Saturday, December 19, 2020

An Archimedean Debate, The Amazing First and Second Grade Mighty Mathematicians

I couldn't figure out what to name this blog.

Big ideas for little people

Mighty Mathematicians

An Archimedean Debate

Simple Machines: the Lever

A Distant Learning Success Story

Seabury Kids are Amazing

Tying Math, Physics, Astronomy and History Together

These Kids

"Well, Actually..." (Such a common thing for gifted students to say!)

I decided to use a combination.

Here's our story:

One of the highlights of our study of Simple Machines was when we were talking about the last of six simple machines - the lever. We watched a TedEd video called "The Mighty Mathematics of the Lever" featuring Archimedes and his famous quote,

"Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth."

Archimedes was explaining the fundamental principle behind the lever. We had a wonderful, lively debate over whether or not a person could lift the world with a lever that is about a quadrillion light years long using the moon as the fulcrum.

Tying together our knowledge of space, measurement, time, simple machines, and throw in a measure of 6-8 year old practicality, our discussion bounced all over our Brady Bunch-like Zoom squares:

"You can't lift the earth, it's spinning."
"If you had a lever that long you could do it."
"But the lever would get burned up by the sun."
"And it would be too cold to be that far out in space."
"But you'd have a special space suit."
"The earth is too heavy to lift."
"But things weigh less out in space."
"A quadrillion light years is really long. Do you know how long a light year is!?" (and the student proceeded to succinctly explain how long a long year is.)

To top it off, one of the students, who has a passion for all things related to space, just happened to have a model of the earth in his room. When we made our own levers and experimented with the placement of the fulcrum, he actually lifted the earth with his lever!

Check out the Seabury Blog about our experiences here. Mr. Broberg, the author of our school's blog, decided to call his blog "Pulleys, Levers and Axles, Oh My!" Oh my is right!

In a strange kind of way, we worked "together" on creating levers:

A Navigator uses items from home to come up with a lever, a fulcrum, a load, some effort, and a force.

A benefit of being at home - just go outside and make a lever in your backyard! Be sure to bring your computer with you.

How to lift a heavy toolbox? Innovate and get a bigger lever!

This Navigator uses a mask for her fulcrum.

Lifting a load with just a finger.

As with each STEM project we do, we draw and label a diagram in our Simple Machines lab report.

Oh, I just thought of another title for our blog:

Future Innovators of the World!

Monday, November 16, 2020

We're All Back Home Again and We're On a Roll!

 With Covid-19 numbers on the rise in our county, the decision was made to go all virtual again. Although it took a lot of prep, the move was quite smooth because:

      1. We've done it before.
      2. For the most part, our daily schedule remains the same. 
      3. We're sent home with all we need to have a Seabury education.
      4. First and second graders are quite resilient.
      5. Our first project was making something using wheels and axles, and, as we all know... 

"Simple machines make work easier!"

All packed up, ready to move out.

Math manipulatives? check
Math games? check
Book Club books? check
Words Their Way? check
Two months worth of morning work? check
Simple Machine kits? check
Music rhythm instrument? check
Art supply box? check
PE games box? check
Mini-MakerSpace? check
A fidget toy? check
Personal belongings? check

...and Mystery Cemetery for our 
upcoming archaeology study? check

Here  you can clearly see (well not clearly) that education is happening. 
All these contraptions have wheels and axles that actually work.

As you can see, the Navigators are on a roll, 
rolling smoothly into Distance Learning.

Watch out, here we go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Place Value Extraordinaire

Place value is such a foundational concept in mathematics. We spend quite a bit of time working with  and talking about big numbers, what each "place" means, how to read and write numbers, and how to manipulate numbers properly. We do this is a variety of ways. Here are a few of the activities we have done. 

Playing with Exploding Dots on our white boards.
Watch the intro here and see if you can figure it out.

Playing with Exploding Dots on the computer.

Regrouping using base 5 blocks!

Doing a google docs PBL (project based learning)
called "Run a Candy Store". 
We not only reviewed what we already know about place value, 
but we learned many computer skills as well. 

Some opted to do the hand-written version:

Many of these gifted  students will go on to do something 
in math, computer, and science fields. 
My goal, as a first and second grade teacher, is to give the Navigators a strong foundation to build on. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Using a Pulley: The Joy of Discovery

Each of our lessons on Simple Machines takes on its own character. "Playing" with our pulleys has been the most investigative, trouble-shooting, engaging activities so far.

And when they learn that they get to keep their pulley, you'd think it's their birthday or that they get a trip to Disneyland!

This time our mission is to lift a load using a pulley. 
It's based on the children's picture book, How to Lift a Lion. 

Here are our works in progress:

"Hmmm. what can I use in my Mini-MakerSpace box?"

Each child receives a Beanie Baby to lift. 
"What should I use for a platform for my lobster?"

Each design is unique. 

The Navigators at home get out their kits 
and Mini-MakerSpace boxes, too.

"My pulley works!"

"My animal is getting dizzy from spinning. 
How can I make it stop spinning?"

Another innovative way to anchor the pulley 
in order to lift a moose.

"How can I attach the string to my platform?" 

A flying cute crab!

Look at our scientific thinking: 
  • coming up with ideas
  • thinking outside the box
  • drawing and labeling diagrams
  • using scientific words
  • problem solving
  • going "back to the drawing board"
  • learning from each other
  • recognizing pulleys in the world around us

Collaborative Seabury learning at its best, 
albeit six feet apart and via Zoom!


Saturday, October 31, 2020

HALLOWEEN. ALL. DAY. LONG. Part 3 Dia de los Muertos Art

Art has worked very well in the Distant Learning realm. 
Ms. Angela uses two computers to show herself teaching 
and to have a close up view of the process.


The kids come ready with their supply box, 
they are focused, 
and their results are spooktacular!

An Archimedean Debate, The Amazing First and Second Grade Mighty Mathematicians

I couldn't figure out what to name this blog. Big ideas for little people Mighty Mathematicians An Archimedean Debate Simple Machines: t...