Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mummified Apples

Two weeks ago, in the midst of our Egypt study, we started an experiment to see which salt combination would best mummify an apple. 

Egyptians would cover a body with natron (like baking soda) for 40 days.  We learned that different priests would use different combinations of salts to soak the bodies.  So, we put it to the test.  We quartered an apple and set up 4 test cups:

Students worked through the scientific method to develop a hypothesis.  Then we hid the cups in a dark closet for about a week and a half. 

We unveiled our experiment and recorded our observations.  We found that the two pieces that were best preserved were the two that contained epsom salt.  Interesting. 

Since students fought over taking these apples home, I count this experiment as a success!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Community Schools

Want to know what a community school is all about?  
Check it out!

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Yesterday life handed me lemons.  Literally.  It was our school wide snack and my students begged to make lemonade.  How could I say no? So today I brought a pitcher and sugar so we could make our own fresh-squeezed lemonade.  It sure was tasty.  

I like to think that it is the moments that are not mapped out in your planning book, the moments that come up naturally from student inquiry and desire, that build community with your class.  Like with the lemonade.  By helping them make lemonade today, their ideas were validated.  They know that I hear them and that what they have to say and what they think matters.  

Last week, we took another moment out of our day to walk across the street to visit the horses.  Its nice to show them that our learning can come from anywhere, and that it is not confined to the walls of our classroom.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marshmallow Pyramids & TP Mummies

Our study of Ancient Egypt is proving to be so much fun.  The students are getting to explore and apply what they've learned in super-engaging ways. 

Here is the winning group in our marshmallow pyramid competition.  It is a lot harder than it looks, but they did a great job.  In this open-ended project students learned so much more than just how to build a pyramid.  They talked about structure, stability, building a strong foundation, and working well as a team.  In fact, these boys produced the best pyramid because of how well they worked together.

Groups also competed in a toilet paper mummy competition after we read about the process.  This group did the best job of applying the steps they researched.  Such great fun.

We will be checking in on our mummified apples soon, so stay tuned for the results.