BUES December 2019 Newsletter
Fourth and fifth grade groups are finishing up their first novel of the year and starting their choice projects. As I’ve previously mentioned, fourth graders read A Handful of Stars, by Cynthia Lord and enjoyed it thoroughly. The fifth graders, read Lucky Broken Girl, By Ruth Behar, which many of us have labeled “a heartbreaking, yet uplifting novel.” Be sure to look for choice projects being worked on at home throughout December. These will be due the week of December 16th.
In writing, both grades wrote a choice Halloween piece and are working on self and peer editing using the TRAITS writing programs rubrics for narrative and informative writing. If time allows, these will be taken out to second draft form.
Future Problem Solving
All FPS teams have chosen a research question , as well as “must knows” around that question. We are utilizing PBS media streaming as a research tool, as well as the library research links and traditional search engines. Groups have started to research, divide up the workload, and compose the overview of our research paper. Throughout the next few months, we will also look at sample community problem solving research papers from FPS international website, as well as identify ways we could benefit our community with the research we’ve gathered.
Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season and year ahead,
Our 4th grade mechanical engineers, designed, created, and tested wind turbines during the month of November. In order to learn about wind energy, they watched several Brain Pop videos, read articles, and answered questions about concepts and vocabulary related to Wind Energy. We read and discussed the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is an inspirational book about having a vision, persevering, and being resourceful enough to make that vision happen. After several attempts, most students made functional turbines which could hoist a bucket containing several pennies.
Our young civil engineers are now putting their engineering design process skills to work with our Bridge Unit. Engineers need to know what they’re doing, so they did their research. They learned about different types of bridges, bridge terminology, forces that impact bridges and they also learned that load, distance and cost need to be considered when deciding which type of bridge to build. Their first challenge is to build a paper bridge using 2 pieces of paper and glue. It has to have a span of 20 cm and a width of 3 inches and be able to support the weight of 100 pennies. After planning with a partner, students are ready to build and test their bridge designs. Will their bridges meet all the criteria and hold 100 pennies? We’ll see!
Our 5th grade engineers completed building and testing prototype ocean liners to carry gems across the water. There were successes and failures on the first attempt, but after class discussions on what worked and what didn’t, students went to work on improving their designs. This time, with the new and improved designs, everyone was successful and transported more gems. Some groups transported more than 250 gems.
For our most recent challenge, students were hired by the Emergency Relief Agency to deliver relief aid to Florida in the aftermath of the Hurricane Michael. The challenge is to release aid packages from a zip line onto a target where citizens were waiting for the much needed supplies. Before designing, building and testing, all the groups completed researching Newton’s First Law, Potential and Kinetic Energy, Acceleration, Friction, and Trajectory. With background knowledge in place, students created, tested, improved, and retested their designs. Ask your children how they did. Before our break we are going to complete an electrical circuit and design a lantern with Fabmaker Studio.
4th Grade: Students worked on strengthening their understanding of the commutative, associative, and distributive properties of multiplication and developing fluency with basic multiplication combinations to mentally solve problems.
Next, students will understand that multiplication and division are inverse relationships and that multiplication can help solve division problems. They are challenged to solve problems and uncover rules that require higher order thinking skills.
The focus of our lessons will be to increase the students’ conceptual and procedural knowledge of division. They’ll use their estimation skills to divide accurately. They’ll understand how the divisor, quotient and remainder are connected to the dividend. While problem solving, they’ll learn the role of the remainder and how it can be recorded as a fraction, decimal or remainder depending on the question. With these concepts mastered, they’ll be able to solve challenging problems and puzzles.
5th Grade: Fabulous fraction fun is what’s happening in fifth grade advanced math. These mathematicians have been investigating, discussing, writing about, and solving problems related to comparing and ordering fractions. Using tangrams, they learned how fractions relate to the whole and how fractions relate to other fractions. They combined fractions to total 1. They are currently adding unit fractions to total given fractions. After vacation, they’ll put their fraction skills to use and use a variety of problem-solving strategies to solve fraction puzzles: Magic Squares and Magic Triangles.