Monday, April 23, 2018

Making Connections: Neuron Connections, That Is

We have begun our QUEST of understanding things we cannot see - the inside of our bodies. 

We began with the study of the nervous system: the brain, the spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system, and neurons. We made brain map hats and neuron necklaces. We're beginning to make the connections...

During our Friday afternoon Genius Hour, we had the choice to make brain maps and neurons using materials from the MakerSpace. Here's what we came up with:

Here's the entire nervous system made out of Model Magic.

A neuron on the left and a brain map on the right using Model Magic.
(It was Minion Day in honor of our Ms. Clarke, our second grade teacher.)

This is a neuron made out of chenille wires and beads. Note the dendrites and the axon. He made several of these and showed the synapses that occurs between the neurons as they make connections. 

We're beginning to understand but it still is a bit fuzzy. Perhaps we'll understand more as we study the five senses. We start with the sense of hearing.

The sound goes in here...
(Our ear canal model is a long one!)

...and ends up in the brain, going through the auditory NERVE.

We take a voyage into the ear to better understand all the working parts and how sound signals get to the brain. We don't have it entirely correct, but we're on our way. Click above or here to watch our video.

The nervous system is starting to make "sense"! 
Four more senses to go...stay tuned. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Raphael's "School of Athens" Ties It All Together

Plato and Aristotle talking about big ideas

At Seabury School, we teach big ideas to little people. The first and second graders are finishing up a study of the Renaissance Period. Coupled with a study of inventions, we have covered higher level, challenging ideas, a perfect challenge for these gifted, highly capable young people. 

In order to do this, the teachers at Seabury use the Blooms Taxonomy of Educational Objectives "inverted pyramid" approach when developing our curriculum.

The chart on the left shows the regular Blooms Taxonomy. 
The chart on the right is the inverted pyramid. 

Research shows that with gifted students, more time should be invested on higher-level activities and objectives--analyzing, evaluating, and creating. For our students, knowledge in itself might not be completely satisfying. 

With this in mind, we are able to study topics that are usually studied much later than first and second grade, topics like the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and also Inventions, a perfect tie-in to these time periods. 

As we finished up our QUEST to understand these topics, we asked the question, "How do these all fit together?"

We got out a long timeline and made some interesting discoveries.
  • The US hasn't been around that long.
  • The Middle Ages is in the middle of the Ancient History Period (Egypt, Greece and Rome) and the Renaissance.
  • The Middle Ages was a time of survival. Not much time for art.
  • The Renaissance is the rebirth of the Ancient History Period ideas.
  • The Middle Ages was also called the Dark Ages. Now we know why.
  • We learn what BC and AD mean and BCE and CE.
  • There isn't a year "zero".
  • We see where important inventions/inventors fit--Gutenberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, etc.
  • We get excited about studying the Explorers next year!

We then took a close look at Raphael's painting, "The School of Athens." We had a great analytical, evaluative discussion, a discussion that tied together what we've been studying all year.
  • When was this painted?
  • Where is it today?
  • How big is it?
  • Who are these people?
  • When were these people alive?
  • Who were Plato and Aristotle?
  • Even though they were no longer alive, how did they effect Galileo's life? 
  • What are the people doing? Holding? Why do you think they are holding these things? 
  • Do you see Raphael's self portrait?
  • What are the statues of?
  • Notice the perspective of the room. Do you see the vanishing point? How is this different from the paintings from the Middle Ages?

"The School of Athens [1511] represents all the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists from classical antiquity gathered together sharing their ideas and learning from each other.These figures all lived at different times, but here they are gathered together under one roof."
                                                            ~Khan Academy

Check out the interesting (at least to first and second graders 😉) Khan Academy lesson here.

We then got ultra creative (top level of Blooms Inverted Taxonomy!) and recreated the School of Athens in our classroom. 
  • Plato and Aristotle are at the center, Plato on the left pointing up holding his book The Timaeus, Aristotle on the right pointing down holding his book called Ethics
  • Pythagoras holding his big math book
  • Euclid drawing a geometric design with an eager student watching and learning
  • Ptolemy holding the globe
  • Zoroaster holding a terrestrial sphere
  • Diogenes casually sitting on the stairs
  • Heraclitus, the ancient philosopher writing and lost in his own thoughts
  • Students leaning against the wall and in a discussion
  • Raphael himself peaking out on the right hand side

What a rich, exciting, educational QUEST we have been on this year. Most people I talk to say, "I never studied those things until college!" Well, these Seabury first and second graders now have a head start! And they have done a fine job, thank you. Inverted Blooms Taxonomy works!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Washington State Invention Convention Winners!

For the first time ever, Seabury School sent five students to the Washington State Invention Convention held April 15 at Foss High School. These three first graders all earned a second place huge ribbon for their innovative ideas and their hard work!

His invention was "The Safe Tire", a tire with an interchangeable tread that just might be the answer to highway safety. 

 His invention was the "Ocean Floor Cleaner", something he is quite passionate 
and knowledgeable about.

His invention was the "Flying Car", one of many invention ideas he came up with. 

Click here to see their projects. 

Equipped with the inventor mindset, these kids will always be on the lookout for ways to improve our world. 

Keep an eye on these future world changers!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Quest to Fly and Earning Our Wings

I can fly!

"There shall be wings! If the accomplishment be not for me, 'tis for some other. The spirit cannot die; and man who shall know all and shall have wings." ~Leonardo da Vinci

This dream of the seemingly impossible 
became a main idea in our study of inventions. 
Like Leonardo, we were on a quest to discover how to fly. 

We looked close up at a maple tree seed, a great example of biomimicry.

We watched how it "helicoptered" down. 

We made and launched our own helicopters, both at school and at the Boeing Museum of Flight. 

We looked at Leonardo's drawings. 

Leonardo studied birds and came up with this design of an ornithopter. 
Leonardo was way ahead of his time. 

No one knows for sure, but legend tells us that Leonardo's apprentice tried out his flying machine. 

We went with Jack and Annie and discovered even more about Leonardo.

We then studied the amazing Wright brothers and discovered how they discovered WING WARPING, the key to controlling an aircraft. The picture above is a replica of the Wright brothers' plane. 

Like Leonardo, they had learned about flying by watching birds. Click here to watch a video on wing warping. 

We had lots of fun in the Flight Zone.

We learned  that modern airplanes' ailerons, yaws, and elevators do the job of the wires to control today's airplanes. 

Through hands-on learning, we discovered the forces that affect flight.

How a plane is loaded makes a big difference, too.

We then got to see and even sit in a lot of planes. 

What a great collection of airplanes that show us the history of flight. 

We learned about going to the moon. 

We got to go into the NASA Space Shuttle full fuselage trainer. 

Just outside of Air Force One, we met President Nixon and Premier of China, Zhou Enlai.

 One of our dad's is an Alaska Airline pilot. 
We had tons of great questions for him and learned a whole lot more.

We even got our 737 pilot's wings!

And we dream of someday becoming pilots and astronauts.
Perhaps one of us will fly to Mars and beyond!

This Navigator's body says, "Wow!"
We felt like we knew that guy up there. :) 

And this is how she draws and writes, "Wow!"

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2X the Fun - Invention Convention PLUS Science Fair

This year, the Seabury Navigators got to choose between presenting an Invention Convention project or a Science Fair project.

Invention Convention participants:

We have been studying inventions and the kids are familiar 
with the invention process and invention vocabulary. 

This is the "Cool Tip," a silicone cover for a hot glue gun. 
Many students and parents could relate to the problem of hot glue gun burns 
and the need for this practical but profound solution.

She made a variety of prototypes, cutting apart 
and using her mom's cake and cookie decorating tips.

She says, "When I make this product to sell, I will make the prototype model clear 
so that you can see the glue coming out." 
#innovative   #greatpotential

It was difficult for this boy to pick an invention to feature.
He came up with so many problems and so many solutions!
He ended up choosing a flying car complete with solar panels.
#waveofthefuture  #jetsonsherewecome  #closerthanwethink

A journal is a requirement for the Invent Washington State Competition. This journal needs to include receipts of items purchased for the project.

The Safe Tire is a tire with an interchanging tire tread. 
His prototype shows how easy it is to adjust the tire using Velcro. 
#whowouldvethunk  #wellthoughtout  #presentdayleonardodavinci

The benefits?
  • It helps you drive safer.
  • It is very easy to change tires.
  • If someone made a new kind of tire surface, they could just make of surface for this invention.
  • You can re-use the surface you took off if you need it again. 

After listening to his presentation, one middle schooler said, "That kid is going to go places!"

This student is passionate about pollution in the oceans and came up with 
an Ocean Floor Cleaner. 
#suchaproblem  #suchasolution  #fullofpassion

Each time I walked past his project, he was telling his audience a different fact about ocean pollution and his solution to the problem. 

The Automatic Plant Waterer
This is just one part of the Automatic Everything Robot 
that this student dreams of building.
#solutionforeverything  #handydandy

Thank you, families, for coming in and supporting our budding inventors and scientists!

Science Fair participants:

The title on this science fair project drew a crowd - How to Shock Your Mommy!
#inquiringmindswanttoknow  #theanswermightshockyou  #likestotalkwithhishands

He answered the question, "How do we shock each other?"

Thank you, middle schoolers, for coming in and hearing our spiels. 
This project they were looking at (and blocking) was all about how carnations change color. 
#littlesisterof2middleschoolers  #buddingandbloomingbotanist

Ms. Wollum calls this her favorite event of the year.
Thanks for all you do, Ms. Wollum, including looking at each of our projects!
#giftedstudentshowcase #mswollumisawesome

Many of the students have plans to take their projects to the next level, 
the regional and state competitions. 
#goseabury  #changetheworld

Good luck, inventors and scientists!

Don't forget, these kids are only 6 and 7 years old (proof: someone lost a tooth today!)
Their projects show passion, compassion, curiosity, hard work, advanced knowledge, ingenuity, innovation, inventiveness, unique interests, and great potential!

#toothlessinfirstgrade   #fullofbrainsinfirstgrade

Making Connections: Neuron Connections, That Is

We have begun our QUEST of understanding things we cannot see - the inside of our bodies.  We began with the study of the nervous syste...