Teacher blog spot

We always have a big ceremony for our 5th graders who are being promoted to 6th grade every year. In fact it rivals many high school graduations in its attention to detail and classiness. This year, I wanted to add little something to it, so at the prompting of my students, we made these cute profile images of their faces. The students put quotes on them that meant something to them. In some cases students made up their own quotes, and I let them.

I had students make up the rubric for what a good profile image would look like. Most of them agreed that a quality profile had to have no white spaces, at least two colors, and at least one quote. They turned out SO well, and I’m so proud of them! 🙂 You will notice that some profiles look similar to others.

That is because when one student had a good idea, other students tended to copy the good ideas.

First you must know that I work next door to the art teacher (HOW convenient!). The art teacher let me borrow these spotlights that make the perfect shadow on a large sheet of white construction paper. I outlined the students’s shadow and had them trace their shadow in black Sharpie. If you don’t do this first, it turns out disastrous because then students end up coloring over the pencil lines and then when they cut out their profile, their lips and nose look somewhat deformed. I had them make their colored design first, and then AT THE END they can cut out their profile. I allowed students to be able to use oil pastels, water color, black Sharpie, and crayons to make their images. I emphasized the fact that they must NOT use Sharpie over the top of oil pastels or crayons because the wax will ruin the Sharpie. I had them use the oil pastels, crayons, or Sharpie first and THEN they could paint over it with water color. The wax in the crayons and oil pastels will cause the water color to resist causing a nice effect.

This post is a continuation of our previous water and rice experiments. The experiment is completely a product of child wonder and curiosity. After we spoke to rice for 30 days and saw the changes, the students wanted to try fruit, and they voted on blueberries. So that everyone was a part of the experiment, I put the blueberries in a baggy and put that baggy inside of a Wal-Mart sack to prevent leakage. Then I passed the bag around so that all of the students could have a turn squashing the berries inside the bag. Next, I put about a half of a cup of squished berries in three different clean jars and sealed them. With masking tape, one jar was labeled “LOVE” and the other jar was labeled “HATE”. A third jar was left blank as our control group. The children made predictions about what they thought would happen to each jar. Every day without prompting as the students would leave class, they would say, “I love you” to the love jar and “I hate you” to the hate jar. The blank jar sat by itself without being spoken to.

So what do you think happened? Now, if you have been following the other two experiments, you may have an idea of what happened. The love and hate jars smelled distinctly different. The love jar smelled like sweet wine. The hate jar smelled more like vinegar. Of course, all of the jars had started a fermentation process. In fact, the jars had fermented so much that when I opened the lid it was pressurized to some degree and hard to open. There was actually a blue-grayish fog that came out of the love and hate jars when they were opened. The jar that had no name didn’t have a fog and neither was the smell very strong like the love and hate jars.

What do you think we did next? Well, I had one student who wanted to know what would happen if we started saying “I love you” to the hate jar and “I hate you” to the love jar. We did this for 30 school days with the same jars and same berries. We relabeled the jars with “hate” tape over the “love” tape and “love” tape over the “hate” tape.

(suspense building music plays here)…We opened the jars again after 30 school days of talking to the jars. I predicted that the jars would change and the love jar would turn the hate berries into smelling sweeter and the hate jar would turn the love berries into smelling more sour…BUT this isn’t what happened. The jars actually smelled the same.

First of all, I explained to students how Pi was determined. In case you don’t know, pi is the number that you get when you take the circumference of a circle and divide it by the diameter. Next, I talked to the students about how some people try to break records with how many digits of pi they have memorized. I showed them this website with a million digits of pi and scrolled down a bit so they could see all of the digits of pi. Students were amazed when I showed them this website and highlighted the names of people who have broken records with memorizing digits of pi. I gave students a paper with as many digits of pi as would fit on it front and back and had them highlight any numbers that meant something to them. These numbers could be ages, birthdays, lunch numbers, addresses, zip codes, etc. By the end of the week, I had one student coming up to me and spouting off the first 40 digits of pi she had memorized. Students seemed slightly obsessed with memorizing digits of pi.

Then I gave students a box of several objects that were circle shaped to choose from. I just had these items around my classroom. Now, you must understand that I tend to collect recyclable items and always have a few on hand. This helped quite a bit with this project. At this time, no lie, I have about thirty toilet paper rolls in my backseat. They have been there for several weeks just waiting to go into the school and be a part of some project. 🙂

At the end we discussed how the measurements didn’t come out to be 3.14 exactly and why that happened. We discussed the possible use of wire, human error, and so forth. Students used words like precision to describe their measurements if they weren’t 3.14. Another topic of closing discussion was looking at papers that had decimals that weren’t preceded by a 3. We talked about why that may have happened as well.