Archive for the ‘science’ Category

grade 4 science: energy

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum.

This month, the after school science series session focused on the grade 4 science curricular content of energy. We looked at the big ideas, competencies and content and also looked to grade 5 curricular content to see where they more “natural resource”-based forms of energy were included in the curriculum – solar, wind, hydro, etc. We looked at a variety of picture and information books as starting places for students to gain some understanding of energy before they begin their own investigations.

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The following are some compiled information about the curricular content and applicable resources.

Grade 4 Energy

Gr4 Energy Resources

~Janice

primary teachers study group: inquiry in science

Posted on: April 17th, 2016 by jnovakowski

In its thirteenth year, the Richmond Primary Teachers Study Group chooses a focus each year to guide their professional collaborative inquiry. This year, building on the focus on inquiry in BC’s redesigned curriculum, teachers wanted to investigate inquiry across curriculum areas and we’ve chosen one curriculum area as a focus for each term, with the second term focusing on science.

We did an overview of the science curriculum framework on the BC curriculum website, paying particular attention to the curricular competencies.

Anticipating (or hoping for) some winter weather, we shared some “winter books” that might inspire students to ask questions about the season, particularly during time outside.

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This term we have four picture books to inspire inquiry in science – The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Flashlight by Lizi Boyd, and Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay. The whole Stella series of books is excellent for modelling curiosity and asking questions, as Stella’s little brother is full of questions!

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One of the articles we referred to that outlines a grade 3 teacher’s yearlong journey with inquiry is the following article from the NSTA journal Science and Children:

Inquiry Takes Time

The teacher/author describes three inquiry projects moving from structured to guided to open inquiry.

As a group, we co-constructed some inquiry-based experiences for our students and then shared how these went with our students at the next session. Unfortunately, we only had one very light dusting of snow this winter so teachers will be saving the snow books for next year!

Many teachers used the Flashlight book to use the structure “what do you notice? what do you wonder?” and to inspire students to play with and investigate the properties of light, darkness and shadows.

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Our second session of the term was hosted in Louesa’ K classroom at Thompson as she usually has a science/nature provocation table…

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Louesa shared some science inquiry projects she had been doing with her Kindergarten students, including looking closely at frost and noticing trees in their local environment.  Students also chose areas of interest to them and some of them engaged together in inquiries into rainbows or dinosaurs.

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As the weather warmed up, students have found worms and snails outside and have had lots of questions – Sharon and Stephanie have started inquiries with their students beginning with their questions about worms and snails. Louesa and her K students have been discussing “How are living things in our community connected to one another?” beginning with considering how to bring “life” into their classroom and what that living thing might need.

Many of the teachers’ science inquiries are very much focused on connecting to place, which will overlap nicely with our group’s third term focus on inquiry in social studies.

~Janice

grade 7 science: the theory of evolution

Posted on: April 6th, 2016 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum.

This month, the after school science series session focused on the grade 7 life sciences curricular content of the theory of evolution.Unfortunately, this session had to be cancelled but I thought I would share some information I have compiled about the curricular content and applicable resources.

Grade 7 Life Sciences

Gr7 Life Sciences Resources

Natural selection and adaptive radiation are two key concepts now at the grade 7 level and this is a shift to elementary from secondary science content. Prior the curriculum redesign, grade 6 life science content included diversity of life (kingdoms and classification systems), micro-organisms, adaptations, etc., much of which could still be included in a broader study of life sciences/biology at the grades 6&7 level and necessary to help understand some of the concept involved with the theory of evolution. A blog post detailing how this “content” was uncovered through inquiry in an intermediate class at Lee Elementary last year can be found HERE.

~Janice

google expeditions at Homma

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by jnovakowski

Peter Ritchie, a grades 6&7 teacher at Homma, organized a visit to his school from Google Expeditions. Anna and her Google Expeditions car along with two class sets of 3D viewers with phones (Google Cardboard). Classes each were scheduled for a half-hour time slot to go on a virtual field trip. The classroom teachers chose their field trip based on the class’ current units of study – Ancient Egypt, the Coral Reef, the Moon.

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Chris Loat, Gordon Powell and I were asked to be some extra sets of hands for the day and it was such a great experience. The students had so much fun and were screaming out in excitement, often having troubles sitting still and wanting to move around (which is a bit of a safety issue when you have viewers covering your eyes) and the students were often reaching out with their hands to touch things they saw in their 3D viewers. The teacher uses an app on a tablet to choose what students are seeing, although students can move their heads to see a 360 degree view of the location. The teacher can also pause the screen and click on different notes on his or her tablet to read aloud or explain to the students. Many of the teachers used the What do you notice? and What do you wonder? frame to engage students and to continue the experience back in their classrooms.

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A video of our morning together can be viewed HERE.

~Janice

 

~Janice

Science Jam 2016

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by jnovakowski

SJ 2016 logoThe Richmond School District is celebrating its thirteenth year of Science Jam, a featured event of Education Week.

Science Jam is BC’s largest non-competitive science fair, bringing together students in grades 4-7 from across our district to share their science inquiry projects. This year students from 11 schools participated choosing to do projects under three broad themes – environmental sustainability, going local and looking at the redesigned curriculum.

IMG_2732Two French Immersion students from William Bridge Elementary conducted the opening ceremonies with welcoming words from our mayor and superintendent, introduced our board of school trustees and honoured the event’s sponsors.

 

 

 

Science World started off Science Jam with a *bang* with a science surprises show.

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And then it was time for our district’s young scientists to share their projects with “celebrity scientists”, parents, community members and each other.

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A video with highlights of the event can be viewed HERE.

~Janice

grade 2 science: forces and motion

Posted on: February 20th, 2016 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

This month, the after school science series session focused on the grade 2 science curricular content of forces and motion. This is a content grade shift, most of which was previously at the grade 1 level but now with more emphasis on how forces affect motion.

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We looked at the big ideas, curricular competencies and content along with the elaborations and then considered ways the curriculum could become uncovered through investigating with materials

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and supported with children’s information and fiction books.

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The following are some resources to support this area of study:

Grade 2 Forces and Motion

Grade 2 Force and Motion Resources

~Janice

intermediate storytelling at Homma

Posted on: February 20th, 2016 by jnovakowski

I visited two classes at Homma Elementary in February to introduce oral storytelling using materials to inspire stories that consider the First Peoples Principles of Learning.

Carrie Bourne and her grades 4&5 French Immersion students have been using loose parts to represent ideas. We combined their collection of loose parts with a table full of natural materials and fabrics to create story settings, paying attention to the big ideas of self, place and the power of story. We first came together in a circle and the students shared some of their thinking about stories. We discussed big ideas around immigration (a focus of what they were studying in Social Studies) and made connections to books they have been reading about Indian Residential Schools, like Shi-shi-etko by Nicola Campbell (which is available en francais). Students shared their ideas about coming, going, leaving, arriving, connecting and dis-connecting with a focus on place. Students could choose to work by themselves or with a partner, as they created stories, inspired by the materials.

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After about an hour of the class circle and creating their stories, we asked the students to share their stories with another classmate or partnership. As students orally “rehearse” their stories, they are playing with ideas and language, synthesizing the theme or message their story. The students then captured their story using iPad technology by taking still photographs and using the app 30Hands to orally narrate their stories.

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Here are two video clips students practicing their stories:

Shi-shi-etko 

Grades 4&5 story

And here are some of the students’ stories that the captured using 30Hands and then posted to their Fresh Grade portfolios:

Grade 4&5 EFI Homma – place

Grade 4&5 EFI Homma – transition

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In Peter Ritchie’s grades 6&7 classroom, we began by watching a short video of Dr. Jo-Ann Archibald telling the story of Lady Louse (can be found HERE). We asked the students to pay attention to her storytelling technique and the students shared their observations about how she used her hands, varied the use of her voice and how she repeated the theme or message of the story in different ways throughout the story. They also noted how the story didn’t have a typical resolution in stories like they are familiar with, but left you thinking.

Peter had collected various plants and mosses from his brother’s property in Squamish and the students used these along with various other materials to create settings for their stories. We discussed the importance of creating an authentic environment and if they were using animals in their stories, to consider the place of the animal within the ecosystem.

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sharing our worldMany of the students were aware of animals portraying values or metaphors in stories from different cultures and we referred to the book Sharing Our World, for students to consider animals they might want to include in their stories. Possibly inspired by the materials presented them,  many of the students’ stories involved environmental themes. I noticed the students at this age (and also very fluent with using iPad technology) were  focused on creating detailed settings and used different camera angles and backgrounds to make sure there weren’t distracting items or people in their photos. As with Carrie’s class, they used the 30Hands app to load their photos and narrate their stories.

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The following are some of the students stories:

The Story of the Fox

Appreciate What You Have

Listen to Elders – The Hike

On the February 19th professional development day, the staff led a morning of looking at teaching and learning through the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and storytelling with materials was something that the staff engaged in themselves.

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I’m looking forward to hearing many more stories from Homma Elementary!

~Janice

 

grade 3 science: thermal energy

Posted on: January 23rd, 2016 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

This month, the after school science series session focused on the grade 3 science curricular content of thermal energy or heat. This is a new content topic in elementary, previously a focus in secondary science.

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After looking at the curricular content and elaborations to get a sense of the science concepts involved with an understanding of thermal energy for students at this age – sources of heat and how heat is transferred. I mentioned that I noticed the example of a hand warmer in the elaborations which led to me wondering how they worked. Teachers worked in pairs to investigate hand warmers – asking questions, testing different ideas, reading the label of the package, opening up the protective layer to spill out the contents and make observations, using the digital thermometer to measure the increase in heat and collecting this data over time, comparing results, inferring and interpreting what was happening.

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We talked about exothermic reactions and the transfer of thermal energy and how to use the concept of insulation to preserve heat. Some teachers really wanted to know what happening and how the materials in the hand warmer contributed to that and what contributed to the reaction – exposure to oxygen causing oxidation or rusting of the iron. As we re-looked at the science curricular competencies and began to go down the list, one teacher exclaimed – we did almost all of those things! By engaging in a task designed to focus on the “doing” of science, teachers experienced the curriculum how it is intended – curricular content was experienced and uncovered through “doing” which contributed to building knowledge and understanding about thermal energy.

The hand warmer investigation led to a collective group brainstorm about other investigations that students could engage in to learn about heat sources and transfer.

The following are some resources to support this area of study:

Grade 3 Heat Resources

Grade 3 Heat

~Janice

grade 1 science: light and sound

Posted on: December 13th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

Our third session (which we held two of due to high demand) looked at the grade 1 physical science content – light and sound.

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Teachers were presented with provocations to invite them to think and play with ideas about light and sound.

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Teachers paired up to look at an informational picture book which they summarized for their colleagues.

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Some classic sound investigations were shared (i.e. different sized elastic bands taped over a yogurt container – plucking them invites students to think about pitch, tone and volume) and then each teacher received a light jar (available from thinkined.com).

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Teachers were invited to investigate the materials and think about how the materials might inspire inquiry, investigations and an uncovering of curricular content.

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As with our other sessions, we compiled ideas from teachers attending the sessions.

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The darkness of winter days and all the celebrations that happen this time of year make it a great time to investigate and think about the properties of light and sound!

Grade 1 Light and Sound - curriculum information

Grade 1 Light and Sound Resources - links and book list

sound and light provocations - question prompts

~Janice

grade 2 science: water

Posted on: December 13th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

Our second session (which we held two of due to high demand) looked at the grade 2 earth and space science content of water. Each teacher received a lovely picture book called Water is Water, which along with a narrative that takes the reader through the water cycle, provides factual information of water in our world. The content within the curriculum focuses on sources of water and the the water cycle. For our session, we focused on the question, What is the story of water?

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Several books were shared that would complement this area of study.

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As  group, we began compiling ideas and building off of each other’s ideas to think about this study might unfold in our classrooms. We made connections to the Fraser River, weather in our region, BC Hydro and other local resources.   A Richnet contact list was created so that we could share resources and ideas.

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We discussed different ways that students might provide evidence of their learning  - taking photographs outside or during indoor simulations or experiments, constructing models, etc, and I am looking  forward to tweeting out what some of our students share with us!

Grade 2 Water - curriculum information

Grade 2 Water Resources - links and book list

Water is a Treasure - Canadian Government resource

~Janice