Saturday, 25 January 2014

Is Water Always Blue? Why is Snow White?

Back in November, a few girls were drawing pictures of the rain and they coloured the rain blue. This lead to a fascinating discussion about the colour of water. K.B, A.B and S.P began moving around the room to the different taps to see what colour each one was.

A.B- our tap one is greyish and white

K.B- greyish and white? Where does that come from?

S.P- why is ours different from blue?

A.B- the water fountain is see through

S.P- why is the school water different from the water when it rains? The rain is blue and these ones is silver and one is white

The next day was raining, we decided to put cups outside to find out the colour of the rain. 

This experiment sparked excitement in the classroom about water. We watched videos about waterfalls and discussed different types of water (salt and fresh).

Naturally, as the weather changed the focus of their wonders switched from water/rain to the snow that was beginning to fall. 

M.W- I wonder why the snow falls down. I wonder why snow is so mushy.

A.Bh- I wonder how the snowflakes fall down. How do people see snow when it’s white?

D.R- Why is snow white?

D.K- I wonder why snow is white and cold. I wonder if the colour is cold.

A.M- why does snow come down from the sky?

E.M- I wonder where does snow come from? Why does rain turn into snow?

S.P- I wonder why snow is very squishy

One recess we were outside and it began snowing. Students began catching snowflakes on their mittens and showing them to each other and the teachers. Ms. Tompkins had to run inside to get her camera because they were so beautiful!

We have been reading books learning about water and snow. We have learned that snowflakes have 6 sides. Students were curious about why snow falls and where it comes from. We learned they form in the clouds after dust and ice crystals stick together. We learned about the water cycle.

The Water Cycle

1. The water evaporates to the clouds
2. Dust and ice stick together
3. More and more ice crystals stick together and get heavy
4. They fall from the clouds as snow

We have been investigating melting, freezing and temperature by bringing snow and water into the classroom. We are excited to see what we will learn next and we know this inquiry will continue to evolve and change as the weather does. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Snake Inquiry

During Thinking and Learning time a student came up and asked for a box. We asked her why she wanted one and her response was “to make a snake habitat”. So Ms. Tompkins and K.B went on a hunt around the school for a box. We found one and she set off to make a snake habitat. She created the habitat and other students became excited to add snakes to her habitat. Many students made ‘blue headed poisonous snakes’ to put in the box. This began exciting conversations between the students sharing their prior knowledge and experience with snakes. 

D.D- where do they live?

D.K- why do they need a habitat?

K.F- I wonder why they move on their bellies

D.R- I wonder what snakes eat

S.J- some snakes have cages and some snakes don’t

V.A- how to snakes have babies?

D.D- I wonder if snakes eat people

E.K- I wonder if they are mommy snakes

E.M- do they have baby snakes?

S.J- I wonder which snakes are venomous and which are not

A.A- What does venomous mean?

S.J- if they bite you, you go to the doctor to get medicine

D.S- do snakes make a noise? Why?

A.L- I wonder why snakes don’t have hands

S.P- where is the snakes legs?

K.B- how do snakes get mice if they don't have legs or arms?

We set up a snake provocation to encouraged the students to ask more questions and think about how snakes live. 

Karl the snake then came for a visit in our classroom! It was an exciting day where the students were able to ask Mr. M questions about Karl and his life. 

Priceless reactions to Karl

D.D- how do you feed it?

Mr. M- snakes eat mice, you can buy them from the store in the freezer. 

E.M- if you want to hold him you need to warm up your hands

D.K- are his ears inside him? I expected it to be slimy

D.D- we’re hotblooded and they’re cold blooded

Z.H- the snake needs to be warm

E.M- if it’s too hot it can go in the cold water

P.D- he feels very soft

E.M- this is awesome
S.P- he feels soft and bumpy, he feels wet

D.K- he feels slimy

D.S- he likes me

Having Karl visit our classroom sparked even more wonders about snakes!

V.A- how does snakes want to eat?

M.W- how do they eat if they grab with their tail?

K.B- how can snakes eat under the dirt?

C.C- do snakes drink water?

S.J- if they find food and it’s alive, they go up to it and they squeeze it really hard and when they don’t breathe, they eat it

E.M- how does snakes digest their food?

A.Bh- how do snakes breathe under dirt?

S.P- how can the snakes pick up food and eat it?

A.B- they just slither and eat it

D.D- I wonder how snakes see under dirt

K.B- how do snakes breath in the water?

So many great wonders! We have begun investigating them and finding answers. An update on our learning about snakes will come soon!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Cold Weather Leads to Learning!

Last week we had some VERY cold weather. We read the Robert Munsch story '50 Below Zero' and wondered if it that was the temperature outside. Ms. Tompkins quickly ran outside and put a thermometer in the window and filled a bowl with snow. In partners, students were given a thermometer to explore. Then each student was able to use it in the snow.

It was interesting to watch the red in the thermometers drop in the snow and go up when we held it in our hands!

Students have shared many wonders about melting and freezing. We thought we would investigate the temperature difference between hot water, cold water and snow. Students made predictions about what would be coldest and then we conducted the experiment.

We left the bowls out (after cooling down the hot water) for the students to explore and practice using thermometers.

Try exploring temperature at home with your child. Maybe record your wonders or observations and have them bring them to class to share!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Cold, Mittens and Math!

With the extreme cold, students have been bringing their warmest mittens to school. We asked the students how we might find out what type of mittens we have. Z.H told us her mittens were pink so the students decided to sort the mittens by colour. Then students created labels for each pile. After we went through the colours, a few students still had mittens. During a discussion, D.K. suggested that we have a pile for mixed up colours. S.P suggested we use the label 'rainbow' for the pile.

We wanted to find out which pile had the most and which had the least. We decided to create a graph using the labels and mittens. 

We then counted each one to find out how many there were.

Once we counted each group and wrote the number, we had discussions about what the students noticed. Samples of the math talk students engaged in were "black has the most", "red has the smallest", "grey and red have the same" and "blue and rainbow are the same". This math talk then moved into 'Thinking and Learning Time' where some students chose to write about the graph and talk about what they saw.

*The cold weather has also made the students curious about temperature and snow, stay tuned for a post about an exploration with snow and thermometers we did this week!