Summer Math and Reading Opportunities
Dear Parents of EY 4th and 5th graders,
Summer is a great time to shift gears to other activities, spend more time with family, and recharge for the return to school in the fall. Research shows, however, that student achievement in reading and math can decline by one-month’s worth of school learning or more over the summer.
Fortunately for this year’s 4th and 5th graders, they will have access over the summer to reading and math online programs that they have used during the school year. The programs available online are:
Kids A-Z (also known as Raz Kids)
Zearn (skills and concepts- this will be set to fractions this summer)
Xtramath (math fact fluency)
If possible, we encourage you to have your child access these programs over the summer to keep their reading and math skills fresh. This will help them start their 5th or 6th grade year with confidence.
Thank you. Have a great summer!
Our fifth graders have been reading portions of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this year. This unit begins with a review of Shakespeare’s life, and it emphasizes how his plays were popular and written for everyone. Through some close reading, discussion, and a variety of language games, students have become more comfortable with Shakespeare’s language and performing. The culmination of the unit was to act out one of the scenes in the play.
Yesterday we visited Milo McIver Park in Estacada. Earlier this year students learned about ecosystems, and they had the opportunity to learn from Ranger Mark Shaw about the common animals that inhabit the McIver Park area. We also toured the fish hatchery there as well. It was great to learn how a fish hatchery operates, and all the math applications that are needed to make it all run smoothly.
Mark Weislogel of PSU made a follow-up visit to our school today. He showed the students the videos made of each group’s experiment in the Dryden Drop Tower (posted here–most in slow motion) and helped them to figure out the science behind what they observed. He also reminded them that experiments that appear to be “duds” still teach us important things. What an amazing experience Mark has provided for our students!
You can see many of the drop tower project videos and more on Mrs. Reed’s Teacher Facebook Page!
During the month of May, our students have engaged deeply in their creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking while working with Lego Robotics. Students have collected and analyzed data and have worked hard on engineering design. Late last month our students participated in the “Can Do” Challenge, a competition where robots are programmed with a light sensor to knock 5 cans out of a ring in 3 minutes or less. This year we saw the most innovative designs ever, and we had many record setting performances. We were proud of all of our students who took innovation to new levels.
Our students were tasked with using their engineering design skills to create a planetary lander using straws, index cards, and mini marshmallows to keep two marshmallow “aliens” inside a cup as it is dropped from heights of one and two feet. Students applied concepts of shock-absorption, drag, and stability to create and test designs.
Our 4th and 5th graders continued their learning about the engineering design process, and using the engineering design steps to meet the following challenge: “Design a parachute to be packed in a spacecraft and used in an atmosphere that is thinner than Earth’s.” They tested variables involving suspension line length, canopy size, and canopy material, and how it all worked with creating enough drag to meet the constraints and criteria given.
Our students engaged in some great STEM experiences yesterday at Portland State University. Engineering professor Mark Weislogel led our students in desiging anti-gravity experiments that were later placed in the Dryden Drop Tower. The experiments were videotaped during the drop and will be shown to our students before the end of the year in slow motion for analysis. Students also designed their own parachutes using what they learned from a STEAM unit earlier this year. They dropped their parachutes from 5 stories, with accuracy and the longest flight being the goals to reach.
Our wind energy unit was wonderful. Thanks to a grant from the VWR Foundation, we were able to purchase 20 Vernier Wind Energy Kits. Students learned about and explored circuits, collected/analyzed voltage and power data, designed turbine blades, experimented variables such as blade pitch, blade quantity, fan speed, resistance, and turbine distance.