1s & 5s

February 28, 2018 at 8:50 am (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A bit lazy on the title I know, but I’m running out of STEAM.  Get it!?  (cue crickets chirping)   Eh . . .  anyway . . . let’s take a gander at first graders who continue applying their know-how about forces, pushes, and pulls. This lesson centered on pulls with the use of weight and gravity; much like what pulls glaciers if we recount to the last post with 4th grade’s topic.  These first graders tinkered with adding and/or subtracting the amount of washers to their vehicle by connecting them via string & paperclips.  After exploration time with the vehicles and the weights, the students repeated the activity beginning with one washer, then 2, 4, 6, and 8 writing down observations between each trial as to which provided the greatest/fastest pull, and why they believed this to be true.  We’ll pick up with this activity and review our discoveries in the next post.

Gravity Pulls
Weight & Gravity


Moving on to 5th where our marine biologists are using bathymetric sonar technology to map the ocean floor.  NOAA’s ship, the Okeanos Explorer, uses this type of sonar which flares out onto the ocean bottom, pinging data back to the ship in a color coded scale to outline trenches, volcanoes, sunken ships, etc.  These students constructed models of the abyss and/or trenches which they are preparing for another class.  Pictures of them sampling data by use of color coded straws are models built by another 5th grade class.  The lower the straw, the deeper the coordinate.  After recording the data the next step will be to transfer the information to a color bar graph, one sheet per column (columns were from A-J).  After the bar graphs are made for each column the students will cut, and glue the data in their journals to create a three dimensional pop-up scale.  We will have pictures once this is complete, so stay tuned and until then check out the pictures and video.


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January 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm (School Supplies)

Updates on project #FullSTEAMAhead

After painting the ceiling tiles to match the periodic table, local artist Eve is adding murals to the room.  This renovation process would not have been possible without being a recipient from Lowe’s Home Improvement’s Toolbox for Education grant.  Below is a replica of our local estuary in the Bogue Sound.  Eve is working on the engineering process and will then add a mural of the phases of the moon as well as NC’s watersheds.  Who knows what else I can con her into doing for us before she’s had enough of me?

You’ll also notice our outreach partner from the community college Aqua Culture Department (located in MHC) measuring dimensions for the touch tank.  I was fortunate to receive grant funding from both the Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op ($1,000) and the Mid Atlantic Marine Education Association ($1,000) to begin this project.  David Cerino (from the college) will aid in constructing the tank and supplying the water as well as critters (on loan) for our students to observe, care for, and learn from.  The tank will serve multiple purposes.  We will convert it as needed (which basically means adding or removing life) for use in water quality testing, observing oyster filtration rates, replicating our estuary ecosystem, understanding detritus (bottom) feeders, sea level rise with focus on the moon and how it affects the tide, wave energy (harnessing renewable resources), engineering water crafts, testing buoyancy, and whatever else I can think of.  We hope to finish the tank by February ’18.


Speaking of outreach, our friend Sarah from NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin.) dedicated her day to working with 5th grade and touching on many of their content strands:

5.P.2.1 Explain how the sun’s energy impacts the processes of the water cycle (including, evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation and runoff).

5.E.1 Understand weather patterns and phenomena, making connections to the weather in a particular place and
5.E.1.1 Compare seasonal changes in weather conditions (including wind speed and direction, precipitation, and temperature) and patterns.
5.E.1.2 Predict upcoming weather events from weather data collected through observation and measurements.

Her activities included making a model of a home on the shore and viewing the affects of the tides as glaciers melt, and then observing what happens to the water level in a bottle as heat is applied.  The kids made predictions, measured the increase of the water as it crept up the straw, and kept record of the process.

Below also includes 5th graders exploring water convection currents (how waves form from hot pockets of water mixing with cooler ones).  To see video footage check out the twitter page (tweet from 1/11/18) on the right of the blog.

Third graders devoted a unit to the structure and function of the human body. 3.L.1.1 Compare the different functions of the skeletal and muscular system.  They manipulated leg models as read in the last post, but also explored a model hand (glove filled with sand) to determine what might be missing.  As they made comparisons to the model hand and their own, they were daunted the task of creating a mechanical hand which would be able to

a.) move it’s phalanges

b.) grasp an object

c.) pick that object up without dropping it

Partners developed designs with the given materials in mind to make their project a success on any or all of the three levels mentioned.

And we also have footage of first graders operating our newly acquired Bee Bots (again thank you to CC Electric Co-op for another $1,000 grant) to use with their knowledge of push and pull forces.  First grade was given challenges of moving boxes out of the way by coding the robots to either push or pull the boxes (rope included) according to the placement of the Bee Bot.


Before this post ends, I shamelessly ask any one reader of this post to spread the word via social media, letter, or pigeon carrier about our next need.  In the words of Colt Cabana, Facebook it out, snap chat it out, tweet it, vine . .  wait is this is even a thing anymore?  Anyway – I have written a piece through Donor’s Choose to fund us for two class sets (18) of Vernier Go!Motion Devices which will contribute to all grade levels in our school.  To read about our want, click on the link Echo Echolocation to read how these devices will be used with the students chrome books to conduct more hands-on activities relating to forces and motion, marine sciences, and engineering to name a few.  Our date to qualify is expiring in February.  We currently have $100 donated to the cause.  I’m not asking that you yourself pay, but maybe know of someone with means that could help.  Bluntly, I a need a cup of sugar.  Do you know a Sugar Daddy?

Thanks for reading.

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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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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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Timeline Projects: Famous North Carolinians

March 21, 2016 at 8:07 pm (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The long time pay off.  The kids have been researching for the past month and rehearsing their facts getting ready for the big show.  Check out the fruit of their labors.  Watch these techy timeline projects on famous North Carolinians.  These were the early birds.  The rest of the projects make their way in tomorrow.

Meet Braxton Bragg

Meet Edward Teach (Blackbeard)

Meet Kellie Pickler

Meet Andy Griffith

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The Lorax Recap

December 7, 2015 at 10:19 am (School Supplies)

The Lorax Recap.

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August 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm (School Supplies) (, , , )

Our young scientists explored animal adaptations, focusing on the advantages they provide for each animal.  This morning we read about the necks and legs of giraffes tall and short and the advantage one might play over the other.  Today we investigated how birds, insects, and fish see, and the skin of sharks.  We will further our study throughout the week targeting whale blubber and further the study on shark skin.  Enjoy the pics and thinglink on sea turtles below.

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If Only . . .

August 17, 2015 at 8:42 am (School Supplies)

Thank you Key & Peele. I never laughed and cried so hard in my life.  Opinion: America’s values are upside down.

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Squishy Circuits

June 5, 2015 at 4:48 pm (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Awesome activity to tie in properties of matter, measurement, and an electricity unit.  The artists, the bakers, & the circuit board makers created a play dough that also serves as a conductor as electricity.  The last pics show an illuminated led.  Didn’t have time to make the insulator batch, perhaps on Monday.  Check out squishy circuits for the recipes and activities.

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Engineering In Action

June 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm (School Supplies) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The engineers spent yesterday building mechanical hands.  The objective, make a hand that can grasp an object.  The instruction, “Here’s your materials, build it.”  Time to combine maker spaces with thought and problem-solving skills, not so much for show me the way.  Enjoy & check out the video clips in the flickr column (titled Projects) to the right or click on the term in blue.

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