Let's Take a Wind Walk!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

March is a great month for a Wind Walk! Here's what we did before, during, and after our walk to learn more about this type of weather!

Before the Walk

Build Background

We began preparing for our walk during morning meeting when I asked, "What is wind?" Answers included gas, atoms, molecules, h2o, precipitation, and it comes from clouds.  I could see how they were drawing from their learning and vocabulary of our previous studies of precipitation and matter to answer this question.  Yet no one mentioned "air!"

To help them discover the answer, I posed a problem. I showed them a pinwheel and told them how disappointed I was that it wasn't spinning.  They quickly told me that I needed wind and it would only work outside.

Then one child said, "I can make that move!"

We explored what happened when he blew on the pinwheel and the word "air" then became part of the conversation.  

I asked, "Is there always air?" and then, "Is there always wind?"  so children could see that wind is not just air, but moving air.

Just as we were about to wrap up the conversation, someone offered, "I can make that pinwheel move a different way!"  This made me curious!

He quickly grabbed a white board and began fanning it!  They never cease to amaze me!

Introduce the Question

Later in the day I asked the question that would become the focus of our walk, "How can I tell if the wind is blowing? Can I see wind?"  Many responses led to a discussion of how the wind feels.  They thought you couldn't see it, but could feel it, and struggled to give me words to describe it.

I then asked, "What if I'm indoors, how can I tell if the wind is blowing?"  They began naming things the wind moves and we created a list of things that we might see the wind moving on our school grounds.

During the Walk

As we prepared to go outside for our walk, children grabbed their coats, clipboards, pencils and these field notes.

I reminded them of the focus of our walk - to find evidence of wind by observing the objects it was moving. One child made a connection to a previous walk and said, "Remember when my paper blew away on our winter walk? That was the wind!"

Once outdoors, we walked along the path that circles our school.  At four points along the way, I invited them to "stop and jot," and record a quick sketch of their observations.

After the Walk

Back in the classroom, children shared the evidence they had found.  We went back to our list and checked off the things we saw and added others that were not listed.

They each chose 4 "evidences" of wind and created a Wind Walk book to share with families.

More Experiences

Measuring the Wind

To extend the learning into our everyday experiences, I asked children how we might use the pinwheel to measure the wind.  They knew it had something to do with how fast it was moving.  I suggested some vocabulary that we could use to describe the wind each day: strong wind, some wind, no wind at all.

I then invited children to bring in pinwheels and/or flags to create a "wind garden" outside our classroom window.  We would use this "garden" to measure the wind each day for the next month.

We also made windsocks to take home, so we could measure the wind there too! Steps for these cool rainbow windsocks can be found on Kinder Craze's blog.

Pinwheel Vs. Windmill

Lastly, there was confusion about the term "windmill" and "pinwheel" and children were using the words interchangeably.  We did a little research to learn more about windmills using these books.

Then, we compared the two and recorded their similarities and differences.

As a result of our walk, the children have begun to notice and talk about the wind more than ever before.  This is always my goal for nature study - to raise their awareness and interest in the world around them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Read More
No comments

Growing Our Thinking Around Matter

Sunday, 25 March 2018

How We Began

We've been dipping in and out of a study on matter for the last couple of months.

Our first conversation began with the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  The children commented on the snowball Peter put in his pocket saying that it was going to melt. I asked them how they knew.  They explained that it was warmer in the house than it was outside, 

Shortly after, a child observed that the water in his bottle had frozen.  I snapped a photo, shared it with the class via the Smartboard, and asked them to explain the science behind what had happened.    

From there, we used this book to grow our thinking around the three states of matter.

Our Explorations

Out on the playground, there was a lot of interest in playing with blocks of ice.

We brought a few into the classroom and predicted how long it would take for them to melt.  They made predictions in terms of our class schedule (by snack, by math time, etc.)  It took longer than most predicted and wasn't completely melted before they left for the day.

We turned the melted water into an evaporation experiment and are currently measuring time by dropping a gem in the cup for each day that goes by.  Once the water is completely gone, we will count the gems to see how many days it took to evaporate.

A few of our 100th day investigations involved experiences with water.  Children were challenged to make a boat that could hold 100 pennies...

...and predict how much space 100 drops of water would take up!  It was much less than they thought and I asked them to imagine how many drops it would it take to fill up a bathtub, pool, or a lake!

As part of our measurement unit, we used water for the capacity experiences.  One involved finding out whose water bottle held the most!

I also set out some water experiences in the nature center for them to explore during Discovery Time.

Our Questions

Following these explorations, I asked for their questions about water and we used books, videos, and some hands-on materials to answer their questions.

The first question, "Is water wet?" reminded me of questions like, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound?" and "Which came first the chicken or the egg?"  There were no definitive answers, just different ways of looking at it.  The children had a hard time grasping this! One child even wrote me a note letting me know that she was still wondering about this question.

We took turns feeling water and using words to describe it. 

 We did sink and float experiments in plain water and salt water.

 We made a wave in a bottle.

And when the sensory table started to leak, a few children came up with their own solution to catch the dripping water.  I loved this!

Our Challenge

We culminated our study with an ice cube melting race.  I gave each child an ice cube in a little baggie and challenged them to be the first to transform it from a solid to a liquid!

Here are some of the strategies they tried.

placing it on the heater

immersing it in warm water

fanning it

blowing on it

insulating it using their hats and gloves
As you might have guessed, the winner used the warm water strategy!

As I write this, there is lots of real world "melting" going on as the temperatures rise and we transition from winter to spring !

Looking forward to where our spring inquiries will take us!

Thanks for stopping by!


Read More
No comments

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Monday, 12 March 2018

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps
Number bonds can be a bit intimidating, so before you jump in, let children spend some time getting to know the graphic and its function.  Here are the 5 concrete steps I use to "cement" children's understanding of number bonds.

Step 1: Explore Part and Whole

Since number bonds are used to help children understand the relationship between a whole number and its parts, it is best to begin by exploring this part-whole relationship.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps
Food works great for this! We sorted food picture cards into "whole" and "part" groups.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy StepsWe then looked closely at our snacks to see who was eating a "part" and who was eating a "whole!"

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

I also had the children draw part/whole pictures which helped me to see how well they were grasping the concept.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Step 2: Explore the Graphic

Once children understand the meanings of the words "part" and "whole," you will want them to closely examine the number bond template.

I gave each child their own copy, and invited them to share what they noticed about it.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps
I then challenged them to point to the "whole" circle and the "part" circles.

It's important that you do this with the template in all four directions as number bonds are displayed in various ways and we want children to be flexible in their thinking.

Step 3: Build it

Children need to know the number bond inside and out before working with it.  Provide opportunities for children to build number bonds using hands-on materials.

We used paper plates and straws, but get creative and use what you have on hand! Make sure children build them in all directions and ask them to touch the whole and parts when named.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Step 4: Draw it

Number bonds aren't always made with circles!  Sometimes boxes, in both square and rectangular shapes, are used.

I invited children to draw number bonds in all directions using shapes of their choosing. Some drew squares and triangles, while others got real creative and drew stars, hearts, and suns.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Step 5: Act it Out

With this last step, you'll introduce the terms compose (put together/join) and decompose (break apart) and let children use a hula hoop number bond to act out these operations.  

I began with decomposing and invited a specific number of children to stand in the "whole" circle. When I said, "decompose" or "break apart," they moved to the part circles. We repeated this several times until all children had several chances to be in the number bond. The next day, I repeated the lesson, but instead of "breaking apart," we "put together" and learned about composing numbers.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Next Steps

Once children are familiar with the graphic and understand that numbers can be broken apart and put together, you can begin to use the number bond to compose and decompose numbers!

I started with the floor number bond using objects, such as Beanie Babies, and told "put together" and "break apart" stories.  We then labeled the circles with number cards to connect the concrete to the abstract and recited the corresponding number sentences out loud.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

From there, we moved on to Number Bond Math Mats to compose and decompose one single whole number at a time. 

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Each mat has a pictorial number bond for use with counters along with a traditional number bond so children can move from concrete to abstract.

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Equation boxes are also included so number bonds can be converted into number sentences. 

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps

Seasonal themes and fun counters add novelty to a predictable routine that is repeated with each new whole number. 

Introducing Number Bonds in 5 Easy Steps
I no longer get queasy when it's time for number bonds!  Children really enjoy these first steps and are composing and decomposing numbers in no time at all!  

Thanks for stopping by!


Read More