Friday, April 26, 2013

Magnets, Making Friends, Long Division and Clouds

Even with taking the PSSAs (HOORAY!! WE'RE FINISHED!!), we have been doing many different things each day to keep us active and learning.

First, we did a review of magnets. After Miss Miller helped us remember all of the things we learned about magnets and their poles, we did an activity to show that opposite charges attract. Then we had a scavenger hunt to determine which objects were magnetic and what properties allow an object to be attracted to a magnet.

In math, we have been working very hard to learn about the concept of long division and the process behind solving problems. One nice day we took our long division outside and solved some problems on the walking path!

We have also had the chance to do two more Mystery Skypes. We Skyped with Mrs. Garyson's class in Virginia. They "taught" us how to do a Mystery Skype by sharing a video of their class doing one. It was very exciting to chat with them and find out that they were in Virginia since Mrs. Bair stopped the video before we knew where they were. We also Skyped with Mrs. Wells's class in Kansas. 

The last fun activity we shared was one led by Mrs. Towsen. We did some cloud observations and learned about the different types of clouds. To help us remember, Mrs. Towsen and Miss Miller taught us a song!

As you can see, even though we were taking tests the learning and fun didn't stop. We can't wait to have more fun the rest of the year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Most Nutritious Election

Over the last two weeks we've been working very hard to learn the basics of persuasive writing. Being a good persuasive writer means that you need to use facts to support your opinion, you can't just whine or beg people to think or do what you want them to.

Please take a few minutes to read through all of our election speeches, and then vote for your favorite fruit or veggie. Election results will be announced on Monday, May 6!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Mystery Skypes and Bright Lights!

This week we had the opportunity to do two more Mystery Skypes! Our first one was with Mrs. Grayson's class. We were very excited to do our session with them because we watched a video of their class to learn how to do our Mystery Skypes! Since Mrs. Bair stopped the video before the other team guessed, we didn't know where they were. We ended up learning that their class is in Virginia. They go to a private school so they wear uniforms, and their classroom doesn't have windows!! Our media team did a great job, and we'll have some pictures of this Skype up soon.

Then on Tuesday, we did a Skype with Mrs. Raie's class. This was their very first time Skyping, and we also had the change to help Mrs. Towsen's class do their first Skype, too! There were a lot of kids in the room so it was a little crazy, and this Mystery Skype ended with a surprise twist. They lived in Pennsylvania, too!! It was a lot of fun and they kind of tricked us.

Here are the pictures from that event!

Today we also had a lot of fun in science class. Yesterday we learned about all different kinds of energy, and today we focused specifically on electrical energy. Mrs. Bair, Mrs. Towsen and Miss Miller gave us a battery, some wires and a light bulb, and we had to make the lights turn on!

After our groups did that, we paired two groups today and got a challenge. First we had to use one battery to make two bulbs light. Then, we had to see what happened when we took one bulb out. For some of us the other bulb stayed lit, and for other groups the second light went out. We learned that we had all made series and parallel circuit. It was a lot of fun discovering the different ways to connect the lights, and now we understand why when one Christmas light goes out, they ALL go out!! :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

International Skype

As you've probably already read we did our first Mystery Skype, and we have several more coming up in the next few weeks. While these sessions usually involve classes in the United States, one of our Mystery Skypes will be with a class from a different country!

Our class realized that we couldn't have skyped with other classes at the beginning of the year because we didn't have enough background knowledge so we knew if we wanted to be successful at our International Mystery Skype, we needed to learn some more about the country we'd be Skyping to -- and that country is Canada!!

Luckily Mrs. Bair has a friend named Peter, and he was willing to Skype with us, teach us about Canada, and answer our questions! We learned a lot about Canada: it's provinces, how big it is, the climate, the industries, the animals that live there, their silly money... and we still have more questions to ask him! We know we are prepared for our Mystery Skype with our friends wherever they happen to live in Canada, and we're looking forward to learning even more about Canada from our new friends.

Check out the pictures of our Skype session!

Listening as Peter talks about the different provinces

Jordyn asking a great question about the industries in Canada

What kinds of landforms do you have?

Everything we learned so far

Curious kids with lots of questions

Friday, April 12, 2013

See the Northern Lights!!!!

Thanks to a large solar flare that occurred Thursday, on Saturday, April 13 people here in Central PA will have a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. Seeing the Northern Lights is something that's on my bucket list, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and we'll be able to see them.

From everything I'm reading, it sounds like the best viewing time will be at midnight on Saturday night, but there are places saying you could potentially see them from sunset until sunrise. These two pages have been the best resources I've found so far:

Accuweather Reports Dazzling Northern Lights
Accuweather's Astronomy Facebook Page

You can also check the Geophysical Institute's Official Forecast page, and this page includes live updates about where to see the Aurora Borealis right now. This will be especially helpful tomorrow if you're really interested in seeing them and want to check about when to go outside.

A quick google image search of Aurora Borealis will get you some pretty remarkable pictures. I'm not sure if the lights will be that brilliant here tomorrow evening, but I will be happy just to be able to say I got to see them. I hope some of my friends in the Bair's Den do, too!

Please leave a comment here or add your own blog post if you and your family go out and get to see the Northern Lights!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Busy, Busy Days!

We have had two very busy weeks in the Bair's Den (and out - hence the slow posts)! But we are back and have a lot to share with you.

First, an ecosystem update. Our mini-ecosystems are doing quite well; we still have three fish, 7 snails, and our plants thriving. Each team has something alive and having fun in its aquarium. No more of our fish succumbed to the ick which has us thinking that there must have been something about the white goldfish that made them more likely to get sick. One of Mrs. Towsen's white fish also died, but her other one is fine so this is still a mystery to us.

Our outside ecosystems are coming to life! We have several pairs of ducks and geese that have started living at our ponds, and our class got to see the Great Blue Heron land and take off. It is such a beautiful bird, and we all like to watch it land right outside of our window.

We've been working very hard to learn long division in math, to practice our reading skills, and to write campaign speeches for our favorite fruits and vegetables to learn about persuasive writing. Be on the lookout because YOU will be able to vote for the winner very soon!

Probably the most exciting thing in our classroom in the last two weeks was our very first Mystery Skype session. A Mystery Skype is when we use Skype to talk to another class in the United States. We don't know where they are, and they don't know where we are - we have to use clues to figure it out! Our first Mystery Skype class session was with a class in Illinois, which we correctly guessed after some great questions developed by our Researchers and Question Askers. Other jobs included Question Answerers, Recorders and our Media Team. The media team was responsible for taking pictures, tweeting, and creating a movie about our experience, and they did a fantastic job. Please sit back and enjoy the video of our first Mystery Skype!