The Curriculum in Action:
Students Write About Time: At the Lake and Park School we like to pay attention to the rhythm of the changing seasons of the year...
|Primary students created timelines of the history of time
At the Lake and Park School we like to pay attention to the rhythm of the changing seasons of the year. From the fall harvest of our garden to that first warm spring day when we might head down to the beach or just bring bubbles out to the patio, the way we spend our time acknowledges this cycle. At the same time we are committed to providing the opportunity for everyone to see and think about things in different ways. The holiday season is a time of rich potential. Some years we study traditions that come from different winter holidays. This year we decided on a focus that would highlight mathematical thinking: the concept of time. As one calendar year ended and another began we wondered how people throughout history have kept track of the transitions. Classes thought of different ways to measure time, did a lot of work understanding what a circle is, and the various ways to determine a circle’s circumference. The younger students played with geometry, and counted by fives, as some children learned to tell time with a clock. We had hoped that the topic would give rise to some philosophical pondering, but the richness and depth of the conversations that came up again and again surpassed our expectations. This led to some wonderful story writing and poetry, including ideas from some of the older children that delve into logic. Please enjoy the student writing which follows.
The study began with an investigation of circles using the whole body and many different materials.
Beginning Room students used quiet time to explore the nature of circles.
Classes explored Deep Time with visiting scientist Mary Fisher through our collaboration with NCSE Teach.
|Each single change in the DNA chain represents about 5 million years.|
|Revisiting what we learned about whales in a new context.|
|Rich debate and discussion accompanied the challenge of creating
an evolutionary tree of mammals.
didn’t know where he was, and still, he could barely survive. One day, while
traveling on the salty, night-blue water on his raft, he saw something
disappear from the corner of his eye. When he saw it, he rapidly paddled over.
He soon realized it was actually a raft. He looked around and said, no sign of
life. And went on.
was a time machine! The time machine was solid gold, and looked like a
helicopter. There were hourglasses for rockets and computers hooked up to the
hourglasses. He got in and pressed”100,000,000,000,000,000,000.”
He was in the same place, but in a different time. He noticed that part of the
raft broke off! His raft wasn’t there.
heard voices. Who could be there?
He got out. He rushed over to a building and looked inside. He saw millions of
time machines. He got in one and realized he didn’t know what time he was from.
was name was named Charlotte. Charlotte’s friend was name Cry. Cry’s friend was
named “friend”. The girls lived in a tall forest of tall, tall trees.
The girls lived with a bear named “Happy”. One day the bear was out
of the cave. The girls were still in the cave. The time machine blasted off.
“Boom, boom, boom”. The fire went out of the rocket. The bear
realized the button on the rocket ship made the machine take off. The girls ran
after the rocket. The girls got on. The girls turned off the rocket. They
landed. The bear was safe. They lived happily ever after.
twin sister named Harper. They wanted to build a time machine. One day they
went into the woods. In the woods they had a secret hideout. They had a friend
named Keira. There was a telescope in their treehouse and it beeped. That meant
something was nearby. The beep was caused by a golden machine that was close.
It was a time machine. But before they went inside the time machine, the girls’
charm necklaces lit up. Then Isabella said, “wait”. Then the
necklaces made a map. Inside the lockets were pieces of maps that all fit
together. The map said, “Go to the time machine, pull the lever and push
the button.” So the girls did. They decided to go to the animal time when
the animals died. When they got there, the animals were dying. The found out
that other people were killing the animals. They helped by telling the people
to stop hurting the animals. When they got home to their time they did science
experiments to figure out when and why the people started to hurt the animals,
so that they could prevent the people from starting to hurt the animals.
toast. His name was “Toast”. He was on a boat and on the way back to
his island when he saw a time machine that was so strange. It was under the
sea. He was fishing, so he swam down to it. Then for some reason, he realized
he could breathe under water. He entered the time machine and traveled to the
year “12”. Then he traveled to 100,100. He was amazed. There were
flying cars and iPad were really cheap. He went straight into a shop. The
shop-keeper said, “Hello”. Anyways, I’ve always wanted to build a
time machine. Could you help me? Yes, said Toast. I am from the past. So that
means you could help me? Yes, said Toast. They worked night and day through the
winter and spring and after 100 years they finally finished their time machine.
little house to go get salt from the black water lake for his poor family. As he walked he saw something coming from the
woods that was very shiny. Then Angus
ran back to his house to tell his parents.
But when Angus told them it was shining like gold they didn’t believe
him. So the next day when Angus went to
get salt he saw it shining even brighter than before. So he went to check it out. When he got close enough to it he saw that it
was a time machine. But he didn’t know how to use it.
but in Roman times. Angus looked
around. He saw lots of people gathering
salt fr4om the lake. Then he remembered his family. So he went and got a bucket of salt and a worker
caught him stealing it. So he had to
make a run for it. When Angus knew he’d
lost him he stopped. But he had stopped
in a deep lush forest and forgot about the time machine. After a few minutes he realized that the
forest he was in was the forest where the time machine was. When he found the time machine he set it back
to when he lived and brought the salt back with him. He told his parents all about the trip but
they didn’t believe him.
saw something shiny in the distance.
When he got close enough to get a good look at it he saw it was
gold. He picked up as much as he could
carry. Then he headed straight to the
them to the time machine and they believed him.
So his whole family could travel through time anytime and anywhere they
|A drawing made to show the working parts inside a mechanical watch.|
Students explored the tools and inner workings of clocks under the guidance of a watch maker.
|Investigation during the clock take apart activity.|
After spending time taking apart various clocks and watches students had a real interest in meeting a professional watch maker.
Intermediate Students try to imagine life without time…
exist. Everything develops over time,
some examples are the earth, and the sun.
Time is everything. Also, people would not exist. Plants and animals
would not exist either.
it’s 12:00, it must be lunch time”, or “see you at noon”. We wouldn’t know when school started or
ended. But I do think that if we didn’t
have time we would have another way of recording things.
wouldn’t be able to evolve and change.
There wouldn’t be birds, or monkeys, or even dinosaurs, there would be,
well…nothing. For example, a seed needs
time to grow and become strong but without time it won’t become a tree. Same with animals, they need time to evolve,
change and be created too. Therefore,
there is nothing. Our universe can’t even start without time.
time, clocks wouldn’t even work. Then the
waves wouldn’t fly up. Then planes would
stop midair and pilots would be stuck because with no time how would the broken
glass MOVE through space without time?
howling wind blowing one minute would then stop so suddenly, slowly howling.
Then the bunnies stop hopping, the foxes stop walking and all animals would
stop moving and then all together……
The earth would stop rotating and it would be night or day forever on a
lifeless planet, full as it used to be but now the people and animals are stuck
forever in unbreakable ice.
We could not live without it. Time is space so if there is no time,
The Science of Weather: The children at Lake and Park spent the month of December engaged in careful and systematic observation of the weather...
|Windsocks in the Upper Primary Classroom.|
The children at Lake and Park spent the month of December engaged in careful and systematic observation of the weather. Weather affects us all. It informs what clothes we wear to school, if we bring boots or not, or even what games we play
at the park.
In the summer of 2014 I applied for a grant through the NOAA
Climate Stewards Education Program. I had begun working with the Climate Stewards the year before, participating in monthly Webinars with national and international scientists, and monthly
regional meetings to discuss science and climate education with other teachers.
On January 13, 2014 Peg
Steffen, of the National Ocean Service, presented a talk titled “Misconceptions
and Conceptual Change”. Prompted by recent research on student misconceptions as well as the desire to improve science education in the United States she informed us that. “A new study finds that what’s especially critical to improved science learning is that teachers also know the common
misconceptions students have.”
and Park teachers work collaboratively to provide relevant and accurate thematic studies which address both student questions and their scientific interests. Common misconceptions, according to Stephen include:
• That weather and climate are the same
• That the sun goes around the earth
misconceptions. The Beginning Class moved into a study of Space inspired by the Native American
legend, “ Her Seven Brothers”, retold and illustrated by Paul Goble. The students learned about major star constellations, the planets in the earth’s solar system, and the important role the sun plays. Through poetry, music and dance the children acted out the planets spinning in the solar system, orbiting around the sun. As each child in turn played the role of the sun, they stood firmly fixed in one position as other children went spinning around them.
|Students gathered weather data daily.|
The Primary, Upper Primary and Intermediate Classes began keeping weather observation charts on December 1. The goal was to have students record the daily temperature over a period of weeks and then graph the data alongside data provided by the National Weather records that show daily averages for the same period of time. This task was a concrete way to engage students in understanding the difference between weather and climate. Along the way many other topics and interests were discussed and discovered. Every class read many books on related weather topics, including Stars beneath Your Bed: the Surprising Story of Dust, by April Sayre, and Weather and
Climate: How Weather Works, by Robin Birch.
The hydrologic cycle, or water cycle, was discussed and illustrated throughout the grades. Many students played a water molecule game to experience the various forms water takes and to understand that water cycles through the planet in many different ways.
the far northern regions home.
Students at all levels worked to collect data and then graph that data and analize it in a meaningful way.
The Intermediate Class worked extensively with data during December; both weather data collection and graphing, as well as tracking and comparing the varried journeys different water molecules made through the water cycle. The complexity of the questions being asked increased throughout the month. (Further research and investigation into what makes wind and how clouds change shape will be included in ongoing studies.) The Intermediate Class looked at a graph of the average temperature in the US over the last one hundred years, revealing that a warming trend is occurring over extended periods of time. Students worked together to explain the role the tilt of the axis plays on earth’s changing seasons and we acknowledged the approaching winter solstice.
|Students worked to understand various components of the weather
station through drawing.
During the last week of class before winter break, students were introduced to the school’s new weather station. Having collected data using thermometers and sensory observations students were excited to figure out what data each component of the weather station was designed to collect. Everyone agreed collecting data in January was going to be much easier with our new equipment. Students in the Upper Primary Class and the Intermediate Class will be visiting the NOAA National Weather Station in Seattle in January to learn from the scientists working there about weather data collection, forecasting and other careers in related scientific fields.
The three major misconceptions identified by Peg Steffen were addressed in various ways throughout the classes at Lake and Park, all during the month of December. Because each of these concepts is complex, students’ understandings will continue to shift in and out of focus and grow in clarity as children and knowledge both develop. The confidence a child has in his/her own ability to think and reason scientifically is established through the kinds of activities and discussions that we engaged in so actively this month. Such activities play a key role in bringing clarity to
complex realities. As Chloe said after she raised her hand to share an explanation with her class of why it is colder and darker in the northern hemisphere in December, “I know I know this!” and she did.