Today, we spent the day at Science World! It was a great trip. Our main intention was to go see the special exhibit Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out. In this exhibit, there were plastinates of different animals showing their internal systems. While this was not always easy for all of us to look at, it was a very cool way to learn about the details of animals' body systems. Grade 6 was asked to specifically focus on observing similarities and differences between humans' systems and those of other animals. Grade 7 was asked to focus on why animals might have developed particular characteristics over time, as we'll be looking at evolution. We also had a short workshop in the morning where we got to explore either chemical change or the nervous system. Of course, we got to tour many of the other games and exhibits at Science World throughout the day as well. Thanks to all of our parent volunteers for helping to make this trip a success!
Since we're back in our own class for Math this term, there are a few things that are new to the Grade 7s like... Math journals! This is a place where we practice communicating our Math thinking. It's a chance to intentionally focus on the process and/or the reasons for something rather than problem-solving. We wrote our Math journals last week and Ms. B gave us some feedback to help us improve. Then, we had the option to work with a partner this week to make a short video explaining what we understand. It was really neat to see how everyone could create a video in a style that worked best for them. Some of us are still working on making sure we are meeting all criteria, but this was an engaging way to share our Math learning.
Since the beginning of the month, we've been looking at short stories and how they're structured. First, we brainstormed important features of stories: plot, setting, characters, narrative perspective, and genre. Then, we did some group reading of short stories. We got to choose which one we would look at as a group and then we made plot graphs to show our understanding of what we had read. We learned that the plot structure can be broken down into 5 main sections: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Within that plot structure, there are even smaller pieces like the protagonist's conflict, which help us work out the details of the story. Ms. B gave us some feedback on our individual plot graphs and then we had a chance to revise them to create a final version as a group.
We've also started looking at how graphic organizers can help us plan for writing a short story. We have developed characters, a setting, and a plot and are now working on writing drafts of these stories. This week, we will practice peer assessment of our writing to help make revisions. We've learned that there is a difference between revising and editing, which is important when trying to understand the writing process. Look for our plans and our drafts in Fresh Grade this week. As we continue to move through the writing process, you'll be able to see our improvements.
This week, we went on our first Nature Walk at Crescent Park, which will now be a weekly activity for the term. These walks will hopefully help us learn to appreciate and respect our natural environment, give us a chance to be physically active, and help teach us how nature can positively impact mental health.
We'll also be exploring how natural environments can help teach us about concepts related to Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art through a different focus question each week. This week our question was: Where do you see patterns in nature? This allowed us to be more mindful on our walk. Stay tuned for future mindful questions!
Ms. B recently introduced us to the picture book "If..." This is a book that takes really big ideas and tries to explain them in simpler ways or introduce readers to a more manageable scale to help them understand. It's actually really cool! We looked at two different examples: Life on Earth and Species Living on Earth. We immediately split in grade groups to begin working on our projects.
Grade 7 is working on recreating a timeline of Life on Earth using the scale of one hour. Grade 6 is creating a tree with 1000 leaves that will represent the fraction of each category of species of living things currently known on Earth. We are using so much of our Math knowledge of fractions and percentages in this activity, and we're also learning about Science concepts: evolution and adaptations of species in their respective environments. We have to learn to collaborate to make our projects a reality, so we're also developing our personal and social competencies. This type of cross-curricular activity helps us engage in and apply our knowledge of multiple disciplines in a practical way. It's also so much fun!
This week we were lucky enough to have a parent volunteer, Mrs. Partridge, come in to introduce us to the world of drama. What an awesome experience! We practiced developing different characters and working as a team. Soon enough, we'll be writing a script and producing a short play linked to our Science learning - our plays will explore climate change from the perspective of an endangered species. We're looking forward to our skill development over the following few weeks and sharing our productions with you in early February.
We're now doing our daily Math learning together as a class. We're hoping this will provide us with more flexibility in our day to take opportunities when they come up to Skype, invite a guest, or go on a field trip.
This week we've been reviewing what we know about fractions. We made fraction strips to use as a tool in our learning and practiced finding equivalent fractions. Now we know that an equivalent fraction means a fraction with a different numerator and denominator than another fraction but with the same value, like 1/2 and 4/8. For most of us, this was review, but we are working on deepening our conceptual understanding so we can clearly communicate our thinking.
We also tried Math stations this week. These were fun! We rotated through two equivalent fraction games (one where we could also explore adding), pattern block puzzles about part/whole relationships, and using Cuisenaire rods to represent fractions with different wholes. Some of us found these stations difficult and some of us were very comfortable; we all have different strengths in learning. Soon we will branch out from each other a bit as Grade 6 continues exploring improper fractions and mixed numbers while Grade 7 looks at relationships between these concepts, decimal numbers, and percents. We will continue to incorporate statíons into Math class this term so we get lots of opportunities to practice and apply concepts.
We are a class of Grade 6/7 students in Surrey, BC, Canada. This blog is one way we will share our learning with the world!