BUES December 2021 Newsletter
Tier 2 Math
Fourth and fifth grade students in tier 2 Advanced Math have lots of fun activities to enjoy in the Google Classroom, including a wide range of topics from Order of operations to Algebraic expressions to Multiplication and Division to Logic Puzzles!
Tier 3 Math
Tier 3 Math and STEM classes for grade 4 started on November 22nd, the onset of term 2.
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. Next, students will be working to 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.
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’re currently combining fractions to total 1. Next, they’ll be adding unit fractions to total given fractions. Soon, 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.
Tier 3 STEM
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 students discussed what worked and what didn’t. Discussions included how the materials and design impacted buoyancy and water displacement. After working together to improve their designs, students created and tested their new prototypes. This time, with the new and improved designs, everyone was successful and transported more gems. One group transported 380 gems.
For our next challenge, students will be hired by the Emergency Relief Agency to deliver supplies from the top of a mountain to a base camp, while the road that is usually used is being repaired. The challenge is to release supplies from a zip line onto a target where the environmental engineers will be waiting for the much needed supplies. Before designing, building and testing, all the groups will research Newton’s First Law, Potential and Kinetic Energy, Acceleration, Friction, and Trajectory. With background knowledge in place, students will create, test, improve, and retest their designs.
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 the most pennies on a paper plate. . Each group toothpicks and mini marshmallows. 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 will be challenged to build a freestanding structure that could hold the most amount of books. All groups will be 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. I’m looking forward to seeing their designs.
Tier 2 ELA
Grades 4 & 5
Students in tier 2 ELA have lots of fun activities to enjoy in the Google Classroom to enrich and extend their skills in Reading and Writing. Many of the choices directly align with what they are learning in their regular classroom and provide a greater challenge to apply the concepts and skills. In fourth grade, students are extending their knowledge of animal smarts through readworks articles and National Geographic video clips to accompany what was read in the classroom. In fifth grade, students are finishing up their extensions on Unit 2, which is all about immigrating to the US. Students have shared some gorgeous visualizations of historic ships and written pieces on the emotions attached to immigrating to a new place in the early 1900’s.
Tier 3 Advanced ELA
Tier 3 started the week of November 22nd. We began our first novel, A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord. Students are working hard to identify aspects of the setting and characteristics for the characters. They will take a closer look at a blueberry barren, and the intricate cultivation process of one of Maine’s top exports.
Fourth graders also engaged in writing about silver linings from the last few years, as we face the Covid-19 pandemic. Several students described silver linings in nature, sports, family, and pets.
Fifth graders just finished their first Gateway novel, Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. Students will work on a choice project that accompanies this novel. The choice board boasts nine options for projects that encompass creativity, artistic expression, technology, all while exploring various aspects of the novel. I can’t wait to see all their efforts come to life in their completed projects!
Fifth graders also participated in the Grateful writing project, and found solstice and peace around family, friends, neighbors, sports and pets. Many shared thanks for healthcare workers during this tricky, tricky time.
Tier 3 Future Problem Solving
The fourth grade FPS group started at the beginning of trimester 2 and is working hard to establish their own research topics. Welcome to the FPS family!
The fifth grade FPS group, continuing from trimester 1, has identified homelessness as their project topic for our community. They’re reading articles and researching housing costs, the housing crisis and established programs available to support Cape Cod’s homeless population. Stay tuned for more updates and ways you can support this dedicated group of researchers!
The new fifth grade FPS group, who started at the beginning of trimester 2, is working hard to establish their own research topics. Welcome to the FPS family!