during our year of "quest". 

Next on the agenda: who was King Arthur?

Big ideas for little people!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Dot Week: Dot Day Across the Curriculum

Instead of just having one day for Dot Day, 

we extended it to Dot Week!

Dot Week Science: Cohesion of Water "Dots"

Using a scientific tool called a pipette, 
we experimented with dots of water.

Combining "dots" on waxed paper

How many "dots" can you put on a penny?

Writing up a lab report

Dot Week Literature: Peter H. Reynolds books

Reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynold

We also read Ish, Just Say Something, Sky Color
and The North Star.
Seabury School and the Navigators' classroom
 have fantastic, extensive libraries,
perfect for kids who love to learn!

Dot Week STEM: Engineering a boat for the rabbit who needs to be saved in The North Star.

Ask yourself, where it is you want to go...

Make a plan.

 Get the supplies. And get started.

Going through the engineering process

Will it float?


Dot Week Art: In art class we made a community project. 

Each person's dot was different. 
Watch for the project to be displayed at school.

Dot Week Math: Dot to dots using skip counting 
and discovering famous inventors' 
inventions, innovations,
and discoveries. 

Rosalind Franklin: counting by 2's
Rosalind Franklin was an Egnlish chemist whose work was central to the understanding of the molcular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite.

And even Dot Week Social Emotional Learning (SEL) 

The rabbit in The North Star found itself in a predicament. Because it was always in a hurry, and didn't STOP (stop, take a breath, observe, and proceed), it ended up stranded on a twig in the middle of a river. Fortunately, most of us were able to help it to shore in our STEM activity. The moral of the story? STOP and think about what you are doing!

At Seabury School we have the freedom to spend more time and go deep and wide on something as simple as Dot Day. In the process, we had a lot of fun and learned a whole lot!

A Quest to Discover How the Feudal System Worked

It didn't take long for the Navigators to discover that the feudal system of the Middle Ages was not fair!  There were four main levels ...