In third grade science, students were asked why people add vinegar when they color eggs. After posing some interesting responses, students learned that the vinegar provides an acid, just as orange juice, lemon juice or even aspirin would. The acid works with the calcium carbonate of the egg shell to create more surface area to absorb the food coloring. We learned that to get the most vibrant eggs (without deteriorating the egg shell) we must find just the right mixture or pH level in a water and acid solution. Many beautiful, vibrant eggs were created in the process.
Did you know that it is possible to create a short play without actually writing anything down? Third graders are currently working on this exciting process in drama class. We recently chose a simple topic – friendship – and brainstormed ways in which we can be good friends. For example, if a classmate is feeling sad, how do we cheer them up? Or if there is a new student in school, how can we make him or her feel welcome? Students acted out these scenarios and had some great input, such as taking a friend out for ice cream. From there, students came up with scenes about specific activities they enjoy doing with friends. They acted these scenes out for the class and many of those scenes will become incorporated into our short play!
DROP EVERYTHING AND READ or D.E.A.R. for short, is a part of the day that our third grade students anxiously anticipate. First thing in the morning many ask “Are we going to do D.E.A.R today?” Students have even been overheard recommending books to one another in preparation as well. During D.E.A.R, students are actively engaged in reading a pleasure book of their choice. No written assignments or other activities are assigned but frequently at the completion of D.E.A.R., students independently discuss their readings (unknowingly summarizing, predicting and discussing author’s purpose). As we know, reading is vital to developing independent, critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Through D.E.A.R, we are motivating readers by providing modeling, giving them free choice of books and social opportunities based on reading. So, if you hear yelps of delight coming from the third grade room, the teacher may have just said, “DROP EVERYTHING AND READ!”
Third graders have been exploring ancient history during social studies class this trimester. Recently, they found themselves in Ancient Egypt learning about pharaohs, pyramids and of course mummies! After learning about the process of mummification, and designing their own Egyptian sarcophagus, third graders became experts on mummification. They used online interactive tools to help prepare their very own mummy for his afterlife. They can’t wait to see where we end up next!
How much do you know about the past presidents of the United States? Our third graders have spent several weeks researching, discussing and writing about a former U.S. president of their choosing. Students discovered many interesting details about where these presidents grew up, their interests and hobbies, struggles they faced and achievements accomplished. In the process, students gained an insight to some major events in American history including the the Declaration of Independence, Sherman Antitrust Act, the Civil War and the famous JFK quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” On presentation day, our third graders were proud to read their reports to the second grade class.
What do you do on a cold January day? Grab a pair of binoculars and head outdoors! As an extension to our classroom, third graders took the short ride to the Audubon Center in Fairfield to identify and investigate birds that winter in Connecticut. Before heading out, we learned how to identify birds by field markings and were instructed on how to use a field guide and binoculars. Students discovered adaptations and behaviors that allow these birds to survive the very cold Connecticut winters. While outdoors on the extensive hiking trails, students quietly listened to the wind blow through the trees and waited to identify bird calls and sightings. Soon we spotted a red tailed hawk, black capped chickadee, and a bright red northern cardinal, to name a few. Once back inside, students were excited to interact with an owl and a hawk who live at the Audubon due to injuries from human interaction. Students discovered how human development can cause harm to these creatures. It was a great winter day outdoors at the Audubon.