If You Build It . . .

December 10, 2017 at 9:00 am (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Let’s begin by looking at first grade’s adventure into forces of motion.  Their first activity replicates much like the tale of the Three Little Pigs.  Our inquiry:  What does a push and a pull look like?  How do we know when an object has been pushed or pulled?  Some students performed these movements to give others the vocabulary ideas of moving away or coming to you.  Then, using their pushing forces and healthy lung power, blew objects with a straw across a finish line, keeping track of their data (amount of blows per time).  They made inferences based on their results that it was easier to blow the paperclip because it was light and took more blows to move the wooden block.  We reflected on this thought process during our second gathering noting that it seemed weight did influence the motion, and then segued into using our model swing made of a pencil, tied to a string, connected to a washer.  Our goal was to look at which style of force would provide the best swing.  Would it be holding the washer directly above the pencil and letting gravity due all the work or holding the washer parallel to the pencil and releasing?

Next time we will explore if the length of an object (string) will affect the force of an object (washer), as well as continue with concept of weight by adding more washers to the swing.  Predictions on which will provide the greatest swing?

 

Third grade’s topic is the human body focusing specifically on the skeletal system and muscular system.  Learners manipulated model legs to see how the muscle groups work as a team to extend and retract when moving legs and feet.  This is a simple contraption made of a dowel rode, Popsicle stick, tubing, two paper clips, and two rubber bands.  By moving the Popsicle (foot) up and down, students were able to see one muscle tightening, while the other relaxes.  After recording their observations and creating diagrams, they had time to explore a model hand and compare the model to their hand in terms of how it is constructed and functions.  Next gathering they will look at the model once more, determine what materials they can add to make it more realistic, then create a mechanical hand with the objective of grasping an object.

 

Fifth graders take learning about weather and climate to a new level.  After researching the differences between tropical, arctic, and desert conditions they selected a region in which they had to build a dwelling with a specific roof design geared for that climate zone.  Arctic region homes needed a strong enough roof to support snow (washers) or allow them to fall off.  Desert dwellings had to keep the occupants cool (ice cube from melting), and tropical structures had to keep their folks (tissue paper) dry in torrential downpour.  Prior to testing, students judged the houses made by other teams, jotting down likes and/or what they would have done to improve the construction.  Then came the test . . .

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Ask Imagine Plan Create Improve Ask Imagine Plan Create Improve Ask . . .

November 3, 2017 at 10:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What’s in the box?

Model & Design

Glad you asked.  To find out you’ll need to use your sense of hearing to aid in the critical thinking process to form a judgment.  I will tell you there is  marble, which serves as the metal detector.  Since we cannot see what is inside, the marble will aid in how it hits the inside walls and corners of the box.  There is definitely something in their and it is different for each of the boxes labeled A-D.  Students had 10 minutes to manipulate their designated box independently while also taking notes and creating an illustration.  For the next 10 minutes they selected a partner to repeat the prior steps and share their thoughts and design methods, after which we collected back as a whole to share our perceived designs.  The point?  To get our thinkers thinking.  To perceive and infer without knowing for sure.  We are building on background knowledge; what we know of marbles when they hit a surface,  why/how the sound is different in certain portions of the box, what things there could be to soften or cushion a sound, etc.

Model & Design 2

This activity also served as a precursor to the next event . . .  The Cardboard Challenge.  In honor of my mother for bringing home boxes upon boxes for my sister and I to design forts, castles, body armor, etc.  This one was for you mom.  Kids could work in partners or solo.

Here are the stipulations:

  1. Students had to have a design in mind of something to build, anything of interest, and sketched into their journal.
  2. Also to be included: step by step instructions of how to piece their creation together.  This could be done in picture form and/or written expression. – Thing Lego Booklet
  3. A material list was required (cardboard and tape were provided, anything else they needed to bring in) – No Glue.  We did loop a video of the art teacher demonstrating cutting techniques to interlock pieces and had flyers for them to refer to as well.
  4. Students needed to have measurements made for the scale of their design.
  5. Last the number of pieces needed.

There is a reason it is called a challenge.  Students were given four weeks, spending a minimum of 5 minutes per day on the design process.  Some spent more time and gave more effort than others (which showed in the final outcome), and some took notes at home to paste into their journals.  On the day of the event each grade level (3rd-5th) were given two hours to construct (1:45 to build, 15 minutes to clean up).  They brought their journals in to refer to their designs and then went into controlled chaos mode.  Students that did not finish their plans by the due date were stationed in the computer lab to complete, then joined their class to construct after finalizing their designs.  Yes that put them at a disadvantage, but a life lesson to learn from.

Here is what they came up with on the day of the challenge.

Moving on . . . we have third graders taking their knowledge of the moon and expounding on it, as they develop a lunar craft able to land on such a rocky surface.  Day one was planning a design much similar to the cardboard challenge, in which their craft was engineered to hold the two astronauts (large marshmallows) and land upright.  The baseline of success was at a one foot height, then increasing one foot each time.  Watch the clips to see the outcomes.

 

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Side Note:  5.P.2.2 Compare the weight of an object to the sum of the weight of its parts before and after an interaction.

Our group lesson consisted of us measuring the weight of a graduated cylinder consisting in volume of 250mL of uncooked rice.  Then were weighed the rice again, only in parts of 50 mL, then adding up to see if we were close if not the same as the total weight.  Wouldn’t you know we were off by 2 grams.  We discussed what variables could have influenced this.  The two ideas that popped out were maybe a grain dropped or perhaps we were not looking directly ahead at the needle when weighing each group of 50 mL.  As a follow up the kids broke out into teams and weighed the sum of a flashlight and recorded their data.  Next the took apart the flashlight to weigh each part; the seal ring, the battery container, the light.  After weighing and recording, they compared their results to the original.  5/6 groups had the same weight for the whole flashlight as compared to the sum of the individual parts.  The 1/6 was off by 2.5 grams.  Where they got 0.5?  We’ll revisit this one for sure.  This would be a great activity to conduct at home with Legos.

You can of course check us out anytime on twitter @MrVantaztic.  Our twitter account is linked to our blog (found at the right side of the post).  Remember to hover over any of the pictures to read the captions.  Thanks for reading and subscribing.  You can also check out the newer STEAM blog (working on a sharper look) https://vantazticlearning.wordpress.com/

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Is This The Real World? Is This Just Fantasy?

October 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Being in my new role is borderline surreal, and if it is don’t pinch me.  It’s given me this immense feeling of fulfillment and yet a desire to achieve more.  If you vision a dad and his son riding in a truck down a country road, doing what fathers and sons do, talking about things one day to come.  The dad looks at his son, tells him one day he’ll be a grown man and when the day comes to find a job that makes him happy.  The conversation is much the same as the years pass and the boy becomes a young man. Through it all the son watches his parents hold down multiple jobs to provide for the family, he hears the parent’s frustration and watches them endure to make sure their kids have lives better than their own.  Through the full time jobs, the moonlighting, and the third income the parents somehow created time to hold; through the time they took the kids to bitty ball, summer camps, the factory on strike;  through beginning their own business, and then selling it, to entering real estate and flipping of houses the son holds the phrase. Now on his drives to work the son hears the words his dad once told him so long ago as he passes the Croatan Forest, and drives over the waterways.  A smile spreads.  The goal he worked toward for the past ten years arrived as opportunity presented itself.  For the first time waking up to go to work doesn’t seem to feel like work.  He’s found the secret so many search for.  To enjoy what you do.  He’s also smart enough to know that this is the beginning, not the end.  To maintain this, he’ll need to invest more time and resources to ensure this new role develops into something greater.

With that mentioned . . . Dear readers, I present some of the Vantaztic Learning Experiences

 

Let’s peek in with 5th grade as these students are learning about properties of matter.  Their unit began by studying something all around us, water.  Students travelled through the water cycle transforming from the three states (solids, liquids, and gases) in a dice game created by Project WET.  Some found themselves flowing from rivers to being absorbed by plants or animals, then perhaps travelling into groundwater or becoming a glacier.  Many found they became trapped between the cloud and ocean stations while others might have been lucky to escape to a lake.  Students tallied their travels, analyzed the data, and shared individual results.  Then we collectively shared all results and wouldn’t you know the data was common amongst all four 5th grade classes with the dominate group being liquid.

After introducing the states of matter and these physical changes, we focused on the changes that occur chemically.  First the scientists listed properties of the penny including detailed illustrations.  Students removed the coverings of oxidized pennies using an acid base (vinegar) and an abrasive (salt) and then recorded the changes observed and jotting down properties of the penny after the experiment.  Following this students created carbon dioxide (a gas) by combining baking soda and vinegar.  They trapped the CO2 in a container and used syringes to measure the amount of gas produced.  Then students hypothesized how much more/less gas would be produced by changing one of the variables, meaning the amount of baking soda or the amount of vinegar.  Let the retesting begin.

As a follow-up to CO2 theme, the kids conducted hypotheses  on which type of soda would produce the greatest amount of CO2 release.  They compared soda to diet soda, lemon-lime, to diet lemon-lime, cherry to it’s diet counterpart, and Dr. P vs diet Dr.  In this activity students dropped a roll of Mentos into each 2 liter of pop.  Once the nucleation (bubbling experience) occurred, students poured the remaining soda from the 2 liter bottles into graduated cylinders to measure and record how many mL where blow out.  Results varied because one variable that was tricky for some was getting all the Mentos in the 2 Liter.  Some spilled, some got stuck in the paper made funnel, and some kids were jumpy.  Regardless all Mentos were placed in the container to make it as fair as a test as possible, but classes did receive different results (as expected in most experiments).

Below are 4th graders exploring traits.  Each tool represents a bird’s beak and on the surrounding tables are types of food that match a certain style or trait of beak.  The 4th graders researched hummingbird and woodpecker beaks to build up on their content knowledge, then made predictions as to which tool would be best suited to “eat” that given food source.  Tools (beaks): strainers, droplets, tongs, chopsticks, tweezers, scoop cup, nut crackers, scissors.  What would you use to suck nectar from a flower (graduated cylinder)?  If tearing meat from a bone (playdough off of a tube), would tweezers, scissors, or tongs be the best trait to have?  What style of beak would you need to peck at insects in tree limbs?

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4th graders also explored estuaries and how important these are to our community in terms of cleaning the ecosystem as well as in commercial fishing.  A snacking card game provided by the NC Coastal Reserve is always a hit.  Have a healthy estuary?  Add fish crackers to your estuary.  Draw a polluted card?  Eat the fish.

Third grade is honed in on the solar system.  These astronomers are developing an understanding of how gravity and inertia (something that can rest will rest; something that can move will continue to move) keep our planet in orbit as well as the other planets and moons.  The demonstration below was an easy one for the to comprehend.  They understood that gravity holds us on earth and if I poured the cup of water the water would spill out.  We tested that and their conceptualization was true.  So then, if I use gravity and inertia together I can keep the water in the cup while turning it upside down.  They were hesitant, so we had to take the experiment  outdoors to attempt.  Check the picks of the kids swinging the cup in circles, keeping the water intact thanks to the combo.

Our current project is converting the distances from kilometers to meters and centimeters of each planet from the sum.  Students are in process of measuring these distances with tape and meter wheels and cutting string to serve as a model distance.  We will then convert the planet sizes into metric for the circumference of planet models to attach to the string.

Second grade is deep into operating weather tools.  We’re calibrating anemometers, and reading thermometers.  They’re creating hypotheses on which would hold the temperature of water the longest (foam or plastic) and keeping track of their data, then interpreting the results.

First grade is tracking the movement of shadows throughout the day to recognize patterns and movement of objects throughout the day.  Check out our friends modeling with flashlights and tracing the shadow patterns made.

And my kindergarten friends (no pics yet) are improving their coding skills using directional terms as turn, forward, stop, etc.  They helped Mr. V get from point A to Point B using these terms with a number set.  I did get a bit dizzy when the direction was turn and I kept turning in place, or if they said go forward and I’d walk across the room.  We’re working on adding the number of steps and turns, so perhaps next time when we add arrows, numbers and directional word cards it will get us where we need to be.  Footage will be taken next time.  So much good to come.

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I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

September 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

 

A bit behind with updates in the lab.  The pvc pipe will hold plastic bags which will be used for campus clean ups.  We’ll separate the litter, then tally what we’ve found using CMAST’s beach sweep data sheets.  From there the information the kids collect will be sent to our friends at CMAST for them to add to their study on marine debris.  Our school will be a data point for the debris collection as well as upcoming weather tracking.  That lovely pesticide cabinet is our storage unit for chemicals, which at the elementary level consist of materials such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, veggie oil, salt, etc.  My good friend and proprietor of ENC Creations made some support cleats for the cabinet to rest upon and secure from above with lag bolts.  The back of the cabinet was then secured to the wall with ten masonry screws.  AND . . .  finally those beautiful cabinets came in.  Look at all of that storage.  Teacher’s dream.  A purchase order is in the works to purchase the wall mounted projector.  This will project onto our dry erase board and has touchscreen capabilities without the screen.  The next project is to add more storage rails under the cabinets, and install a few more pieces of pegboard.  Once that is complete, it will be time to build the L-bench and order materials for the recording studio.

Someone call the A-Team.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch- Changes

August 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , )

For anyone that bought a start-up home thinking, “This could be a nice place with a few changes and upgrades”, but then two days into pulling the carpet up to see those original hardwoods they hoped for they’re faced with stained laminate from twenty years prior, .  . . well this post is for you.  I’ve been there too for in my elementary to high school years my parents would buy a home once a summer to fix and rent or sell, and then I faced this once again after returning home from college graduation to rent a home (built in 1912) from my folks.

“I’m just going to repaint the living room.  Well I need to tear the existing forty seven layers of wallpaper first.  Suppose I should remove this drop ceiling to open up the room.  Looks like the plaster is coming off with the wall paper.  Should probably take off the original crown molding to sand and repaint.  So I need to hang drywall now and stamp the ceiling.”

You see, one thing leads to the next.  It is easier to build than work around and that in essence is the renovation process to the STEAM lab.  Not that I didn’t take that into consideration.  I knew there would be those days of “What was I thinking?” and “Seriously!”, but you roll with the punches and punishment.

So what have been some of the obstacles?  Knowing the depth of the cinder block.  If electrical lines where run through or behind them.  Where the lines were.  Cutting out steel pegboard to expose the outlets.  Finding potable and gray water lines as not to sink into them while running hanging rails.  Climbing ladders and hanging in contorted positions while on them is a skill I think I can sell as a new crossfit method.

So what has been accomplished?

The bathrooms are no more.  The toilets were officially taken out last week, and these past four days have been committed to turning one of those into a storage closet.  The rails are hung with six inch spacing between them.  You never know what you’ll use/keep as a teacher and the railing allows for shelves to unsnap and move up or down accordingly.  Suppose you can never have enough space to store items.  Here is the evolution of this room.

Added rails to each pop-out column dividing the walls, assists in utilizing a “take it” basket set-up.  Again, the vertical track has multiple slots to adjust where and how close to snap the baskets.  I spent today (8/15/17) filling these up with makerspace materials, puzzles and shells, math manipulatives, and robotics.  There is more to hang, but that will come after the cabinet install.

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Then there is pegboard run along the bottom of two of the dry erase boards.  I suppose another frustration is the shopping, because some things are not as they appear in the spec sections.  The pegboard was advertised as 32″w x 96″h and 32″w x 48″h.  I needed two of each, but when the delivery came all pieces were 32″ x 16″.  It worked out, but I was hoping for larger pieces to make cutting around the electrical outlets easier, while also avoiding placing screws so close to them.  C’est la vie.

The ceiling tiles are looking outstanding and I’m placing them in order based on the periodic table, with a few exceptions due to restraints on length of the room and/or working around light fixtures and HVAC.  I thought spinning them in different directions would be a fun twist for the squirrels that will be occupying this lab.

So, what is left?  Much.  The cabinets mentioned earlier will be placed on either side of the windows and three foot depth counter with shelves and space for terrariums and aquariums will run under the windows.  I have 10″ diameter pvc pipe coupled with two 45 degree elbows that will hold repurposed grocery sacks for campus clean-ups/trash data tracking.  This will be mounted near the exit door.  I have enough pvc left over to create a debris container for the outdoor science shelter, same as what you would see on the beach to collect fishing line.  The orbiting moon model will for sure be a time consuming project.  We will be using curtain railing, like that from a hospital/hospice room.  The issue is the railing cannot be hung from the tiles, but must go up into the ceiling joists.  The moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circular pattern, but more of an oblong egg.  But, a few weekends into the school year and I should have a solid layout for the path.  The recording studio will be the coup de gras (grace), the hanging of the door will be the most difficult part and one I will need assistance from maintenance.  Yet, hanging the foam sound diffusers and building a bench will not be a difficult task to manage.  If you have thoughts on bedding and/or upholstery for the bench, please comment below.  It will be an L style to host multiple students or just one to lounge while recording their audio/video projects.

First things last.  Let’s get the counter/cabinets installed to house items and clean up a bit.  I have more than 20 stem project boxes that were delivered to the room and need to find a place for them.  This is a good problem to have.  Also, other teachers are invading the school and everyone wants to drop off their “science” stuff.  So like prior mention, you can never have enough storage.

 

What else?  Well . . . I won’t go into too grave detail, but will leave you with two words.  Touch tank.

David, hit it.

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Full STEAM Ahead

June 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm (MATH, News, Science)

Full STEAM Ahead

Thank You Lowes

The idea behind project Full STEAM Ahead is to renovate an existing classroom into a full functioning lab encompassing areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). The STEAM lab will serve as a hub for all elementary grade levels offering students an opportunity to create, explore through hands-on experiences, and develop critical thinking skills. The lab will be a meeting point for science clubs (robotics, environmental stewards, marine biologists, and horticulturalists). This lab will provide professional development for staff allowing homeroom teachers, specialized educators, and the STEAM facilitator to blend teaching styles and correlate on the development of lessons and activities related to the elementary curriculum-standards, as well as create cross-curricular strands allowing grade levels to intermingle on similar topics and provide a greater depth of learning. The STEAM lab will provide educators the opportunity to co-teach and students alternative methods to learn from one another. One of the STEAM lab’s objectives will fulfill multiple facets of learning. This being that all students have access to various forms of technology in which they can voice their findings and discoveries on social media platforms, learn to code and operate robotics, track and record data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, while also being able to explore by means of interactive digital labs, and supplementing as a resource for research. Another objective is for our students to increase their understanding in science and mathematics and become proficient learners in these areas. Overall the goal of this renovation project is to have each student increase their appetite for one of the many fields science has to offer, and peak those interests by supplying these young inquisitive minds with an environment that engages and stimulates.

 

The vision of this renovation will host a recording studio for students to express themselves artistically by way of digital medium.  Students will have the ability to podcast, create digital content such as videos, or design augmented reality aurasmas. A dark room will be constructed for vermiculture study. An interactive whiteboard and projector will be allow for students to research while simultaneously manipulate digital labs.  Storage will be added to house robotics, manipulatives for math activities, along with science equipment.  Pegboard walls and removable crates will be wall mounted to aid in the utilization of maximum space for storing equipment and tools.  A chemical storage cabinet will be wall mounted to keep non consumable materials safely secure and out of reach when not in use.  A recessed wall mounted pull down eye rinse will be included as an added safety measure.  A display section will be created to bear experiments and projects, as well as hold ecosystems such as terrariums and aquariums (salt and fresh water) for observation.  A magnetic wall will be installed for exploratory learners, and a track will be fixed to the ceiling operating a moon model as it travels on the orbital path.  The ceiling tiles will each be painted to match the periodic table along with examples of how each element is used as a human resource.  PVC pipe will be mounted and run along the lab for students to explore auditory senses and manipulate sound energy.  For shelving of science related books, we will have a builtin tree shaped bookcase.  To maintain debris awareness, an acrylic container will be fixed to a wall.

Timeline

June 7th, 2017 Lowe’s Home Improvement (Cape Carteret Branch) presented the $50, 852.21 grant to begin renovation of our classroom into a functional STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) lab.  News footage is below.

WNCT Channel 9

Carteret Time News Article

June 13th, 2017 Lowe’s Volunteers come to prime and paint the classroom Sonic Blue.  The before . . .

The during . . .

Lowe’s volunteers Liz and Lisa primed the walls covering the once purple, eggshell white, and dark blue cinder blocks.  I scraped liquid nail that once held the bulletin board (which will be moved to the opposite side of the classroom)  and removed the bathroom railings and dispensers (these were sent back to Central Office HQ).  Also on this day our friend Al Sirkin from ENC Creations (ENC-Creations via instagram and twitter) stopped in to measure the section where the magnetic wall will hang.  The plans for the magnetic wall will be to bend the metal around corner of the wall to the storage room (see pic of Lisa priming blue wall below), paint it black, punch out spots for the door stop and air control box, and cut terms; magnetic, attract, repel, iron, ore, and +, – symbols at the top of the wall.  There will also be a rubber edge run along the side of the metal to prevent kiddos from cutting themselves.  Lowe’s  customized a tree bookcase which is in the first stages of development.

 

 

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Erosion Engineering

January 29, 2017 at 9:00 am (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Alright stop!   Collaborate and listen.  The Little V’s are back with a brand new invention.  Vantaztic Learning has some mad skills on the mic, but even I can’t touch the brilliance that came from these young problem-solvers.  Your mind will be blown back to the 90’s to when we thought this track was solid,

Image result for vanilla ice 90s

as you listen to these clever devils collaborate.  See the thought process unfold for yourself as the scientists explain how their prototypes will slow beach erosion.

Makerspaces Engineering Erosion Project

Some background info for our readers:  The kids spent a day to design a blueprint of how their idea would look and created a write up of how it works.

Makerspaces Engineering

Day two (this day) was focused on creation of their sketch.  Next week they will test their project to see if it does in fact work, and if for some reason not, back to the drawing board.  For our fourth event day, we’ve invited a couple of professionals from our local community with background knowledge and first hand experience in beach renourishment to visit and listen to the students as they present their ideas, discuss the successes and drawbacks of the pretesting, and share their improvements.  Suppose we’ll have to wait to add more until testing and discussion take place, so for now . . . hit the hi-hat.  Word to your mother.

Makerspaces Engineering
Makerspaces Engineering

 

Makerspaces Engineering

We’re back and ready to share what worked and what needed modifications.  Our guest shall be here at the end of the month.  Enjoy, we’ll back after this paid programming announcement.

Erosion Wave Model

 

Engineering a Way to Slow Erosion
Wave Erosion Testing

2/23/17 Mr. Rudolph, “Rudi”, stopped in to listen to the young minds share their ideas and models to prevent beach erosion.  Mr. Rudi works for the Carteret County Shoreline Protection in Emerald Isle, NC.  He shared how to combat the erosion issue with the method Carteret County uses, dredging sand onto the beaches.  Fun Fact:  Sand is classified as sand if it is between 1/16-2 mm in size, any larger and it is mud, and then gravel.  Fun Fact:  An average of 1 million cubic yards are pumped onto the beach for a given project.  Fun Fact:  If sand is the erosion problem, then the solution is sand, putting it back to where it belongs.  The kids were engaged and developed terrific questions such as, “Would my hurt the environment?”, “How much sand is used to dredge back onto the beach?”, “How do you know when too much erosion is happening?”, and “What is your favorite part of your job?”.  Super way to end the week.  We are definitely spoiled to have so many resources at our fingertips.

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Whale Look What We’ve Got Here

November 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm (Science)

Vantaztic Learning is back after a hiatus of conferences, workshops, spartan races, and finalizing grades.  So much has happened since last we blogged, and this post is going to go in so many different directions, but we’ll eventually get back to one point.  Get the GPS handy to follow this one . . .

The Little V’s have extensively researched population changes and different species of whales, as well as how people impact the population of these large mammals.  We learned that right whales are slow and unattentive swimmers.  Sounds like people that drive while operating their phones (oh, did I just call you out?).  Due to their obliviousness and sloth like speed, these whales are easy targets for boat propellers.

This steered the learning machine into the area of what people are doing to cause this change in population.  Some thought slowing the boats down would help, while others argued that this would cause problems for businesses and they’d lose money due to time constraints with shipping items.

Now we steer in another direction: leading us to how and why populations change.  We’re still reading passages via Discovery Ed, checking out video streams, and completing interactive labs.  Huge thanks to Dr. Seuss, as we streamed the Lorax to find the benefits and negative effects of the Oncler’s invention of thneeds which everyone, everyone, everyone needs, as well as the result of population increase/decrease in the forest and baby booming community.  Dr. Seuss such an intuitive individual, saw issues long before they were $5.00 buzz words or a debatable topic for presidential crooks, I mean candidates.

Image result for once ler cartoon

(credited illustration of Dr. Seuss)

So, a group of young minds had to decide what to do when an invasive species is let loose in the school.  How would they handle this situation you might ask?  What was their plan?  Well, you can read about our student’s point of view via our kidblog link here.

Back to whaling:  The kiddos put their  compare and contrast skills to the test by exploring two life sized baleen whales and reading facts about them (sperm whales and narwhals).

compare-whale

We also had a visitor from our good friend Dr. Thayer of the NC Central Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, CMAST, & Division of Marine Fisheries.  She had the kids brainstorm what items they would take with them to rescue a whale, then shared the gear to perform the rescue.  Below is a picture of the kids holding a piece of baleen that came from a baby right whale off of our NC coast.  The baleen from this baby is close to six feet in length.

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So what is next . . .?  We’ve completed writing about our invented birds and will begin to type those out.  It is possible that you will be able to read these once we’ve created QR codes and an aurasma overlay for video presentations.  If you didn’t understand a word I just typed I promise these are real terms and not from Dr. Seuss.  You’ll soon see.

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Oysters: Nature’s Natural Britta Filter

September 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Busy week for the Little V’s.  We’ve engulfed the concept of adapting and how certain traits allow living things to survive depending on the conditions they live in.  By doing this the young scientists created their own fictional bird, incorporating a style of beak, wings, feet, legs, and color that would suite the needs of their environment.  The outline and artwork is complete and will be displayed in the class.  We’re going to tie in some augmented reality tech to this project (which is like virtual reality).  Maybe we could have a gallery night, let me look into that.

Adding Oysters

Filtering Plankton

Oyster

 

This week we also learned about how rough it is to be a sea turtle and the measures they must take to survive.  Students role played in this game of tag as land and sea predators were out to get those selected as the sea turtles.  Turtles had to complete three rounds in the obstacle course, grabbing a food/life token each time.  However, due to the effects humans play on the environment some of those tokens (unbeknownst to the turtles) were microplastics.  When turtles consume these they either choke or disrupt their buoyancy making it difficult if not impossible to dive for food or away from predators.

Sea Turtle Survival

 

Estuaries: Detritus Feeders

Then we revisited how estuaries play a vital role in our ecosystem and local communities.  The Aquaculture Technology Department at the Carteret Community College was more than radical to allow us to borrow some tanks, a few gallons of salt water, filters, plankton, and oysters to demo how these mother earth britta’s filter.  Science fact: one oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day.  And I thought I drank alot (of water.  Water folks.  I drink alot of water).  This was definitely a hit.  We loaded one tank with ten oysters, the other with fifty five, poured in the plankton and sat back to observe.  It was amazing to see how fast they cleared the tanks of the murky plankton paste.  Above are the scientists pantomiming detritus predators.  Can you guess which one is a fiddler crab, egret, raccoon, or red drum?

Oyster Filtration

These young minds had indepth observational insight in their journaling today.  Impressed with their outlook on today’s activity.  So what’s next?  Tons.  Literally.  We’ll be “swimming” with whales by the end of October.  Stay tuned.

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Expectations on Effort: What You Can Expect & What Is Expected From You

August 24, 2016 at 9:07 am (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , )

Students:  Please read this with a relative, or guardian.

 As a 4th grade student, know that you will be expected to give full effort each and every minute while you are in this class.   You can expect the same from your teacher, Mr. V.  He will give you his best each day.

So what does effort mean Mr. V?  

FIRST:  In this class effort means when it comes time to complete an assignment or activity, then your full attention is on that project.  If you stay focused on your responsibilities, you will be a successful learner.  We will have many activities that are completed as partners, teams, or with Mr. V, and that’s when you’ll need to talk to each other.  There will be activities that you’ll complete by yourself, these are times when you will have to ignore someone that wants whisper or talk to you.  No matter if you work alone or with someone else, you’ll need to complete the activity on time and correctly as stated in the directions given.

SECOND: This means you will have to redo an assignment if it is not done the right way.  I know what you’re already thinking . . . UGGHH!  This will be tough for some of you, I know.  Mr. V has made (and still makes) errors all the time.  I don’t know about any of you little V’s, but when I cannot figure something out I get flushed (feel red and hot inside).  At times I feel like the world’s dumbest person, and sometimes it breaks my confidence. That’s when I know it is time to clear my head because one thing I NEVER feel like doing is quitting.  That my friends, is known as perseverance (per-sa-ver-ance).  Like Cena says, “Never Give Up”.

Sometimes we need to take a breath to clear our head, or stretch, or take a few minutes to think.  You will never be allowed to quit, Mr. V will never quit on you.  Yet instead of sulking or giving up, we’ll have to go about solving the problem another way.  This isn’t always easy, but it will be done.  Remember, Mr. V is always here to help you, but not until after you have made attempts to solving the problem yourself.

That’s one expectation, we’re going to pause for the cause and continue with more expectations in the days to come.

If you are a student or parent that visited the Meet & Greet and you have an “I wonder . . . ” moment, please leave comment below.

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