Wind, Marble Runs, and Scientific Inquiry

“If a kid shows a spark in anything, we need to help stoke that fire. When a student reaches a hard concept in math or science, we should model perseverance by helping them break down the challenge into smaller steps.”

~ astronaut Scott Kelly in a recent Time Magazine article


Blowing in the Wind

During the week before April Break, Grade 1 continued studying the unit on Weather. We delved deep into the study of wind. We read fiction and non-fiction stories about the wind. We experimented with various wind tools, such as anemometers to capture wind speed, parachutes, pinwheels propellers. We researched information about pinwheels, windmills and wind turbines. Students shared with me that they have seen wind turbines close to the oil tank on Highway 93, and that they now understand how the wind turbines  generate electricity that helps our community. I read an article focused on high school students learning how to fix and install wind turbines on land and in the ocean at Martha’s Vineyard.

This week, first grade students will observe and record the phases of the moon with their families. They will then record their findings in their moon journal. I gave the journals to the students’ homeroom teachers prior to April Break so that they would be distributed to each student. We will begin reflecting on their sightings later on this semester during a period I like to call our Young Steam Inventors period.

Run, Marble, Run

Students were engaged with constructing a marble run where the marbles could run “super fast”. They were testing out different theories. One theory was that if they used a bunch of marbles at once, that the marbles would move faster than using just one or two. They also became really interested in how marbles are made. In case you’re also interested in how marbles are made, you can check out this video by the Discovery Channel and this question on Quora.
“What’s inside the marbles?” asked one of my students, Ritaj. Some of her classmates started to respond:

  • “I think it’s a feather?”
  • “I think there are flowers inside of the marbles.”
  • “I think there is plastic inside of the marbles.”
“What if break it open and find out? asked Ritaj. “What if we check on the computer and find out?” asked Hafsa. I helped the students use the internet to research their question. One of my students gave the following remark:  “We did some research and found out it’s called a cat eye and it’s made out of different colored glass inside of the marble.”

Safe Search for Kids

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