BUES October 2019 Newsletter
The fourth graders are adjusting to tier three gateway supports and the structure of our learning community. Students are exploring Hispanic Heritage Month, which is not only current, but directly affiliated with our first novel, A Handful of Stars. This past week all groups practiced navigating google classroom, researching Hispanic Heritage Month and cutting and pasting links into our virtual learning space. Throughout the month of October, we will begin reading, A Handful of Stars, as well as analyzing and exploring rural Maine, the book’s setting.
I am so excited to see and welcome back so many fifth graders this year. For many, this is our fourth years learning and reading together! We have hit the ground running with our exploration of Hispanic Heritage Month in preparation for our first novel, Lucky Broken Girl. Students have also read a few picture books with similar themes. Throughout the month of October, students will begin Ruth Behar’s novel, Lucky Broken Girl, while analyzing setting, characteristics of Ruthie, the main character, and how several cultures coexist in her one apartment building.
Future Problem Solving
Grade 4 and 5
Both fourth and fifth grade FPS classes are in the brainstorming stage of identifying challenges for our world, country, state and maybe even right here in Barnstable. We are also touching upon and reviewing research skills and how to effectively use google classroom as a team. Later this month, we will conduct mock research around topics on our brainstorm.
For the first class, students were introduced to the engineering design process to complete a challenge. Groups competed against each other in a timed challenge to construct the tallest freestanding structure that would support a marshmallow. Each group had a kit which included 20 strands of spaghetti, 3 feet of masking tape, 3 feet of string, and a marshmallow. Students needed to work together, understand that some shapes are stronger than others, and understand that weak materials can be made stronger through design. All groups debriefed and discussed what worked, what didn’t, and what they would do differently next time. The current project is Shapes of Strengths. After brainstorming and researching what makes structures strong, students were challenged to build a freestanding structure that could hold the most amount of books. All groups were given one minute to brainstorm their ideas. Then, they went to work for 8 minutes with 10 pieces of paper, 20 straws, 20 paper clips, and masking tape to build their structures. There were successes and failures, but everyone learned when we reflected on what worked and what didn’t. Next, students will do a little more research and attempt to improve their original design. Then, it’s onto:The Wind Power Challenge.
For the first class, students were reintroduced to the engineering design process to complete a challenge. They competed against each other in a timed challenge to create a cup out of one sheet of paper which would hold the most amount of water for 10 seconds. Once they found a design that worked, groups tested different types of paper and analyzed the results. Currently, they have been hired by the Pacific Ocean Liner Company to build a boat the will carry as many jewels as possible across the ocean. After testing a variety of materials to determine their buoyancy, students researched several terms related to buoyancy, which include mass, density, volume, surface area, and displacement. Next, students will design their Ocean Liners, complete a budget, and purchase the materials. Let the building begin!
Our first unit of study is Factors, Multiples, and Leftovers: Multiplication and Division. Classes will be investing multiples on hundreds charts and identifying patterns they find. These patterns will be helpful when we look at divisibility rules and finding the factors for numbers 1 – 100. Students will be sorting numbers based on their traits, whether the numbers are odd, even, prime, composite, and/or square. They will make generalizations about common factors and common multiples such as all multiples of 8 are also multiples of 1, 2, and 4 because 1, 2, and 4 are all factors of eight.
To start the year students reviewed Order of Operations (PEMDAS) and practiced simplifying expressions using order of operations. Next, they brainstormed what they knew about numbers and discussed a Real Numbers Venn Diagram, which includes Natural Numbers, Whole Numbers, Integers, and Rational numbers. They identified that fractions are rational numbers, which is the focus of our first unit. In this unit students will apply their knowledge of fraction concepts, which include equivalencies, renaming, comparing, ordering, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing in order to solve a variety of problems and participate in several activities.