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BUES December 2022 Newsletter

  • Advanced Math News

    Tier 2 Math  

    Fourth and fifth grade students in Tier 2 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 

    4th Grade: 

    Our current unit of study is Factors, Multiples, and Leftovers: Multiplication and Division. Classes are investigating multiples on a hundreds chart and identifying patterns they find. These patterns are helpful when we look at divisibility rules and find the factors for numbers 1 – 100. Students are sorting numbers based on their traits, whether the numbers are odd, even, prime, composite, and/or square. They are making 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.

    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’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 News

    Grade 4:

    Students recently completed  the Shapes of Strength Challenge. 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. Most students struggled with this challenge. While we were debriefing, the students realized that more time for planning was needed. They also came to the conclusion that they weren’t sure what the strongest shape would be best. Together we discussed the importance of research and planning. For the second iteration, we researched and tested several shapes to see which would work best for this challenge. All agreed it was a cylinder. All the groups took time to plan their design and choose which materials they would use. As you can see from the photos, they were much more successful after researching and planning.

    Currently, students are researching wind and wind energy for the next challenge, which is to create a wind turbine that will be strong enough to lift a cup full of pennies off the ground. I can’t wait to see the results!


    Grade 5:  

    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 465 gems! 

    For our next challenge, students will be hired by the Emergency Relief Agency to deliver supplies to hurricane-ravished Florida, 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. 


  • Advanced ELA News

    Tier 2 ELA

    Grades 4 and 5

    Students in Grade 4 and 5 Tier 2 Advanced ELA have been working hard on Google Classroom. The extension and enrichment activities offer students creative freedom and variety while directly aligning with their Reach for Reading Units. Fourth grade students are finishing up their extension activities on their unit “Animal Intelligence.” Students have researched animals and created posters, presentations, and writing pieces that reflect their ability to make connections and identify facts vs. opinions. Fifth grade students have been working on comparing characters, myths, and the origins of myths in their unit on “Catching the Light.” Students researched types of energy, the weather, and created their own myths for their extension activities! More opportunities are posted each week in the Tier 2 ELA Google Classrooms! 

    Tier 3 Advanced ELA 

    Grade 4

    Tier 3 ELA classes for fourth grade began the week of November 7th. We launched with our first novel, A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord. Students are working on identifying character traits and comparing and contrasting character experiences and perspectives. We are also learning about migrant workers and their important role in Maine’s agricultural industry!

    Grade 5

    Tier 3 ELA classes for fifth grade began the week of November 7th. We started reading the novel, Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. Students have been working on putting themselves in the shoes of the main character, Ruti, who is an immigrant living in New York in the 1960s. We identified the mirror and windows that can be drawn from her experience and will explore more of what it means to be both “lucky” and “broken.”