Grade 5 Classroom Chemistry

BECOMING A CHEMIST!  Igniting Curiosity through the power of observation. Jocelyn Monteith ~ Grade 5 Math/Science Last week students spent time in the science lab testing a variety of materials (salt, sand, oil, and an Alka-Seltzer tablet) to see what happens when they are mixed with water: what dissolves, what reacts and what remains unaffected. Students hypothesized what they thought would happen based on what they already knew about each of the materials. While conducting each test, students captured their observations in words, images and videos. As you could imagine, the lab was buzzing with excitement, students eagerly calling their … Continue reading Grade 5 Classroom Chemistry

Science Mentorship with Telus Spark and RVSD

Our grade 8 students and teachers are very fortunate to be working with Telus Spark and schools from the Rocky View School Division in the Science Communication Mentorship Program. Our students will be working with Telus Spark Exhibit Developers, members of APEGA, and Telus Spark Facilitators in creating exhibits for a public celebration of learning at Telus Spark on December 4, 2013. Our RIG “You be the Wires”  Teachers from the two divisions met at Telus Spark on August 30, 2013 to discuss the project and participate in a RIG process (Random Idea Generator) in their prototype lab. The Calgary … Continue reading Science Mentorship with Telus Spark and RVSD

The Blue Wood Project

-by Carolyn Armstrong, Grade 6 Math/Science*originally posted in February 2012 Objective: Students work as true scientists through rigorous scientific exploration and experimentation. The Project in a Nutshell: Test and compare the water absorbency of yellow (healthy) pine and blue (fungus-stained) pine wood. How it came to be: One our parents approached me about taking on a special project that was brought to her attention through a fellow member of ABEC: Alberta Building Envelope Council. The Council focuses on the building envelope, which basically means keeping the outside out and the inside in. The idea is not necessarily to look for … Continue reading The Blue Wood Project

How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

Deirdre Bailey Traditionally, Grade 4 “Wheels, Levers and Devices that Move” units involve hands on investigations in which students have the opportunity to build something. Often however, these building opportunities are heavily regulated and have students follow a specific set of instructions, put pieces together sequentially and then showcase a collection of virtually identical products. While I can’t pretend to know a whole lot about engineering, I am pretty confident that if the discipline were focused on building from instruction booklets, Chris Hadfield wouldn’t have spent the last 6 months in space. As Dr. David Perkins’ mentions in Making Learning Whole, kids … Continue reading How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project

Candice Shaw The Grade 4 and 7 Math and Science teams were fortunate enough to attend the Calgary Science School/Rocky View Schools Cross Authority  STEM planning days in April. During these days, we were able to brainstorm, collaborate, and “flush out” a cross-grade collaborative unit. Both Grade 4 and 7 Science have units on Plants – Plant Growth and Changes (Grade 4) and Plants for Food and Fibre (Grade 7). The initial vision for the unit was created by Carolyn Armstrong and Deirdre Bailey, when they attended the Cross Authority Environmental Stewardship planning days. When Heather Melville and I jumped … Continue reading Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project

CSS/RVSD Collaborative Planning

Greg Neil ~ Grade 6 Math/Science I signed up for the Environmental Planning Institute in order to have the opportunity to collaborate with teachers from other schools.  After five years of teaching at the Calgary Science School, I craved the opportunity to see what was happening in other classrooms and how other teachers approached inquiry-based learning.  During the tours of RVSD schools, I was immediately impressed with the way teachers approached student learning through rich questions that connected to numerous areas of the curriculum.  The inquiry questions I develop with my own students are often more directly connected to a … Continue reading CSS/RVSD Collaborative Planning

Grade 6 Wind Tunnel: Air and Aerodynamics

John Cadman & Greg Neil~ Grade 6 Math/ Science Teachers Calgary Science School This is a design for an open ended wind tunnel. This means the fan pushes air into the tunnel instead of pulling it out the end. Assembled it is 4ft long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high. Our hope in building this tunnel as we did was that in future it would require no tools to re-assemble. This design is a larger version of a tunnel original built by Louis Cheng at CSS using an old computer fan. How it works in the classroom: The challenge to … Continue reading Grade 6 Wind Tunnel: Air and Aerodynamics

On Light, Shadows and Experience

Deirdre Bailey and Jenna Callaghan We began a recent investigation into Light and Shadows in Grade 4 by posing the question “What is Light?” to our students. Before beginning the conversation, we reminded students that the world is not nearly as concrete or easily-understood as over-simplified statements of “fact” might often imply. We talked about how scientists are by nature inquisitive, always open to possibility and a reinvention of old ideas. We suggested that throughout our inquiry, they too might have the potential to share a completely new perspective, contribute to making new discoveries and either support or disprove current thoughts. With … Continue reading On Light, Shadows and Experience

Grade 5 Electricity Collaboration

Kathryn Desrochers ~ Grade 5 Math/Science Student Teacher University of Lethbridge Just before spring break, our grade 5 students (and teachers) had an opportunity to learn from an expert. Emily Marasco is a University of Calgary student working on her Graduate Degree in Electrical Engineering. As part of her Master’s research, Emily has gone around to various schools conducting a set of electricity modules for project based learning. This turned out to be a wonderful partnership, in which Emily could conduct her research with 100 willing students and our school community benefited from her expertise, enthusiasm and hands on approach. … Continue reading Grade 5 Electricity Collaboration

Grade 5 Wild Weather Inquiry

Erin Couillard- Grade 5 Math/Science  Big Question:  Are we seeing a dangerous shift in climate? Or just a natural stretch of bad luck? This question was inspired through question brainstorming with students at the beginning of the Grade 5 weather unit as well as a National Geographic article I read in the fall. Supporting Questions (student generated) A. Has your “event” gotten worse over the years?B. Why does this “event” happen? (Consider the weather science)C. Where does this “event” happen? Only in one place in the world or in multiple places?D. What time of year does your event usually happen? … Continue reading Grade 5 Wild Weather Inquiry