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Our field trip to Quiet Waters Park a few weeks ago was a huge success! We visited the large pond and sketched some of the inhabitants of this freshwater habitat, collected “worms” from the natural meadow as we considered the advantages of camouflage, and discovered interesting creatures with a knowledgeable park ranger. What an exciting way to culminate our pond unit and introduce our study of birds!
Spring is the perfect time to take part in all of the wonderful activities that we can engage in outdoors! To this point, we will spend time imagining and thinking about all the “non-screen” activities, (alternatives to TV, computer, tablet, and phone games) that we could potentially participate in to get us moving and out-of-doors. Each class will brainstorm a list of activities that will be printed and sent home; we hope your family has the opportunity to participate in many!
Our recent science studies have focused on the three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas). We made homemade ice cream and experimented with water to demonstrate the changes between the states. This background will be useful as we already have kicked off our next unit of study―weather. We have started this unit by learning about the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, collection) and will be investigating the tools used to predict and measure the weather. Each morning, helpers in each first grade homeroom will observe and report their finding from their visit to the Grade One “Weather Station.” It is a fun and informative unit!
James Rizek ’24 won third place in a Green Expo poster contest sponsored by the Davidsonville Area Civic Association, earning $25 for Key’s environmental education program. Great work, James!
Our field trip to the Maryland State House last week was terrific. The children had a great time watching the start of a House and Senate session from the gallery, exploring the older sections of the State House, and even having a chance to say hello to Governor O’Malley. The trip really helped connect our study of Maryland’s founding to the idea of a capital city where laws are discussed and decided.
Last week we ventured into our in-depth study of subtraction. We began with a lesson on “take away” or “counting back,” which is the most familiar type of subtraction to the children. This type of subtraction is efficient when subtracting 1, 2, 3, and sometimes 4 from a larger value. We then moved into the comparison model of subtraction, exploring the difference between two specified amounts. As part of this study the children drew two different animals on a height chart and found the difference between these two animals’ heights. We will also compare the heights of students in our classes using a vertical number line. Exploring these two types of subtraction is a challenging endeavor, but has proven to be quite enlightening for all.
In science, we start our unit in Physical Properties. To enhance this study the students will observe, sort and classify objects according to their physical properties, expand their growing bank of scientific describing words by playing games such as "Twenty Questions," going on a scavenger hunt searching for objects with specific properties, discussing and exploring states of matter, and practicing recording this information in their science journals.
Beginning the week after mid-winter break, the first grade will embark on a unit to enhance collaborative skills in Life Skills. The five-week unit will practice cooperative skills, calming down strategies, and thoughtful communication.
As we begin unit 4 our focus becomes measurement. We began with the story How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller and used the story to highlight the importance of standard units of measurement. From there the children will practice measuring with feet and inches. We’ll also introduce the idea of ½ of a foot or inch. We’ll revisit the clock with telling time to the quarter hour and further our work with thermometers. It is a rich unit of study! Also in the coming weeks the children will begin their work on the 1,000 scroll.
We have begun our Marine Life Studies. As way of introduction the children have looked at globes and maps of the Earth, and have noticed how much water covers our planet. We have mapped out the various ocean regions, and have discovered that these regions are really areas that make up “One Big Ocean”! We will continue our study by engaging in oceanographer station activities. Also during this unit, the students will learn about the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates, study the differences between marine mammals and fish, participate in a hands-on measuring activity exploring whale lengths, examine seashells, as well as much more during this exciting unit of discovery!
This spring, the first and second graders explored flight in their homerooms. To compliment this learning, the Orff performance this year was called "The Penguin Who Learned to Fly." In the story, the penguin explores all different ways that humans fly: airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, and more. But…will he ever fly?
March 2013 Newsletter
List of strategies