After a session with Kara creating quick sketches of a variety of animals, each student began a pastel drawing of the animal they are studying. Careful attention was paid to the anatomy of each animal as well as techniques in using this media to make a vibrant piece.
Marcus Cohen, a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado, visited our classroom today to provide a hands-on and engaging experience about animal behavior specifically territoriality. His demonstration coincided with the start of our study of animals.
"Many male animals will defend territories to protect limited resources and compete for the attention of females. Marcus will be bringing in some of his pet male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), and students will investigate the competitive and defensive behaviors (e.g., flaring or puffing gills, color change) of these fish. These fish are easily recognized by their bright colors and large flowing fins. They are frequently kept individually in small cups at pet stores (otherwise they might fight to the death). After learning about the ecology and various displays of these amazing fish, students will hold a tournament using live fish to determine which male has the best displays. These fish provide a hands-on way to experience complex behaviors that are widespread throughout the animal kingdom in a classroom setting."
The week has been full of activity. Our main focus this week has been the study of plant life. Our labs and lessons covered the structure and function of plants (including all the main parts, photosynthesis, examination of xylem, and a flower dissection). On Friday, we started a two part activity by interviewing our first grade buddies in preparation for a "Where I'm From Poem."
There were multiple performances in class today with rappers from the classroom.
Photosynthesis, let’s get into this
Discussion of sunlight, and transfer of energy.
Photosynthesis, let’s get into this
Process of chemical reactions and synergy.
Plants take water, sun, and CO2,
to make glucose: the sugar that they use for food
They also put oxygen into the air
So we can share, because oxygen is everywhere
The energy transforms from solar to chemical
All the time, everywhere, the process is identical
In every plant, and every tree
Enabling all living things to be
Let’s take a look at the light reaction
Making chemical energy when light is captured
electrons flow through the photo systems
Flowing so fast you might have missed ‘em
Within the chloroplast lies the action
The thylakoid membrane is where it happens
ATP and NADPH
Are products of light, water, air, and space
The Calvin cycle, or dark reaction
Doesn’t need direct sunlight for it to run right.
CO2 from the air enters the chloroplast
Mixing with organic molecules for the last time
With the help of the enzyme Rubisco
Carbon Fixation—I thought you knew this yo!
It forms a carbohydrate known as G3P
It’s created, recreated, and recycled you see
Leaves on trees and even weeds meet needs
Making oxygen we need to breathe
You want to learn it with ease? You want to master the keys?
It’s photosynthesis, listen to this please
(ATP and NADPH will be discussed in high school or college chemistry or biology)
I am using this book by Georgia Heard as one of the main resources a revise as they write their 100 Elk personal narratives. In our mini-lessons, we have practiced "cracking open" tired and overused words, slowing down time, and the use of flashbacks.
Of course, we have also discussed editing and other strategies in the publishing process. In particular, we have focused on paragraphing, punctuating correctly, creating engaging titles, utilizing thesauruses and using editing symbols as students have reviewed their work. Your children are eager to read them to you at their conferences at the end of the month.
"This was the greatest field trip ever," said a student after spending a day at Sombrero Marsh with instructors from Thorne Ecological Institute. Children rotated through a series of four stations which included: bird identification and watching; gathering and examining organisms that live in the swamps; exploring how seeds spread; and understanding the effects of water pollution. Through hands-on activities, students were fascinated and involved in exploring this salt marsh ecosystem. Did you know this land was once a landfill but it was reclaimed as a natural wetland through the generosity of many volunteers?