Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Continuing and revising our mini-studies

We've been continuing our work on our mini-studies, as mentioned in a previous blog entry

Pencils, tagged and being tracked
Students were given three choices for the subject of their study last week, and we've spent the time since then collecting data and fine-tuning (or radically redesigning) our data collection instruments. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Student Government: Establishing Rights and Responsibilities

Our fifth and sixth grade representatives to our student government asked for some class time last week to talk about establishing a list of student rights and responsibilities. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Designing a study

We're back to a project involving observational science this week, as students are tasked with creating individual studies to document the fluctuations of temperature in the middle school, the flow of traffic on Platt Road, or the mysterious travels taken by pencils in the S-K middle school. 

Pencils with odd markings are showing up all over the middle school. Each one is from the study of a different student, attempting to track its movements through Summers-Knoll. 
The inspiration for the pencil banding.

Each student is designing their own study, developing a data collection instrument, and attempting to gather data in a useful, meaningful way. By the end of the week, we should be able to draw some conclusions based on the information that we've collected.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hints of Spring

At long last, we had something approaching decent weather today! We got outside this afternoon for some hard-earned recess, and many kids immediately set to constructing dams like the kinds we've been studying this week

Five greedy pirates

Adi, Christopher, Matthew, and Lee spent some time in Math today considering the dilemma of the five greedy pirates (they enlisted a basketball in a paper pirate hat as their fifth pirate). 

Check out the problem below!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

5th and 6th graders popping up on other blogs...

I periodically make time to check in on all of the other Summers-Knoll blogs to see what's happening around the building. It's always fun and interesting to see the work that other students and teachers are doing. 

I was happy to see some of our kids popping up on other blogs, and I thought you might enjoy a glimpse of our kids through other lenses. 

For example, here's an entry from Joanna's class blog recounting the day that we visited to help the 3/4 class electrify their cardboard homes. (Here's our blog entry about that day, to refresh your memory.) 

Karl's 7/8s recently completed a round of exhibitions of their work, which many of our class attended. Some of our kids wrote blog entry recaps of their experiences: 

There's always a lot going on at our school. Be sure to check in with the other blogs to see what everyone is up to! 

Guest Speaker Perry Kulper

On Tuesday, we were fortunate to have architect and University of Michigan professor Perry Kulper in to visit with our class. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

To dam or not to dam?

We've spent the week discussing dams, which, as it turns out, are pretty controversial structures. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

STEM: Flow in cities and our bodies

As part of our Cities theme, we've talked a lot about the concept of flow. Electricity, water, traffic, people, resources, internet bandwidth, and phone lines are just a few of the many types of flow that are vital to a city's operation. One gauge of a city's health is how efficiently these systems operate. 

In Math today, the blue group (and our visiting fourth grade guests) took this concept and applied it to our bodies, measuring our pulse rate after sitting at rest, then again after doing twenty jumping jacks, and then a third time after quietly stretching out on the floor with our eyes closed for a few minutes. When we saw the changes in the rates after each activity, we talked about the reasons behind them: Why does your heart rate go up during physical exertion? What's happening in your body, and why?