Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wetlands, Conservation, and Pollution

This afternoon we had the opportunity to participate in a special presentation that taught us how easy it is for a watershed to become polluted. Mrs. Risser, one of our aides at Bainbridge Elementary, came to visit us at Bear Creek, and brought along a very cool model of the watershed of Elizabethtown. We were able to review that watersheds were all of the tributaries that flow into larger rivers and bodies of water. Here in Elizabethtown we are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

After reviewing watersheds, Mrs. Risser started talking about the different things that we do every day in our normal lives that can pollute a watershed. Did you know that if you put fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides on your yard, you could pollute our watershed? You have to be very careful to follow the instructions for using these chemicals because if you apply too much, they just sit on the ground. Then, the next time it rains they flow right across the ground and into the streams and creeks. Cutting down trees, farming, and building houses can also pollute our watershed because of erosion. If farmers and builders don't take care of the ground, large amounts of soil can wash into the creeks!

Now, it was one thing to HEAR about all of this, but Mrs. Risser used a really great model to help us SEE exactly what happens. Kids sprinkled cocoa and Kool-Aid on the model to represent soil and the different chemical. Then two of our friends sprayed it with a bunch of water to pretend it was a heavy rain storm. You should have seen the colors run right out into the streams, creeks, and river!! This model helped us understand what happens with runoff and pollution, and we got to see exactly why we have to be careful with our Earth. We really appreciate the way Mrs. Risser helped us understand this, and we hope you'll check out the pictures to see for yourself.

Mrs. Risser introduces us to the watershed model.

Did you know that there is only a very small part of the Earth that can actually be used for farming?

Mrs. Risser used an apple to show us the tiny part of the Earth that is left to grow our food.

Sprinkling Kool-Aid on the model to represent fertilizer.

Adding more Kool-Aid to represent herbicides and pesticides.

It's a storm!!!!

If you look in the blue part at the front of the model, you can really see how the colors have run off into the river. That's what happens when we pollute our watershed!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Wetlands Podcasts

Here are the rest of our wetlands podcasts!! We hope you learn even more from these!!!

Enjoy Team Turtle's podcast:

We hope you learn a lot from Team Thunder:

Here's what Team Fox has to say about the wetlands:

Finally, check out Team DJM's presentation:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wetlands Podcasts

Our class is very lucky that our school sits right in the middle of some beautiful wetlands. And over the course of the last month, we have been learning about what wetlands are, why wetlands are important, and how they are being destroyed. We hope you'll take a minute to listen to our podcasts and become more mindful about protecting the environment.

Enjoy this podcast from Team Lightning:

Listen to this podcast from Team Gummy Bear:

We hope you learn a lot from Team Snapper:

And enjoy this podcast from Team Cardinal:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Reading Homework

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the big deal really is about reading homework? Why do teachers encourage, and is it really that big of a deal if your child skips reading each night?

The fact is, yes, it does, and this graphic popped up via the website Upworthy that helps visualize exactly what a difference reading each night actual makes for your child. Now this graphic uses 20 minutes of reading each night as it's basis, instead of the 15 that we do, but I think you can get the general idea. Look at the learning that happens outside of school when your child reads each night:

By the end of 6th grade you can see that a child who reads each night experiences the learning that happens in 60 days of school. And the best part is that your child can be reading books they love or about topics they love! Remember that chapter books aren't the only thing you child can learn from as they are reading. Websites, magazines, newspapers - these are all great resources for your child to learn as they are reading. If you need more suggestions about topics, books or resources, please let me know!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Field Trip Update

Hello Families! Anybody else ready for spring??? I know I definitely am!

I wanted to give you an update on our field trip. As of right now (Wednesday evening) our field trip will still be held on Friday, January 24. Your child will need to wear comfortable shoes and dress warmly because we will be on our feet all day, and we will be walking approximately 2 blocks from the capitol building to the museum.

If there is a 2 hour delay on Friday, our field trip will be postponed until Friday, February 7. This will be an automatic decision, but we will try to post the information here, on Twitter, and on the Bear Creek website if the decision needs to be made.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the trip on Friday. Fingers crossed that we have a full day of school so we can go and enjoy our time in Harrisburg!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Holiday Fun

We had a busy month between parent teacher conferences and our holiday break! We all worked very hard to write about our lives as a water drop going through the water cycle, and you will see those pieces published on the blog very soon. We practiced our reading strategies and skills by learning about how they celebrate Christmas in the tropical climate of Hawaii, and we started to learn about the physical regions of Pennsylvania.

Please be on the lookout for our field trip permission slip which will be coming home on January 6! We'll be traveling to the state capitol and museum in Harrisburg on January 24, and we are very excited for the trip.

Our last day before break was filled with fun, food, and teamwork! Everybody enjoyed the delicious food we had for breakfast (a special thanks to Miss Conrad and Ms. Miller for flipping ALL of those pancakes!) and to all of the families who donated supplies for the morning. Please check out the fun we had in our slideshow below! You'll see us enjoying breakfast, stuffing Santa's belly full of jelly (aka balloons), playing pictionary and bingo, having a snowball toss, and participating in a snowman building contest and a Hershey kiss relay. It was definitely a fun way to celebrate the end of 2013!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Checks and Balances

Fourth grade students spend the second marking period learning about what makes Pennsylvania a unique part of the United States. An interesting fact about Pennsylvania is that the format of our state government was used as a framework for the new United States government.

Last week we learned that Pennsylvania's government has an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Our state government's executive branch is led by the governor and lieutenant governor, and the legislative branch is made up of the General Assembly. Like our federal Congress the General Assembly is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Our judicial branch also has a Supreme Court that interprets laws for the state, but our Supreme Court still has to follow the rulings of the United States Supreme Court.

The unique thing about the branches of our state (and federal) government is that they all have equal amounts of power. Each branch has unique jobs, and those jobs help them keep the other branches from having too much control over what happens in the government. Understanding how checks and balances works can be tricky so we did a little activity to help us understand. Students worked in groups of three, and each person had to hold one corner of a triangle to represent one branch of government. The groups had to balance a marble on the triangle, and while it seemed like it was going to be easy there were marbles bouncing all over the room! We quickly learned that even though each branch has it's own special jobs, it's not easy to work together on a tricky task.

Check out the slideshow below to see the pictures of us practicing our checks and balances!