Friday, October 19, 2012

Science Challenges

We have been working on science experiments for the past few weeks.  They are fun and challenging.  For example, we did a Gobstopper experiment.  Mrs. Sibberson got this idea from reading Mr. Keefer's blog.  When we do Science Challenges, we learn about creating good experiments to our questions. We try to make better predictions or hypothesis.  We take observations and write those down. We keep track of what we notice on paper. Some people make tables. Some people take videos. Some people take pictures.  We also talk about variables-what you have to keep the same in an experiment.

We want to share our last Science Challenge with you.  We each wrote our own question about Gobstoppers after we did a Gobstopper observation in school.  For the one at school, we put four Gobstoppers in a cup of water. We were in groups of 2 or 3 and we watched to see what happened. We had a table with four boxes to keep track of our thinking and observations.

So, last week, we each came up with our own question about Gobstoppers and we experimented at home.

Student 1:  My question was, "What would happen if I put Gobstoppers in hot water and salt?"  My prediction was that it would disintegrate faster than in regular water.  First I got a cup and put hot water in it. Then I added salt. Then I added the Gobstoppers. I kept a paper where I wrote words about what I noticed.

Student 2:  My question was, "What would happen if I used more candies in a warmer temperature?" but when I got home it was really cold out. So I decided to just use more candies. So my new question as, "What would happen if I used different kinds of candies in warm water?".  First I got out a glass of water. I filled it with cold water.  Then I put the Gobstoppers in. Then I put in a mint.  After that, I added a little bit of hot water.  When that happened, the colors that came off the candy went everywhere. After that, I added some PEZ. It didn't do much.  The big difference in my experiment from the first experiment, was that the color went everywhere in the water. In the first experiment, it just stayed on the bottom.  I used paper, a pencil and some colored pencils to draw my observations. I wrote notes about what happened.
Student 2's Observations

Student 3: My questions was, "What would ice do to the Gobstoppers?"  When I got home, I got out my Gobstoppers and I got some cold water.  Then I froze it with the Gobstoppers in it.  I checked on it every 5 minutes.  At 20 minutes, I took it out and saw that there were cracks in the Gobstoppers.  I took notes on what I saw in the freezer every five minutes.

Other kids in our class had awesome observations and photos.

One student used various liquids including water from the local swimming pool (with permission, of course!).

This is what Gobstoppers look like after they have been in Sierra Mist.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The One and Only Ivan: Conversations Around Big Questions

We are almost finished with the book The One and Only Ivan. As we get to the end, we are collecting questions that we think are big enough, that we will still be thinking about them once the book is over.  This is a list of questions we came up with today:

Why does Ivan say, "It's not as easy as it looks."
Why do Ivan and his friends think some humans are nice and some are not?
Why does Ivan change saying he is in a domain to saying he is in a cage?
Why did Ivan decide to keep his promise to Stella when it is really hard?
Why doesn't Ivan live in a jungle?
Why does Julie come to visit Ivan?
Why did they chain Ruby's feet in the circus?
Why do humans upset Bob (but Julia doesn't)?
Why does Ruby talk so much?
What do words have to do with the book?
How long was Ivan in the jungle?
Is Mack nice or not nice?
Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?

After we created the list, we got into groups and had conversations around one question. The question we talked about was the last one, "Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?"  We tried to stick with one question to build our thinking. Then we had a whole class conversation about the question.  After we shared and built our thinking, we each thought about the question again. Here are some of the things we said about the question:

Does Ivan want to go back to the jungle?

I think he doesn’t care because Ivan made a promise to Stella that he would take care of Ruby and take her to a safe place.  So if Ruby’s safe, that’s all he cares about.

I don’t think he wants to go back to the jungle because it would bring back bad memories.

He is just trying to do his best and he wants to stay because he’s with his family and he wants to think of the good things.

I think he might want to go to the zoo so he could be with Ruby and Bob. In the jungle he might get hurt and he knows that.

I think Ivan wants to go to the zoo because he can have more space than just a cage.

I think Ivan doesn’t want to go because he can see Ruby and Bob and he is not used to getting his own food.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because he made a promise to Stella to keep Ruby safe and now he’s calling his domain a cage because of Stella. She made him change his mind. Now he is seeing Mack with the claw thing, training and all that stuff. Now he doesn’t like it there.

He wants to go to a jungle because he wants to be free.

He wants to go to the zoo so he knows that he is not the only gorilla left of his kind.

I think it’s half and half because he doesn’t want to go to the jungle because all of his friends are at the mall. He would want to go because he’s free in a bigger space instead of caged up.

I think he wants to go to the zoo because he wants to stay with Ruby because he promised Stella he would protect Ruby and he doesn’t want to break that promise.

He wants to go to the zoo so he can be with Ruby.

He wants to go to a zoo because he wants to keep his promise to Stella.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because since Stella died, he doesn’t think he belongs there anymore.

I think he wants to go to the jungle because he’ll take Ruby with him and they’ll make friends there and protect Ruby.

I think Ivan is going to bring Ruby to the zoo and he’ll stay there with her and they’ll be treated the way they want to be.

I think he wants to go to the jungle but in some ways he doesn’t because if he goes, he will miss all of his friends.

I think Ivan wants to stay at the mall because if he goes to the jungle or the zoo, he won’t get to see his friends anymore.

He wants to stay in the cage because he’ll miss Ruby.

I think Ivan wants to go to a zoo to keep Ruby safe like he promised.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The One and Only Ivan-Our Reading Notebooks

During Read Aloud time, we have our notebooks open. Several times during our reading, Mrs. Sibberson stops to give us time to jot our thinking. When we were looking at other people's thinking about the book for Global Read Aloud, we saw this notebook from Mr. Hong's class and some of us wanted to try new things and columns in our notebooks. We thought we'd share some of our notebook work on our blog.
Student 1: I'm writing in two columns. One half is thoughts and predictions. The other is questions and answers.  It helps me understand and organize my journal. I have 2 questions that I have a prediction that might answer it.  The first one is, "How does Ivan talk to Stella?" The 2nd one is, "How does Ivan talk to Bob?"  The first prediction is they have cages, not glass separating them. The second prediction is about  the bat and baseball Mack gave Ivan and Ivan used the bat to make a hole in the corner of the glass part that lots of humans see Ivan. I think Bob went through that.

I think the epigraph is important.  "It is never too late to be what you might have been." I think it means you are _________ right now but you could be _________. Right now we are at the part where Stella has blood trickling down her leg and Stella backed Ruby into the cage.  I think Stella does this because #1 She had blood trickling down her leg. OR #2 We watched a book trailer that said friends are made and some are lost.  #3 Stella said old age is a good disguise so I think Stella is old.

Student 2: While Mrs. Sibberson is reading The One and Only Ivan, I write down in my journal if I have any questions.  I write questions in the questions column and if there are any answers to the questions, I write that down next to the question in the answer column.  If I find something important or interesting, I jot it down on the other page.  Sometimes I sketch something on that page so I know what they look like or just have an idea of what it looks like.  It helps me because I can just look back at my questions and answers and the other page/pages to remember what happened in the last couple of days.  Also, because I write all of the important parts, that sometimes leads me to my main question, "What does the epigraph mean?"  I chose that as my main question because it didn't make sense to me and I think the question is a question that will last a long time.  I think that the epigraph means that he will live out in the wild because the epigraph is, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."

Student 3: I am writing questions on one side and answers on the other.  I have answered one question and the question was, "How many keepers did Ivan have?"  The answer is 6. This helps me because I understand the book better when I ask questions. I understand that Ivan is sad because he is the only one in his cage. When I want to tell about the book, I go to the next free page and write down my thoughts. We are trying to figure out what the epigraph means.  The epigraph is, "It's never too late to be what you might have been?"  It goes through our head every time we read it. The epigraph helps us understand how the story is going as we try to figure it out.