This week in science we investigated how a natural indicator can be extracted from plants such as purple cabbage and how this can be used to identify acids and alkalis. We learnt that low pH is acid and high pH is alkaline whilst pH7 is neutral. Using pre-prepared litmus paper and the indicator solution that we made, we tested a variety of household chemicals as well as water and sprite. These substances produced a variety of different colours on the pH scale.
Our maths lessons this week focused on measurement of length, perimeter and area. We used the centimetres rule and meter tape to measure the perimeter of the car park, the perimeter of the classroom and the area of classroom object. Our calculations required us to convert centimetres into meters. We multiplied numbers and recorded the workings out on a data sheet.
In science we have we have been investigating the human digestive system. Using a knitted replica (almost to scale) of the digestive system. We learnt about the basic anatomy of the gut and the functions of its parts. During the activity we mimicked the digestive system from wheetabix, banana and coffee to producing a poo, watching food being broken down into small, useful molecules to be used by the body on the way.
This week in science we have been thinking about – Why do trees drop their leaves before winter and why do they change colour? We found out that leaves are coloured by molecules called pigments and the pigment that causes the leaves to be green is chlorophyll. For the first experiment we used spinach and alcohol then we used a green sweet and water – we waited a while – then saw the (green) colour leaving the sweet. We went on to do a chromatography experiment using felt tips and marker pens to see the separation of colours. We recorded our results on paper.
This week we have been making our own ice creams to serve to our guests at the end of term show. Using double cream, icing sugar and fruit is a quick and effective recipe, and who doesn’t love using an electric whisk! The children chose the fruits they wished to use: raspberries, mango and lemon. We also planned how to make vegan versions so everybody can enjoy an ice-cream.
Everyone has finished sewing their individual photo timelines at last – it’s required a huge effort but provided opportunities for fine motor practice and extended periods of concentration and calm. Well done everyone! The timelines prompted joyful and reflective comments from children such as “I can see my history” and “I see myself in time”.
To link with the anniversary of the NASA Moon landings we were fortunate to be able to borrow a rocket launcher from a parent who is a secondary science teacher – we practised so many times that we eventually lost the rocket (sorry Miss!) but then we each made our own and tested them too!
This is my final blog entry as I leave Skylarks Montessori Primary project for new ventures in Montessori education. Thank you for reading and stay curious!
Preparations have been underway to create props and costumes for the end of term show! It’s all secret for now but perhaps the costume gives away the clue – it’s a Dr Seuss story which the children have chosen after testing a selection of his short stories.
Working on the structure of the show has involved the children in making decisions about who will play which character, how they will move across the performance area, which dialogue they will speak, and other noises and props will be needed to support telling the story.
In mathematics we continue to work on division using the Golden Beads, and in Science our soil studies lead us to find out more about the structure of the Earth and what lies beneath the soil. We’ve enjoyed this wonderful book, “What’s Under The Bed” by Mick Manning.
Working with the wonderful Montessori Golden Beads we have explored division further this week – both in groups using columns, and individually for more advanced mathematicians who can work alone. The principle remains the same – using concrete hands-on beads to visualise the division operation. The coloured number tiles reflect the physical beads, the beads are placed on the mat in three columns which elegantly reinforce the hierarchy of unit-ten-hundred and lead the child to the correct answer step by step so they do not muddle the numerals. Best of all the child can work independently and correct their work by double-checking their calculation.
We have moved onto the final element of the biome in science – the soil. Some children brought soil from their own gardens and we used it in the shake test to see the different layers settle and emerge, and we also tested the pH using litmus paper.
Fortunately this topic coincided with International Mud Day “celebrating our connection to each other and to nature through the earth”. SO of course we had a delightful mud kitchen with potions, herb soups, and dollops of chocolate ice-cream creations! We also discussed clay and made our own coasters or bowls using clay and pebbles…
Continued interest in the ocean zones led us to studying the animals who live at various depths. We spent time learning basic division by dividing objects (raisins) into equal groups – and gobbling them up each time! One green level reading strip prompted a spontaneous experiment using cornflour and water to make sticky gloop…
We also spent time learning about emergencies and how to call for help using 999, and the children were keen to practice putting each other (and the teacher!) into the recovery position. First Aid is such a universal skill and even small children are capable of being competent in an emergency.
Finally we’d like to wish a Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there with balloon-nose character cards, ranging from vampires to goblins to cheeky clowns …
This week we learned about the Sun – as the source of energy in our biome and in the our galaxy. We caught solar energy using our solar powered fairy lights jar, and linked this to fennel leaves from the herb garden which are also produced from solar energy. Using a candle to represent the Sun as a source of heat and light, we discussed the relative size of our tiny planet to the immense Sun. One million Earths could fit inside the Sun… We painted a huge diagram showing the different parts of the Sun, such as the core, the chromosphere, the photosphere and the corona:
In Mathematics we began working on the concept of division, or as one child described it “when you share things out”. On Friday to celebrate World Ocean Day we decorated a large painting of the four zones in the ocean and the children shared their considerable knowledge of the animals who inhabit each zone.
Following on from sundials, this week we drew around our shadows, developing the concept of shadow length changing with the time of day and position of the sun. We discussed other ways of marking time, such as in music – the children were fascinated by an antique metronome, how we could adjust the tempo, how the clockwork mechanism was clearly visible and the slightly uneven tick-tock!
Working on concepts of sequence and order included tropical fruit twister, rearranging words to make a sentence, building huge numbers using the Montessori golden beads and playing clock lotto to reinforce ideas about time.
Our study in mathematics is producing competent clock readers! Using our round table as a giant games board the children enjoy chasing each other’s counter around the clock face. This reinforces the groups of 5 minutes in between each hour, and helps support counting in multiples of five too. We have explored telling the time in other ways: by using a candle by making our own candle clocks, and on sunny days by measuring the sun’s passage across the sky. The children decorated and built their own simple sundial. “Why has the shadow moved?” asked a 5 year old as he returned to observe his sundial… Brilliant question!
This week we returned to the Waseca Backyard Biome mat to study the aspect of energy in our biome. We act out the story of energy passing between actors in the biome. It is similar to reciting a rhymical poem like ‘The house that Jack built’. Then, using glittery arrows the children were able to show how energy passed from the sun to a plant, from a plant to an animal etc.
Friday was World Baking Day – of course we baked cakes! The children designed, wrote the ingredients list and produced their own cake to take home and share. Yum…