Blog Post 12/2/14

This morning, we started with the usual Current Events. My friend read about how global warming is effecting Earth, my teacher read about synthetic drugs, and I read about a new Mellowcab that will be used in South Africa instead of taxis. It is a small car that travels on the sidewalks so you can’t get stuck in traffic. Also, it is eco-friendly, meaning it is electric. If you would like to read the article, here is the link:

After Current Events, we continued with work time. We are still doing the flipped math system, and it is really helping me get through the more difficult lessons. 

After lunch and recess, we started science. We started an experiment on air pressure, but discovered that we needed a thicker trash bag. Then, we filled out a sheet asking about different things that we learned in our science book. I learned that in the 1800s, scientists would send hot air balloons into the air to learn more about the atmosphere. Huh! 

Today we had lots of fun, and I wonder what is in store for tomorrow!

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For homework over the break, we read the first chapter of our science book, Earth’s Air.  Today we got to work on our air experiment.  There is an online ‘book’ which has in it interactive things to do, such as make a prediction, and then it tells you the steps to conduct your experiment.  The experiment we tried to do today was about air pressure.  My classmate sat in an empty garbage bag, and we made a hole in a piece of cardboard that matched the size of our vacuum tube.  We made a hole in the garbage bag that was about the same size as the hole in the cardboard, and we put the pipe through the two holes.  My classmate held the pipe at the other end so that clothes and plastic wouldn’t block up the vacuum pipe.  I turned on the vacuum and the bag sucked around my classmate, although we heard a loud pop, and the bag tore, which released the air pressure.  Because the bag tore, though, we couldn’t finish the experiment.  We are planning to do the experiment tomorrow, with another experiment we will do.  We found out that we need industrial trash bags, so our teacher will bring one in tomorrow.  I am excited for yoga tomorrow, as well as finishing the experiment.

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Blog Post 11/25/14

Today we had yoga, Spanish and French in the morning, so our pre-work time morning was a little more stuffed than usual.  Yoga felt wonderful, especially since I was tired.  We did some meditation in the beginning, too.  After yoga, we split up for Spanish and French.  During Spanish, I worked through our book a little more, and I will do some online work over Thanksgiving break.  After Spanish, I had a regular work time, while my classmate was cooking for French.  I finished everything, and when my classmate came back, we talked about what our new book club book will be like.  We are now reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  After lunch and recess, we worked on our Native American project.  We are creating a Keynote slideshow for the quilt makers and their tribes.  We got pretty far today, and I can’t wait to finish our slideshow on December 1st!

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Native American Keynote Project 11/24/14

This afternoon, we started our Native American Quilting project using Keynote. We recently went on a field trip to the apple store for a lesson on Keynote, so we learned new tips and features. For example, we learned how to make a paragraph spin, or a photo appear and disappear. Anyway, since we learned all these cool ideas and received advice, we thought we should do a Keynote presentation to display our information about Native American Quilting. We had a series of articles that we read about different ways to quilt and design quilts from different tribes. We chose a theme, then started to frame our presentation on two tribes. One is the Osage Nation, and the other is the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. These are not our only two tribes that we will be writing about, just the first two. We also wrote about two quilters themselves, and what they see in a quilt. I think that this is a great way to show our information, and I am glad we went to the apple store for a lesson on Keynote. I think it really helped! 

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Today we coded in the afternoon, because our teacher’s week is hectic with Thanksgiving.  We worked with Alice again, except this time we created our own methods.  We got to create our own world, actually, and we started with a template, for example, a beach, water, dirt, grass or snow.  I chose snow, although my classmate chose sand, and we put in five objects.  At least one of them had to be a person.  I put in two fairies, a tree house, a dragon and a magic bunny.  We experimented with creating methods and events.  An event is when, for example, ‘object clicked with mouse do ____’.  My classmate created a little animation, while I created an animation whenever you clicked on something.  I really enjoyed the freedom of creating anything we wanted.  Neither my classmates nor I can wait till our next coding class!

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Philadelphia Zoo- Unless Project

Today, we had our skype session with the zoo. The Unless Project is a project that encourages students and their communities to recycle more. Each team has to campaign in their community and make a noticable change of the amount of waste that is recycled in the community. We also have to recycle something that is not already being recycled to its full potential. We are using clothing to represent our team. We are going to make bags out of the tshirts and donate all the other clothes to an organization so that they can be made into playground flooring so that trees don’t have to be cut down so often. We are helping birds and turtles by doing this. We are helping turtles because there won’t be so much plastic in the water from shopping bags because we will sell our re-usable bags. We are also helping birds because they can continue nesting in the trees that would otherwise be cut down. 

The winners are judged based on creativity and impact. The first through third place teams  receive a large prize!

I am glad that we are doing this project, and I believe that many animals will benifit from it. 

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UNLESS Project

The students at PRIED are participating in a contest through the Philadelphia Zoo that promotes recycling.  It is a completely student-centered project, and I am not allowed to do anything but provide deadlines and communicate questions with the coordinator.  They are in charge of creating their own recycling campaign and marketing their campaign to the community.  I am so excited for this project as it hits on so many standards and concepts such as public speaking, data collection and analysis, science and nature, communication, community service, and many others.  They had a Skype session with the coordinator this morning and sent e-mails to some local schools asking if they could come in to present their campaign to support for their recycling efforts.  They are also going to ask the synagogue that we are housed in if they can do their presentation for them following a Saturday service.  They are just as excited as I am for the project, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with and what they learn through this process!

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Ashland Field Trip

Yesterday, we went on our second field trip to the Ashland Nature Center.  This time we went for Stream Ecology.  We first talked about what pollutes streams inside, then we split into two different groups: older and younger.  We, obviously, were in the older group.  We went out to Wildflower Brook, a stream on Ashland that flows into the White Clay Creek.  We took the temperature and got 41º Fahrenheit, or about 5º Celsius.  As soon as we finished that, we tested the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.  We got an answer of about 11 milligrams per liter of water.  That is a lot, which is good because it supports more aquatic creatures.  After we had got the amount of dissolved oxygen, we tested the Ph of the water.  We estimated that it had a Ph of about 7.0.  Now that we had found the temperature, Ph and dissolved oxygen, we began to search for macroinvertabrates.  Macroinvertabrates are invertebrates that you can see with the naked eye, and they are usually an indicator of good water quality because they can’t move very far quickly and are vulnerable to pollutants.  We used a net and shook out the leaves and rocks to dislodge the creatures that might be hiding inside them.  The best things we found were stonefly nymphs, and we found about seven of them.  We also caught two fish and a salamander.  We have both loved all our Ashland field trips so far, and I can’t wait for our next adventure with Ashland!  I also now know how to test a stream, so we can test our stream at home and possibly a stream here at school, also!

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Current Events 11/20/14

Who likes to fly on a plane, but be scared the whole time? The SJC has discovered that dogs can help passengers with flying fears to relax before a flight. Many airports across the country have already founded a program for this strategy. For example, Los Angeles has created Pets Undressing Passengers, where dogs will walk with their trainer around and through the terminals, allowing all others around to pet and enjoy their love. Heidi Huebner claims that not only does it help to soothe passengers, but it also starts conversations between strangers. Kyra Hubis also says that dogs that “speak” to veterans have also been helpful to the soldiers, them saying “take care of the house while I’m gone”. This is a very interesting discovery and study, and I hope that the Philadelphia Airport will be the next airport to get a dog program, that would sure help me! 

That is what I read about in Current Events this morning. I read an article on USA Today, one of our Current Events apps. We also have a few more apps for that, such as CNN and Flipboard. I am glad that we are doing Current Events every morning. It helps us to know what is going on around the world and what is going on nearby. It also starts conversations and makes us feel that we have learned a lot about the outside world, and not just topics like Math and Science. 

I wonder what I will read about tomorrow!

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This morning started with current events, and right after current events, our coding instructor came in.  We were both excited for coding today, but rather than typing in regular code, we used Alice today.  Alice is a coding program from Carnegie Melon.  It is like the same thing as the coding we were doing before, except every function is in a “block”.  We started with making a chicken do whatever we wanted it do.  The second one was where you had to get the chicken to a pile of corn.  The third was the same thing with the corn off to the side.  The fourth was where there was a bush in between you and the corn, and you had to go around the bush.  The fifth one, you had to go through a small maze to get to the corn.  We enjoyed it a lot and can’t wait for next week’s coding work!

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