What We Did Last Week.... Explorers

The Explorers are our Three Day/Half Day - (Homeschool Hybrid) group.

The Explorers spent a lot of time at school working on the Kindness Cards this week. Each student got to write in their classmates' cards; some wrote their own messages, some dictated to a teacher, and some simply chose to sign their name.

We continued learning about inventors this week by reading segments of  "What Color Is My World?" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  We learned about different innovations from some lesser known African American inventors. Our first scientist we learned about was Granville T. Woods. We were excited to learned that he was born and raised in right here in Columbus. We learned about how the induction telegraph helped improved the communication and safety of our railway system. The class investigated the engineering design process with our own communication investigation by constructing string telephones.  We tried improving the design by trying out cups made out of different materials, different kinds of string and holding the cups in different ways. We made predictions before each trial and then recorded how well each design worked. We found that shorter string and plastic cups seemed to work the best overall.

The next inventor we explored was Valerie Thomas who designed the illusion transmitter, where she used concave mirrors to create the illusion of 3-D objects. We made thaumatropes which was an early optical toy that was used to create animation.  We had a butterfly on one side of a piece of paper and a jar on the other. When we spun them quickly in appeared as if the butterfly was flying inside the jar!

This week in "Material World" we traveled to Central America and learned about Guatemala.  There was a huge different in the wants and needs of the American family compared to the one from Guatemala.

This week we read The Boy Who Changed the World and Because Amelia Smiled.  Both books explore how individuals' actions can have a profound impact around the world.  The first one is a story that spans multiple generations while the second story covers just about a week's worth of time.  We discussed how each person has the potential to impact so many others, and we talked about ways to have a positive impact at home and at school.  There were lots of book to world and book to self connections going on!

We also listened to an audio recording of Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech while looking at Kadir Nelson's book.  I explained that while the recording quality is different than what we're used to and the speech can be a bit difficult to follow, I wanted the students to hear Dr. King's words in his own voice.  Next week we will be working on pieces of writing about our own dreams to change the world.

In math the Explorers worked on another way to organize numerals, tally marks, and number sentences.  Next week we will begin our study of time as it relates to telling time with clocks and timelines of events. 

In the hallway you can see our gigantic peace parade.  Each student in the school was given the same picture to color.  We talked about ways that we could take what was the same and make it our own, and how many different people's interpretation of a single thing could be so varied.

Our outside time was a muddy as ever!  Many of the students participated in bridge-building to solve the problem of how to get from one side of the mud-pond to the other.  Red Oak students continue to amaze me with their willingness to get dirty while playing-- and learning!-- and it is truly inspiring to see how happy and engaged they are after an hour in the mud!

melissa frueh