Our last week of class before the holidays was hectic but fun! Along with preparing and participating in the Christmas Concert, we worked a lot on writing Christmas newspapers. We worked in groups of 4-5 people and divided up the writing tasks just like a real newspaper would. We brainstormed, drafted, and edited each other's work to then finally put it all together by the end of the week. We also did some Christmas Math activities using coordinates to draw the Grinch and problem solving involving winter scenarios. Finally, we performed in the Christmas Concert on Thursday and made gingerbread houses on the last day. So much excitement before the holidays! Have a restful holiday and we'll see you all back in January!
Last week, we had a blast in our Creation Lab challenge! On Monday, we explored the concept of density. It is a quantitative property of matter that relates to an object's mass and volume. We worked in small groups to test various objects' density by predicting and observing whether the objects would sink or float.
With this background knowledge established, the real fun came on Wednesday. We had 15 minutes to design a raft that could hold as many marbles as possible. Then, we gathered our materials and collaborated to build our rafts. Testing of materials was allowed during the design process, but once we had committed to a blueprint, we had to stick to it. Then, we tested our rafts!
Every group's raft floated and was able to hold some marbles. This shows we had a lot of success in the challenge! Some of us knew immediately what we wanted to change. However, we had 66 marbles, and there were several groups that held all of them with no issues. STEM learning at its best, this was so much fun!
After reflecting on our success and areas in need of improvement, we revisited our rafts this week to make some modifications. We also made sure we had lots more marbles to use for testing (281 to be exact!). Many of us made significant changes to our rafts - you can see our specific modifications and reflections in Fresh Grade as we add them throughout the week. This whole project was a great success and we really used our critical and creative thinking competencies to improve our designs through knowledge of density and surface tension.
This past week, we were introduced to the topic of residential schools through the picture book "Shi-shi etko." It is a beautiful story about a young girl preparing to head off to school until the spring. She spends her last four days exploring her local environment and collecting things in her "bag of memories." Students first tried to connect with an event or a feeling in the story. We also practiced visualization of our own special places to help us gain a sense of Shi-shi etko's happiness in her land.
We also discussed the difference between quick and deep-thinking questions this week. When reading, we want to ask deep-thinking questions because they help us to better understand the story and its characters. These types of questions can be asked before, during, and after reading. Since we had already read "Shi-shi etko." we practiced asking questions after reading.
We also knew there was a second picture book that followed, so most of us couldn't wait to read it. This one was called "Shin-chi's canoe" and told the story of Shi-shi etko and her younger brother, Shin-chi, at residential school. Although it is a fictional story, we discussed how it likely mentioned many realistic things about residential schools. We developed a list of questions that we'd like to explore so we can better understand this topic. They are a combination of before, during, and after reading questions.
Many of us are intrigued by this topic and wanting to learn more. Hopefully we will be able to explore it further in the new year with some short novels based on true events from this part of Canadian history.
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!