February 2019

After learning about discrimination and segregation, I am proud to share an inspirational quote that naturally unfolded after our enlightening 3-4 discussions, "It's not us and them, it's WE!"

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We would like to thank our very special presenter, Garland Nelson, who taught us, “The human spirit when oppressed will always find a way to manifest.” We also spent some time highlighting pivotal points in African American history in recognition of Black History Month. We had a blast participating in Sankofa, from the Ghanaian tradition, as we learned from the past to successfully and inclusively live our futures.

 

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The 3-4s are brimming with excitement as they are delving into their very special Black History Month projects. The students were given the choice to participate in one of three Black History Month projects.

  

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First, we have an art project where students are learning more about famous African American artists and developing a further understanding of how people contribute to the awareness and understanding of their lives, and the lives of their communities, through art-making.

 

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Next, students could have chosen to read and write about African American Heroes, Scientists, Inventors, and Explorers, ultimately choosing one person to create an original movie trailer about, highlighting their accomplishments using iMovie.  

 

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Finally, students could have chosen to learn more about the history of Hip-Hop, how it spreads the word, bridges the gap, and represents the colors of our youth. Students are then asked to create an original song, music and lyrics, using Garageband, to inform and inspire our community about tolerance and acceptance.

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In Thinktank, the 3-4s are learning about chain reactions and the six simple machines by playing Mousetrap. We are preparing and getting ready to build our own chain reaction machines.

 

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Our long term Think Tank project is to create Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction Contraptions. As you know, we have spent some time learning about simple machines, compound machines, and energy transfer.

 

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Students are now planning and designing a contraption that accomplishes a very simple task in a really complicated way. I can’t wait to see what these engineers devise.

 

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We love our trips to Troy Public Library. Our next trip is this Wednesday, 3/6. I ask that students wear their purple Taylor School t-shirts. We will be back in time for a “regular” lunch. Please help to remind your child to bring back their book to return.

 

January 2019

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Our mechanical engineers have been busy investigating and exploring the six main simple machines in preparation for our next big Think Tank project, Rube Goldberg Chain Reaction Contraptions. Students will be asked to develop and invent a compound machine that accomplishes a task. Students are analyzing and investigating the simple machines used in Rube Goldberg’s chain reaction compound machines in Rube Goldberg's Simple Normal Humdrum School Day.

 

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Students explored ramps and inclined planes as ways of helping make the work easier. They experimented with spring scales and compared and contrasted different lifts and measured the amount of pull energy need to lift an object with and without the inclined plane.

 

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Students experimented with wheels and axles and explored how the size of the wheels and the slope of the ramp can greatly affect the speed and distance traveled.

 

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Students experimented with screws and wedges. They had lots of fun analyzing how to make work easier with various screws and nails with different shaped and sized “wedges”.

 

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Students experimented with different pulley systems, realizing pulleys are powerful simple machines. They can change the direction of a force, which can make it much easier for us to move something. Pulleys are also fun for sending secret messages. 

 

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Students experimented with levers and soon found out that a lever works by reducing the amount of force needed to move an object or lift a load. In this experiment, students realized that the closer the fulcrum — or the pivot point of the lever — is moved toward the load, the less effort is required to lift the load.

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It was a piece of cake for our creative figurative language specialists to present their understanding of the meaning of idioms through dramatic humor. It was a fun and interactive way to learn and experience how they’re used in our language to convey various ideas. If you were unable to attend Friday morning’s presentation or would like to share with family and friends, use the following links. Please note the videos’ security settings are “private” and can only be viewed by sharing the link.

Mr. Becker Gets the Ball Rolling

Worms Make My Skin Crawl

Rock-N-Roll Brainstorm

 

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We are off to the Age of exploration! We began our trip by learning about the reasons why someone would want or need to take the treacherous journey across the mysterious Atlantic Ocean that is known to have great sea monsters and storms that seem to come out of nowhere. We learned about the parts of the ship and the many duties involved in keeping the ship running in tip-top shape. The students enjoyed some hard tack, or as we call it ye ole’ ship’s biscuit, fresh out of the oven. We stored some away for a rainy day, let’s see how “delicious” it is in a month or so, so that students can get a real taste for life at sea.  

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The stars were important to our explorers as they used the constellations to navigate the seas. We learned how the explorers used the stars of Ursa Major, the big dipper, to find Polaris, the north star, which is part of Ursa Minor, or the little dipper, to find their way. We also learned that the north star in no longer the brightest star in our sky, it is Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major, or the “Big Dog.” The students had fun building their zodiac constellations and making constellation fortune tellers.

 

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