Thursday, January 31, 2013

AIG Update 1.31.13

First I wanted to welcome a number of third grade parents/students to the AIG program. We have formally qualified 3rd grade students, and I look forward to meeting with them next week! Thanks so much for those of you who have returned the ‘permission to serve’ form and provided me an email address. I’ll communicate via emails, and you can always check my blog which is available through the Claxton website or:

Fourth grade students are preparing to move into ‘Hands On Equations.” This program introduces students to solving equations through the use of math manipulatives. There is an underlying analogy that compares equations to scales. We’ll be talking about analogies and scales as we prepare to move into the work proper. Definitely more to come!

Hopefully our fifth grade students have been working on (if not finishing up) writing fiction to reflect our work with ‘Lost on the Moon’, a short simulation. I’ll be sharing this work soon as we prepare to move into our next unit of study:  ‘The Great Ocean Rescue.” In this work, students will adopt the roles of scientists (specifically geologists, oceanographers, marine biologists, and environmental scientists) to solve hypothetical ecological disasters around the world. I’ll let them bring you up to speed as we engage!

Thanks for your support of the AIG program! Please let me know any questions, comments, or concerns!

Here's a snap of some fifth graders, hard at work!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4th Grade Static

Our fourth grade AIG enrichment study groups have been discussing electricity. We began our work by using words and pictures to describe what students understood about Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite experiment. This initial assignment was a baseline for student understanding. We then read a reader’s theater play describing what Franklin actually thought and did. We discussed the scientific process and translated Franklin’s experiments to an outline of this process. We also discussed the reasons behind static electricity by reviewing a model of the atom. Our groups performed some simple experiments. One was to charge balloons with static and then see whether they repelled or attracted. Students described this experiment using the scientific process. Students also designed their own experiments to show the properties of static. They wrote lab reports using the scientific process to describe their work. Finally, students were again asked to use pictures and words to describe Franklin’s experiment and what they understood about electricity and static. This post-unit activity can be compared to the initial assignment as a measure of the growth of student understanding. I ask you to compare these two assignments (they are dated) and see how our students have learned. Students also reflected on their learning in writing. Check out some pictures posted on January 2!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

5th Grade Writing

Fifth grade enrichment study group students completed a NASA-written simulation. As a culminating activity, they are writing science fiction short stories to reflect their work. Here's a snap of one class, hard at work! Claxton will publish a literary journal in the spring. Perhaps these young authors will see their work in print?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sparks in Fourth Grade

Our fourth grade AIG students have been designing and implementing experiments with static electricity.