Updates from Lana and Jeremy’s Class (3rd and 4th)

December 12, 2012

Our third and fourth graders are enjoying the transition from fall to winter. There have still been many beautiful days for playing outside, but they’ve also had the thrill of seeing the year’s first snow fall!

We wrapped up our Isaac Newton theme with an exciting event. As the culminating activity, we set up stations with different experiments, demonstrations, and presentations for the middle and high school physics class. Our students explained concepts like Newton’s 1st law, how light travels, how and why weight is different on other planets, momentum, inertia, and more. They demonstrated water wheels and presented information on Isaac Newton’s childhood. The “big kids” went from station to station, asking questions and completing their own assignment of filling out a sheet with information about what they learned. Finally, we had a lesson on friction with a giant game of little vs. big kid tug-o-war. It was a great day, and a great celebration of our learning.

In honor of the presidential election, and to learn a little bit about the electoral process, our class held an election of our own. We started out with 12 candidates. They each chose three issues to run on. We then quickly whittled it down to four candidates with a primary election. Students voted on the issues they cared about most without knowing the name of the candidate they were voting for. The four candidates picked vice presidents and campaign managers. Next they worked on their advertisement campaigns – buying morning meeting ad space and celebrity endorsements, creating commercials, posters, buttons, and more. We held town hall meetings and debates. The issues ranged from whimsical fantasies such as expanding the woods, building the world’s largest playset, and outlawing homework, to more realistic ideals such as raising money for charitable organizations and nonprofits, helping to solve conflicts, and expanding the tea station. On the big day of the election (actual election day), students went one-by-one into the voting booth to cast their ballot, while the rest of us were entertained with classic Schoolhouse Rock, Election Edition. In the end, Roxy won and became our class president for the day. But even more importantly, everyone worked hard and seemed to learn something about participating in a democracy.

After finishing the election, we’ve segued into learning more broadly about civil rights, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, and prejudice. Later this month we will be visiting the Monroe County History Center to learn about the history of civil rights in Bloomington, then each student will be doing a mini-research project on a hero of the civil rights movement to present to the rest of the class.

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