Blog Post 4/20/15

This morning we started by working on our virtual museum for our genocide project.  We are working on the Rwandan Genocide, the third of five genocides.  I can’t wait until we finish this project.  After the Virtual Museum, we had music.  Music consisted of our warm-ups.  We had each made a warm-up for homework, and we sang those.  We practiced Let Me Be Your Star, and we want to finish it soon so that we can get it to be really good.  We learned a lot more of the song, and I am very excited to keep working on it.  We then worked on our solos.  I learned the rest of In My Own Little Corner, and my classmate learned some more of Change In Me.  For my homework, I am supposed to come up with little movements going with each phrase.

We had work time after music, and we did math and Spanish, due to the short amount of time we had.  In math, I am currently working on solving radical equations.  In Spanish, I am not quite sure where I am, as some of the book that we are using is review for me while other parts are new.  I ate lunch after Spanish.  We went out for recess, and came in to work on our art project.  We have art tomorrow, and our project is much farther than it was during our last art class. I am excited for art and science tomorrow!

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Morning Activities 4/20/15

We began our morning working on our virtual museum for everything we learned about genocide. We have completed 3 of the 5 genocides we studied. The one we are working on right now in our museum is the Rwandan genocide, where the Tutsis fought the Hutus in a type of civil war. When the Hutus heard that the Tutsis were going to murder all the Hutus, the Hutu population decided they had to kill the Tutsis first. Even Hutus that tried to spare Tutsis were eliminated.

Later, after we finished a few more artifacts for the Rwandan genocide exhibit, our music teacher Heather came. She helped us work on the solos we are singing and the song we are singing together. Together, we are singing Let Me Be Your Star from SMASH. I sing the alto part and my classmate sings soprano. We are almost finished with that song, and it sounds great! For my first solo, I am singing A Change In Me from Beauty And The Beast. It sounds so pretty, and I think it is a great song for me to sing.

I had such a great day today, and I can’t wait for Art class tomorrow, where we will work on our memorial for the Holocaust.

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NYC Field Trip

On Thursday, we met at the Wilmington Train Station in comfy walking shoes ready for an adventurous day. The day was beautiful and warm, a perfect day for a field trip to New York City.

Once we boarded the train, we did some reading to prepare for the upcoming events. We read an article about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The article included several perspectives on the story. Some were of teachers at a school when the towers crashed, some were firefighters, and some were people that were in the towers.

When the train ride ended, we navigated our way through the complicated subway system. There we all different kinds of tracks and stops, but we eventually ended up where we wanted to be.

However, all the arrows to the 9/11 museum were pointing right. We just followed the signs, until suddenly we didn’t see any more signs. Our GPS’s couldn’t figure out where we were, so we asked someone along the road. They pointed us all the way back to where we had exited the subway! It turns out, the signs had been wrong. Sure enough, when we went the right way, the arrows pointed to the left! Darn signs!

Anyway, after we arrived at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, we went through security and checked our bags. We were a bit late after all the commotion from the wrong-direction signs! But we downloaded a voice guided tour through the museum, walked through and looked at the artifacts, and calmed down.

The 9/11 museum was filled with amazing artifacts. One of my favorites was a wall. Yup, a wall. This wall was covered with different blue squares from people who tried to remember the color of the blue clear sky on that September morning. All kinds of blues were on that wall. Some were more like teal while others were dark dark blue.

Another artifact I found very intriguing was a piece of steel form above where the plane crashed into the North Tower. It was amazing how TWISTED the STEEL was.

The final artifacts I would like to talk about are two photos. The first is a picture of the North tower minutes before the plane crashed. The second photo shows smoke billowing out of the top of the tower. These were photos taken by a tourist who happened to witness the whole thing.

We exited the museum with our bags and looked at the memorials. They had names around the edges of the rectangular railings. These were the names of victims in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

After the 9/11 Museum, we hailed a taxi which drove us all the way to the American Museum of Natural History. We checked in and got our tickets, then went to the butterfly room. In this room, there are 400-600 butterflies of all different species. They land on you if you are still enough! I couldn’t get one to land on me, but I don’t know if I wanted one to!

After the butterflies, we went to watch a film called Tiny Giants. Tiny Giants was about little animals trying to survive in the big world with other dangers.

When the film was over, we walked through the museum to another exhibit. This exhibit was about animals in general and the challenges they face like how to reproduce and about their sizes in general. It was so cool! Did you know that the army ant lays 2 million eggs in a batch!? I didn’t!

Well, on our way home, we talked about what we learned. I learned that there were 2,977 9/11 victims. We also slept a little after our long day. Man, aren’t field trips fun?!

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New York City

On Thursday, we went on a field trip to New York City!  We went to the train station pretty early in the morning, and we got on our train with no mishaps.  We read an article about 9/11 on the way to NYC, and besides that, we just read and played games.

When we reached New York, we got out of the station and got lost on our way to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  Eventually, we found it.  We went in and downloaded an audio tour app.  We walked through the museum with the tour, and then we caught a cab to the American Museum of Natural History.  I liked the 9/11 Memorial Museum, but it seemed a little bit unorganized.  It felt like you were jumping from artifact to artifact without a real order.  I did learn a lot, though.  For instance, 2,977 people were killed, 343 of them firefighters.  The North Tower collapsed about 28 minutes after the South Tower, and flight 93 was probably headed toward the White House or the Capitol building.

When we got to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), we only had time to eat a tiny amount of food, because we had to be at the Butterfly Conservatory at 2:00.  We went to the Butterfly Conservatory, and my classmate and teacher were delighted and amazed.  We didn’t get a butterfly to land on us, but we did enjoy the beautiful colors and shapes.  I had been to the AMNH two times before, so I knew much more about it than my classmate and teacher.  When we left the Conservatory, we had to rush to a theater to see a film that we had tickets for.  We were watching Tiny Giants, which was about the dangers of small creatures living in this big world.  It featured a chipmunk and a scorpion (grasshopper) mouse.  They live in different parts of the world, but they both struggle to survive.  I really liked Tiny Giants, although our teacher got scared at some parts.  We then went to an exhibit called Life at the Limits.  Life at the Limits was about natural selection and the toughest animals on the Earth.  I learned more about the tardigrade, the toughest animal on earth, and I learned a multitude of other things.  For instance, I learned that the elephant seal can hold its breath for two hours.  The tardigrade is very tough, and when it enters this near-death state, it is practically invincible.  Scientists even released them into space, unprotected, for a week or so, and they survived.

I really enjoyed our trip to New York City, and I can’t wait until our next trip to NYC, in three weeks!

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To the Landfill!

Following our science unit on the Earth’s energy, we took a trip to the Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA).  On the way to the landfill, our teacher asked us what came to mind when we first thought about a landfill.  We said smelly, dirty, and, overall, rather gross.  However, when we got to the landfill and started our tour, I was impressed by how environmentally aware and concerned they were.  We started our tour by talking about how they layered and “protected” the trash.  On the bottom, they have a thick layer of compacted clay.  On top of the clay, there is a synthetic plastic layer which keeps the chemicals and “garbage juice” from leaking into the surrounding soil.  They have another synthetic layer on top of the first, separated by a felt layer.  They had dirt on the first synthetic layer, and on top of the dirt they had gravel.  The trash went on top of the gravel, and it was all covered up by a cover, which looks like just a hill when plants are growing on it.  We also talked about how pipes in the layering below the trash take in the “garbage juice” and filter it so that it is clean enough to drink.  However, the DEP does not allow them to use it for many things.  We also talked about how they collect methane and burn it to generate electricity.

After our talk, we drove through the property to see how everything worked.  We started by driving to the new landfill and watching the work that was going on there.  There were a lot of birds by the open trash, and a big machine was driving over the trash, compressing it.  We then continued on to their two ponds.  The first one is very silty, and there is a small land barrier between that pond and the second one.  The second one is cleaner water, and we saw some geese and two ducks swimming in it.  It also has a stream which flows from the pond.  We drove through some woods on their property to get to their lake. We also saw their recycling center.

I am excited for our field trip to New York on Thursday!

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Science Field Trip 4/14/15

Today, we spent our morning at the South Eastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA). This place is also known as a landfill. Now, you might say, “Why would you take your students to a place of trash?” Frankly, I was wondering the same thing, until we arrived at SECCRA and I began to realize all the thought and effort put into a landfill.

When we pulled into the parking lot a few minutes early, we talked about what pops into your head when you hear the word landfill. We said words like “smelly” and “nasty.”

As we walked inside, we were greeted by our tour guide Steve. He took us into the conference room in the meeting house and showed us a presentation. The presentation included a diagram of the layers in each hill of garbage. There are so many different sheets in each hole in the ground. One of them is High-density polyethylene, or HDPE. This is a plastic like texture that makes sure none of the “garbage juice” gets through and hurts the ground beneath it. Also, if it does get through this cat, there is hard, solid clay underneath, and almost nothing can get through that.

After the presentation, we all went outside and got into Steve’s car, which is how we toured to property. We saw trash being squished, trash being buried, trash being dumped out of a truck. It was so amazing how there wasn’t much of a smell to it all!

I found it so cool how committed they were to being good neighbors to the people who live nearby. They don’t want any trash in their yards! There were all kinds of nets around the property to make sure no trash blew away. There were wells surrounding the perimeter to make sure no trash seeped into the pipes and got into the water. It was all so precise.

I learned so much today. Some might say that they would never go a landfill again, but I would say, “SO MUCH FUN!”

🙂 🙂 🙂

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Virtual Museum 4/13/15

This morning, we came in prepared for a busy day.

The first thing we did was work on our virtual memorial museum for the top most known genocides. Because we just finished a segment on this topic, we are doing a project to share what we learned. We are using a template on PowerPoint to create an online memorial where you can click on different rooms to go in and see different artifacts.

There are five rooms, one for each genocide. The genocides are the Cambodian genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Bosnian genocide, and the Rwandan genocide. So far, we are still working to add artifacts to the Cambodian genocide exhibit.

The things that I learned from this study about genocide. Our project is going to turn out super cool!

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Music and Art

This morning, we had music for the first time since Spring Break!  We each had made a voice exercise for our homework, and we started with those.  I had made an exercise that goes up, Jelly-belly Bean, and my classmate made one going down, Orangutans Love Peanut Butter.  I enjoyed hearing my classmate’s, and we started our normal exercises after that.  We then did some review of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, for which we are singing the oohs at the beginning and end.  We practiced those, and moved on to Let Me Be Your Star.  We learned one more section of Let Me Be Your Star, and we started working on Vittoria Mio Core.  We reached a really hard but fun part, in which you sing one syllable for a lot of notes.  It is becoming really pretty, and I enjoy singing all of our songs.

After lunch today, we had art.  For art, it was also the first time since Spring Break.  We have come up with better ways to transport the water from the houses to the train, and we think that we might not use water for our representation of people, because water seems to be the cause of many of our problems.  We are running out of time to create our project, although we really moved along this class.

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Today was our first coding day since before spring break!  We are now working on making our games, although I still haven’t decided on what my game will be.  For now, I am working on a game tutorial which tells you how to make a cooking game.  In the cooking game, you are trying to make banana bread.  You have the ingredients laying out on a table, and you have to put them into a bowl in the right order.  You have to then stir them, although I am not there yet.  You have to add an egg, then a banana, then you have to melt the butter and put that in, and then you get to stir it.  For the melting of the butter, I am coding that right now, but you click on the microwave to open the door, and if the door is closed, then the butter is supposed to look melted.  However, I am just coding that part, so to test if it works, you just make the butter turn a different color than yellow.  Mine turns cyan.  The only problem is that I wrote that if the butter was within .5 meters of the microwave, it would turn cyan.  You can leave the butter outside the microwave, and if you close the door, the butter will just turn cyan!

I am really enjoying this tutorial, and I can’t wait to start making my actual game!  My classmate is creating a game of paddleball.  She changed to paddle to a boat and the ball to a fish!  The bricks are crates in her world, and the whole thing takes place in the ocean.  I am really enjoying coding this year, although I also can’t wait until we go back to coding in Java.

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Coding 4/10/15

This afternoon, we had our first coding lesson since spring break. We began to plan out our game. I am creating a game called The Boat and the Fish.

The way you play the game is simple. The sky has crates all attached to the top of your screen. The fish goes back and forth from the crates to the boat. Your goal is to try and hit the fish off the boat in a way that the fish hits one of the crates. If you hit a crate, it will disappear. If your fish goes through a hole where a crate already disappeared, the fish will swim off, and you lose! Another way you could lose is if you miss the fish with the boat. Then the fish swims home back into the coral reef. If the fish hits all the crates, you win!

At each new level, there is an extra row of blocks. That means that you have even more crates to destroy!

Anyway, from the coding perspective, I started by planning out my game and writing out all the details I just described. I decided what objects I would need to create and what each is capable of doing.

After I planned out my game in further detail, I began adding objects and creating methods. I chose what type of fish I wanted to use, and I made a whole line of crates across the top. I also placed a row boat in the water.

I had so much fun in coding today. I can’t wait to play my game!

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