This week our days have been filled with salt marsh smells, mucky boots, and dances to demonstrate trophic levels! We began with an investigation into where living things receive their energy. After some hypothesizing and non-fiction reading, we learned about the different roles organisms can play in an ecosystem and broke into teams to embody those roles; Team Producer, Team Consumer, and Team Decomposer! With a little help from Anna, who played our sun, we passed a ball of energy around to show the way that energy flows between teams and cycles back around, all the while dancing our hearts out to represent our respective roles. Our new understanding of ecosystems gave us focus as we then traveled to Hoyts Point to find evidence of different producers and consumers in this new ecosystem we are trying to get to know. Even when they are covered in mud, this crew is always up for an adventure and a challenge. I couldn’t feel luckier to be learning and exploring with them!
By Emily Bell-Hoerth (Grades 3/4 teacher)
I enjoyed picking carrots at the farm this week and bringing one home for Moomoo the bunny. Everyone else brought two carrots home for them to eat or to give to their pets. We were working on ecosystems this week and writing in our green journals and finishing work about ecosystems. On the chalkboard there is a drawing of the pond ecosystem and on Thursday we noticed that there was a whale in the pond with a thought bubble that said, “Where am I?”. We drew some additions onto the whale like a narwhal horn. Johnson, the Field Director of Outdoor Classroom, added a top hat! We have to ask some people if they drew it! Maybe it was Linus or maybe one of the other teachers! We want the person who drew it to know that whales do not belong in a pond ecosystem.
* Mystery solved… it was Mr. Cowie from Bath Middle School, who was visiting with his students this week!
-Student – Grade 4
The fifth and sixth grade math curriculum started off this year with one brief moment of skill review before leaping into some intense (and exciting!) new material. The content hasn’t been easy, and we’ve found that it takes a certain amount of patience, persistence, and a daily dose of humor and positivity to rise to the challenge. Multiplying and dividing decimals and dealing with negative exponents requires precision and focus, or else small computational errors can easily arise. I’ve been impressed by students’ refinement of their problem-solving abilities as they find strategies and algorithms that are most comfortable for them. There has also been a willingness from the group to try different suggestions for ways to tackle problems, and students have discovered that this can lead to a new favorite method. Yesterday we went to the salt marsh with Outdoor Classroom Senior Outdoor Educator, Olivia, to test the temperature, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen levels of the water. The scientific tools we used required students to draw upon some of their recent math learning as they calculated the mean (average) of multiple temperature readings, worked with ranges, and dealt with decimals. The adept application of content and transfer of skills during this citizen science data collection project showed me that students have indeed grasped concepts in math and are ‘getting it’. We look forward to talking to Olivia more next week about how to interpret the data in relation to the overall health of our salt marsh.
By Kat Cassidy (Lead teacher / Grades 5/6 teacher)
Did you know that seaweed does not have roots, because it’s not a plant? It’s algae! The reason I know this is because our class is studying organisms from the salt marsh, including things like horseshoe crabs and Spartina patens (salt marsh hay). Someone is even studying the history of salt marsh haying. I’ve been studying seaweed, particularly Bladderwrack and Knotted Wrack. I had to gather little bits of information from a lot of books. One of my favorite facts is that seaweed uses a root-like structure called a holdfast to help it stick onto rocks. Finding details in books and on the internet about organisms that live in the salt marsh has been hard, but we’ve persevered. Right now we’re finishing gathering information and writing our first rough drafts.
P.S.- This was my first time going outside at school in the rain and one of my favorite parts was stomping in all the puddles and hoping that we wouldn’t get water in our boots… but we did.
-Student- Grade 5
What a wet and wild week we had here on the neck. Despite the rain we spirits remained high and we were able to achieve quite a bit of work this week. The students finished their slideshows introducing the five themes of geography with a focus on the United Kingdom. We also learned about the water cycle by imagining ourselves as a water molecule traveling throughout the cycle, discovering places where we pooled in reservoirs and making comparisons to the dynamic stops in the cycle. Next week we will be mapping the stone walls of Chewonki Neck and selecting wolf trees to do species accounts. We will also be using our forest detective skills to determine what the prior use of the land, now covered in forest, might have been.
By Trevor Slater (Grade 7 teacher)
This week we finished up our slideshows about the UK. We used a review process called PQS to refine our slideshows. The P section stands for praise and the Q section stands for questions. The final section is for suggestions to make the slide show better. After we reviewed the slideshows we changed the things we wanted to and showed the class our revised products. During the Wednesday community meeting work share we showed the other classes our slideshows. I think that I learned how to present my work in a aesthetically pleasing way and how to organize it better.
– Grade 7