Sunday, 30 April 2017

Past Civilization Legacy

Unit of Inquiry #5 - Where We Are In Place and Time (Past Civilization)

On Friday, April 28, Grade 5 celebrated their past civilization learning with two activities:  Grade 8 & 5 Engaging with Japanese History and creating a Slideshow documentary with audio. Students learned about past civilization’s legacy and developed skills as a researcher and thinker.

Central Idea: Evidence of the past civilization can be used to make connections to present-day societies.

Lines of Inquiry:
  • Characteristics of civilizations and societies.
  • Connections between past and present societies.
  • Processes involved in collecting, analyzing and validating evidence.

Grade 5 and 8 Japanese History

Learning Intention #1:  To understand the Japanese historical periods’ (Jomon~Edo) significant important events.

Grade 5 would like to offer Grade 8 for designing and sharing their Primary-level books about Japanese historical periods from Jomon Era to Edo era. We were excited to learn about historical events that occurred during each period and stress the importance of those events. Grade 5 students also had an opportunity to share their findings of past civilizations.

Grade 8 presenting their books to grade 5

Past Civilization Legacy Documentary Presentation

We are researchers.  We are thinkers.  We are historians.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Characteristics of civilizations and societies.
  • Connections between past and present societies.
  • Processes involved in collecting, analyzing and validating evidence.

During our final week of Past Civilizations unit, Grade 5 students chose a past civilization's legacy and describe its connection to modern day civilization. Through dedication and heavy researching, students built their knowledge of the characteristics of a legacy and reflected on its historical importance to past and present day societies. Each student designed a documentary using Google Slides and recorded their voice.

Many students demonstrated life-long learning as they expressed their interest to either continue learning more about their past civilization of focus or investigate another past civilization.

Sarah Hwang 5A, " I think Ancient Rom aqueduct is the best thing about my learning. Next time, I want to search about Ancient Egypt."

Judy Yamamuro 5A, "The best thing I learned is the lives of different ancient civilizations and the features. I didn't know much about ancient civilizations and that I like to research on the Internet more. I can research about civilizations with books."

Where do we go next in our learning destination for the final weeks of grade 5's Unit of Inquiry?

How We Express Ourselves (Media and Advertisement)

Central Idea:
Different forms of media can be used to influence the behavior of people.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

5B Explores Badminton in PE!

Central idea: Learning the fundamental skills and techniques of badminton such as movement, striking the shuttle/birdie, game sense and strategies. 

The 5B class has spent the last few weeks learning the basic skills to badminton and introduced to the game! The first skill they learned was how to properly serve. 

Success criteria to serve a shuttle/birdie:
1). Opposite leg slight ahead of the other
2). Hold the birdie at my waist 
3). Hold the racquet like a handshake hold and swing it back
4). Step with opposite foot while bringing racquet forward
5). Don't throw the birdie and make contact with the racquet! 

They have also been introduced to the different types of strokes: forehand, backhand, overhead clear and smash. The girls have really enjoyed the round robin single tournament and playing against their classmates! 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Where We Are in Place and Time- Analysing Evidence

Students in grade 5 have been busy investigating ancient civilisations and plotting major events on a timeline.  Through research, students discovered that the Egyptian pyramids were built about 4,500 years ago, farming in the fertile crescent began around 12,000 years ago, and pottery has been around at least 20,000 years.  This led students to wonder:
 “If the first written languages didn’t arise until 5,000 years ago, how do we know the age of things older than that?”

This was the perfect time to dive deeper into our 3rd line of inquiry: Processes involved in collecting, analysing and validating evidence.

Students were led through a series of activities to explore how scientist date artefacts.
The first step involved students recalling what they learned from a previous inquiry into properties of matter. Students recalled some basic information about the periodic chart and the structure of atoms. 

In the first activity, students learned about carbon-14 dating.  As a class, we watched a segment of the documentary, Hunting the Elements (link here, 22:30) in which scientists explain how they use the radioactive isotope of carbon-14 to help find the age of fossils and artefacts.  Students then broke into groups to watch a brain pop video and define some key terms. 
Students watch videos and define key vocabulary
After getting a better understanding of how carbon-14 dating works, students set out to explore the concept of a half-life. Students used M&Ms to help with this.  On an M&M, there is a small ‘M’ on one side of the candy.  This was used to show a carbon-14 atom. After starting with a known number of M&Ms (Carbon-14 atoms) students shook them up and dumped them onto a plate, some of the M&Ms would appear with ‘M’ side up others with the ‘M’ side down.  If the ‘M’ was not showing, this would indicate that the radioactive carbon-14 atom had decayed and turned into something else.  

Here is Rosa explaining how Carbon-14 dating works.

Students carried this out for 5 rounds. Afterwards, we found the average of all the groups.  We knew that about half should decay each round, but also knew that not every group would have exactly half each round.  Here we explored the idea of sample size- that with enough trials we would move closer and closer to the statistical result of exactly half. 
Exploring half-life with M&Ms
Firmly secure in their understanding of half-life, students began creating a graph of carbon-14’s half-life.  The graph can then be used to find the age of a fossil or artefact.  The only information needed to construct the graph is the starting number of carbon-14 atoms  in the artefact (at age 0), the remaining number of carbon-14 atom in the artefact, and the half-life of carbon-14 (5,700 years). 
In this example, the sample contained 48 Carbon-14 atoms (M side up) at the start. After a certain amount of time, some have decayed and no longer have an M. 27 atoms have decayed and only 21 Carbon-14 atoms remain.
Using this Carbon-14 half-life graph, students can plot the data along the curve. If 21 Carbon-14 atoms are remaining, that means the sample is 7,500 years old.

With all this knowledge, students were ready to take the next step and apply these skills to actually dating a fossil. 

Very simply, students were given a fossil of a bone and asked to find out how old it was.

An elaborate story was told of finding a small pyramid in the park, exploring it, uncovering an ancient burial ground inside, removing the bones, and bringing them to school for students to analyse.  More or less, nobody believed this story and quickly realised that the 'bones' were actually baked dough with grains of rice inside.  In this case, the rice represented carbon-14 atoms.  

To find out the age of the bone, students meticulously picked through the sample to find out how many Carbon-14 atoms were remaining. By finding out how many were remaining, they were able to determine how many had decayed from the original sample. They were then able to plot this information on a half-life graph and determine the age of the fossil.

Here are the young archaeologists hard at work.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Systems, Tools and Technology of Past Civilizations

Unit of Inquiry #5 - Where We Are In Place and Time (Past Civilisation)
Grade 5 continued their learning of past civilisations during the fourth week of the unit! Students are inquiring into their central idea: Evidence of the past civilisation can be used to make connections to present-day societies. We see evidence of students making connections of systems, tools and technology between past civilisations to present-day. Students are displaying excitement with their research and discovery, and demonstrating independence and cooperation with their groups to post their learnings on the hallway bulletin boards.

Central Idea: Evidence of the past civilisation can be used to make connections to present-day societies.
Lines of Inquiry: Characteristics of civilisations and societies.
Connections between past and present societies.

Learning Intention #1: To identify and explain important aspects of a civilization/society.
Investigation Activities

As a getting started an activity, individuals synthesise information from various online video sources to further develop an understanding of the key characteristics of civilization. Students viewed what life was like before civilization to life during civilization.

Learning Intention #2: To identify and describe a system, tool or technology that benefitted a past civilization.
“What have the Romans done for us?” - Monty Python
The next day, each student browsed through a variety of online encyclopaedias, informative websites, and videos on Ancient Roman civilization. Students listed Roman systems, tools and technology and described how each used. Each student demonstrated being a researcher by recording the information gathered in the efficient and effective way, and reflecting the quality of information using success criteria.

On Thursday, Grade 5 students were able to list systems, tools and technology from a past civilization. Each student chose a past civilization to focus on her investigation for the remainder of the unit. The investigation focused on listing and describing systems, tools and technology that benefited a civilization's growth and development. Students sought and selected the best sources of information for the task.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Reading as Writers, Writing as Readers

Writing as Readers

Students in grade 5 have been using what they know about reading to improve their writing, and using writing as a way to dig deeper into reading. 

In writer’s workshop, students recently finished a piece of memoir writing. In this, students were asked to write a piece that shows, “This is who I am.”  After several rounds of brainstorming and flash drafting, students were asked to think of themselves as a character in a book.  Students then analysed themselves much as we do a character in a book. Here are a few guiding questions that were used:

“What makes this character special and unique?” “What struggles does this character face?” “How does this character deal with adversity?” “What has the character learned through their ups and downs in life?” “What does this character want us to know about her?” “How is this character complex?” 

Students use a thought prompt to help analyse themselves in their memoirs
Through this exercise, students were better able to structure their memoirs around a theme or big idea that they wanted to share with the world. 

Reading as Writers

In reader’s workshop, students spent time analysing novels through the lens of a writer. While reading, and in discussions with partners, students asked themselves and each other questions to probe the thoughts of the author. Students used the following questions to help them:

“Why did the author include this detail, is there some greater significance to it?” “What aspect of the setting is unusual and how will that impact the novel?” “What is unique about this main character, what is the author trying to tell us about her?”  “What has the author included or left out? Where is the author trying to lead us?”  “Which supporting characters will the author use to help the main character evolve?” 

These and other questions helped guide students as they explored the theme and character development of various novels. In addition, it helps focus their own memoirs writing by employing some of the techniques used by expert writers.
Students used the question prompts to explore possible themes while they read
Student writing will be on display at our next parent session. Keep an eye out for upcoming information about that.