Thursday, 24 October 2013

Our First Outdoor Exploration!

We recently went on our first outdoor exploration! We ventured out to a beautiful space at the back of the school that marveled the students with its abundance and variety of natural artifacts. The students were given clipboards, paper, and pencils which allowed them to document what they saw, thought, and wondered!

Once back in the classroom, the students shared their experience and documentation with each other. During our discussion, we noticed that many students wondered why the leaves change colour? So we asked them what they thought...

"I think the leaves change colour because it gets warmer than colder."  G. B.

"Maybe the wing blows the leaves of the one coloured tree and they land on another tree and change colour to that tree."  C. D.

"I think there's chemicals on the leaves and that makes them change colour.  In the fall the chemicals get washed off by the wind."  A. P.

"Maybe god has a magic spell that makes the leaves change colour."  G. M.

"I think they are not getting enough sun.  the sun doesn't come out as much in the fall.  The sun gives the tree food."  E. S.

"I think when the sun shines down the leaves gets blown by the wind."  H. S.

"Someone comes and paints the leaves."  R. H.

"I think the veins in the leaves have chemicals in them and when it gets cold, the chemicals melt and change colours."  B. S.

"There's special seeds in the leaves that makes them change colour. Then they disappear."  W. E.

"I think the leaves change colour in the wind because they're moving in the wind."  K. W.

"The sun helps them."  P. I.

Throughout the week, the students' interest and fascination with leaves grew even more. They were bringing leaves they found outside into the classroom to show their peers and to observe them more closely. This led to a few investigations.  Ms. Powell laminated some of the leaves that were brought in which were then placed at the light table for further observation of colour, shape and vein structure.  

Investigating colour mixing using red, blue, and yellow paint allowed students to create the colour of the leaf they chose to paint. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Our Rain and Cloud Inquiry!

Our inquiry all started when B. S. brought in a root from a plant he found in the playground.  The root led us to have a big discussion about whether or not the clouds would ever run out of rain that is needed for plants to grow?  We also wondered how the water actually gets into clouds?  We had many theories and hypotheses!

"If the water is splashed, it bounces back up to the clouds." A. P.

"When we splash the water, it goes up into the clouds and starts raining." K. W.

"I had a sprinkler at home and water was going into the sky." R. W.

"The water from the lake rises into the clouds and then when the clouds get to heaven the drops will come down as rain." A. M.

"The water from the lake turns into air and rises to the clouds." G. B.

"The clouds are making it rain.  The water is in the clouds and they keep making it over and over again."
C. M.

"When the clouds are dark, it's about to rain." O. S.

"God has a wand and he makes it rain.  He sends down rain for the grass and flowers to grow." G. M.

We had many ideas about how the water got into the clouds, but we wanted to create an experiment to help guide us with our theories.

"We could dig a hole and fill it with water, put signs around it and come back in the afternoon to see if the water rises to the clouds!" B. S.

"If we don't use a bucket, the water will sink to the ground." M. P.

"If the bucket water is gone, it means it rised into the clouds." A. M.

"How will we know if the water went up into the clouds?" Mrs. Ralph

"Draw a line on the jar so we know where the water started." A. P.

We voted to do our experiment in Sydney's Playground.  But because we share the playground with others, the students decided to make some signs to protect our experiment from being touched.  In the end we had to move our experiment, but it was a great attempt!

When we got to the playground, we searched for the perfect spot.  We then dug a hole in the mud and poured some water into it to see what would happen.  We noticed that the water sunk into the ground. Having noticed what happened, many students explained that the plants and earth drank it up!

Next we took a jar and put some water into it.  The students thought that since the jar had no holes, the water wouldn't be able to sink into the ground.  We measured the water level with a ruler.  On our first day, we recorded the water level at 6.  The students decided that we should come out once a day and measure the water level in the jar to see what was happening to the water.

After 10 days of checking our experiment and recording our daily findings, we noticed a pattern forming!

"When it rains, the water goes up in the jar, and when it's sunny, the water goes down!"
E. H.

"When the water turns into vapour, then it rises and makes a cloud.  Then when the cloud gets too heavy, it turns into water and rains." R. W.

"Vapour is like air but harder.  When the water rises, it goes into the clouds and then the clouds get heavy and then it rains." E. S.

To test what we learned, we performed an experiment in class.  We put some water in a kettle and plugged it in so that the water would get hot.  As we waited for the water to get hot, Mrs. Ralph held a glass jar a bit away from the opening to the kettle.  Once the water became hot, we noticed the water changing to vapour and rising!  As the vapour went into our cool jar, water droplets started to form in the glass jar which resembled rain!

"Do all clouds make it rain?" D. S.

This wonder question got us thinking!  We went on investigating various clouds during our exploration walk, as well as reading multiple books about clouds.  We learned that big puffy dark clouds are rain makers, called Nimbus clouds.  We also saw other clouds! Ones that looked like lines (Cirrus), wisps (Stratus), and cotton ball or marshmallows (Cumulus)!

Our interest in clouds evolved into painting creations using water colours and vivid images from books, that inspired us further.

One day, Mrs. Ralph and Ms. Powell pulled out some chicken wire and various fabrics and beads and asked the students to think about what they could create as a group out of these materials to decorate our classroom?

"Put ribbons on it so it looks like rain!" K. W.

"We can make a cloud!" H. S.

"Beautiful stuff.  Make some cloud things, a rain cloud!" W. E.

"Paint raindrops!" C. M.

"We can make flying birds!" G. B.

"Make a rainbow or lightening cloud!" E. E.

"We can make a sun to go with the clouds!" M. P.

"We can hang it with wire so we can move it." A. P.

"Make zig zag raindrops hanging from it." A. M.

Our final display!!!

*Also initially created by Jocelyn Schmidt and Heidi Theis (