What makes a city attractive?
What makes Sydney attractive?
Year 5 had some answers: the ocean and beaches; food from different countries; a clean environment -- little pollution; parkland nearby. Then we watched five minutes of a video which made us consider how a city is designed:
Do you agree with the narrator that old cities are often more attractive than new cities?
Last week, I asked a class of 7 year olds how we could find out what the weather was like in Sydney. The heat was coming in through the windows, the sun was obviously shining outside. “Mobile phone?” said the first child to pipe up.
The seductiveness of e-tech means, even at a young age, people ignore or discount their own senses, their own ability to find out first hand, to think for themselves or consult a human being. Some of you may remember the Leunig cartoon which showed a family watching the sun set on television while, through the window, the sun was setting, unwatched.
What’s the difference between tools and technologies? There’s an interesting take on that question here: http://reflexions.typepad.com/files/the-difference-between-tools-and-technologies-090309.pdf
In STEM, the Stage 3 children have been trying to work out which simple tool works best to help them cut pop sticks. This activity is not just about teaching children how to safely work with tools, or even about how to make a model with simple materials; it’s about how tools have shaped the built environment and, in turn, how we think about the world and our capacity to change it. - mjp
We are Filomena (blonde) and Francesca (brunette).
We are the STEM phasmids – interesting specimens of the insect world.
You may ask: if we are Australians, why do we have Italian names?
Well, our parents were Italophiles. We eat gum leaves but sometimes we dream of living in an olive grove.
Those of you who have been studying the living world this term may have had the opportunity to hold us.
But now to the point of our letter: we need your help!
Over the summer holidays, there will be no one to care for us.
If you would like to take either of us home in the next few weeks, then please write a letter addressing it to Filomena or Francesca.
The letter needs to:
The winner will have submitted a letter which is persuasive and covers all the above points.
If you are successful, you will be contacted in the next few weeks to take one of us home.
We learn about the Sun, Earth and Moon system but it's not long before our thoughts turn to ... rockets. The local park provided just enough space for these water-powered rockets to fly. Wind gusts meant finding the right spot and moment for launching.
Click here to see a short film.
What is the ideal mix of sand and water to build a sand castle?
P.S. At least one of the chickens hatched at the school has begun laying eggs. Thanks Lorenzo for the news!
It's always exciting to see the bubbles and fog generated when solid carbon dioxide is dropped into hot water. For pics and a video clip, click here.
Over the last few weeks, one dozen snails lived in polystyrene boxes in the STEM Lab. We enjoyed studying them and their slow, graceful ways. Now, with the lids taken off their boxes, the snails wasted no time escaping. They seemed to enjoy the fresh air and renewed contact with terra firma. The snail dubbed "Usain Bolt" was the first to make it out of the box, stretching its foot and extending tentacles in anticipation of freedom. -mjp
"After weeks of around-the-clock companionship, there was no doubt about the relationship: the snail and I were officially cohabiting. I was, I admit, attached. I felt some guilt that it has been taken, unasked, from its natural habitat, yet I was not ready to part with it. It was adding a welcome focus to my life, and I couldn't think how I would otherwise have passed the hours" (from Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating).
It's Science Week and the Australian Museum hosts the Science Festival.
Experiments with water? Tick.
Bubbling liquid nitrogen? Tick.
Phasmids on the loose? Tick.
We were there to see it all. Check out the photo gallery.
Parents stepped out on census night to attend a STEM gathering at the school. They had the opportunity to try out some STEM activities -- ones their children may have completed in the same space during class. Thank you to the parents who participated and to those who expressed an interest in sharing their expertise with the children.
It's always wonderful to hear back from the families who chose to rear a pair of chicks: the close relationship between them; realising that one of the chicks is becoming a rooster; their behaviour out in the garden; the growing anticipation about when a pullet may lay its first egg. Thank you to the family who sent in these latest endearing photos. -mjp
Notes and letters from many interested families were dropped in the "Chicken Post Box" for the chance of rearing a pair of chicks hatched only nine days ago at the school. The draw was made and on Thursday and Friday all 10 chicks found new, caring homes. Although we will miss the little fluff balls, the experience of seeing them hatch and grow will not be forgotten. We plan to keep in touch with the adopting families to see how the "Chicken Project" is faring. -mjp
Early this week, ten eggs were delivered in an incubator. Many of us were asking the same question: When will they hatch? By the end of Tuesday, there was still no change, although some of us with sharp eyes thought they had seen one or two eggs wobble ever so slightly.
On Wednesday morning, two exhausted chicks had emerged from their eggs. By the end of the day, there were seven fluffy chicks cheeping at the three remaining eggs as if to say, "Come on slow coaches!" Healthy chicks are moved from the incubator to the brooder where they can drink water, eat food pellets and scratch around in the wood shavings. A light bulb will keep them warm.
In the week commencing 16th May, there will be a cardboard post box near the chicks. Families who would like the chance to take home a pair of chicks at the end of the week should post a letter in this box. The letter is to be written by an adult explaining that the family is prepared to give the chicks a good home. It should include contact details. If there are many offers from families, we will select a small number at random and contact them. - mjp.
Last week, new furniture arrived for the STEM "flexible learning" space. Thank you to the children who excitedly helped unpacking and arranging it -- well done!
The chairs and tables can be moved into different configurations (the tables are also height-adjustable) which is ideal for the wide range of activities covered. There are new partitions which might remind older visitors of Lost in Space (yes, the 1960s American series about the Robinson family). What's the connection? Come and tell me! -mjp.
To the mathematical, musical and 'mazing Year 4 class of 2015, let's raise a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice: may you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas and continue next year to be the students who care so well for each other, and thrill to enjoy all that the school has to offer!
Let's fill our glasses again. This is a toast for those students in Helsinki we have just begun to know. May they also enjoy the Festive Season and soon receive with our good wishes the writing and postcards we have sent them. Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta! -mjp
Some living things are not so easy to identify. What can you see in this photo taken during the term break?
We have begun by thinking about Australian native animals. How can we classify them? What are special Australian groups? How can the lifecycle of a marsupial or monotreme be described? This YouTube video we watched in class shows the lifecycle of an echidna.
Read some of our animal prayers under Year 4 Posts.
Take a look at our excursion to Taronga Zoo.