Our grade 4 and 7 classes are collaborating this year in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. The students have been assembled into small combined teams where each takes up the different challenges. Our grade 7 students have taken up these leadership roles, and below is a blog post written by a grade 4 and 7 pair. They could earn up to 15 points for their team!
Energy Diet (Letter to the editor)
By: T and P
What are different types of energy sources? And which one is best for our environment?
Solar panels generate electricity from the sun. The old solar panels were made of silicon and now solar panels are made from cheaper crystals but do not work as well as silicon. Solar power is made when the suns light hits the solar panel, the electrons in the silicon get up and move instead of just jiggling in place to make heat.
In an Inquiry based environment, we get excited and enveloped in our questions and ideas. At Connect Charter we want to take these opportunities to incorporate Spelling into our explorations and develop skills into our practice. Together with the Grade 4 Humanities team, we identified a need to develop some ideas on how to approach Spelling. I gave the students a Spelling Questionnaire that would give me more information about how they felt about Spelling and what they thought about themselves as Spellers. From the information gathered, I came up with the first discussion question, “What is Spelling?” And, “If we made Spelling important, what would it look like?” This is what the students came up with.
Next, we discussed words that they found interesting or were curious about because of the way they sounded or simply by the way they looked or how they sounded. I encouraged them to talk to each other about words that they found difficult, words that they continuously spelled wrong, or words that they spelled wrong in their previous assignments. We decided that we could get the words from anywhere, as long as they give reasons why they chose them, it could be from their writing, reading, signs, television...anywhere. We came up with a list of words that answered these questions and began to explore them.
It was quite the experience partnering with Ms. Pereverzoff at the Connect Charter School, (formerly Calgary Charter School) to teach her seventh grade class in my first practicum as a Bridge to Teaching student from the Werklund School of Education. As an internationally trained teacher, I expected to find significant differences in Alberta classrooms and there was no surprise there, however, I have found that learning through inquiry is such an extreme deviation from my more traditional practice of teaching. For the first time in my practice, I was actively encouraging students to assume more responsibility for their learning and they were working to meet that expectation. I was stepping back and allowing them the opportunity to expand their knowledge by exploring the curriculum through their interests. Inquiry, from what I have experienced in five short weeks, is indeed an innovation in how we want our students to learn; ultimately as teachers our aim is to help students develop as independent, critical thinking citizens of society, inquiry not only initiates the process, it affords every student the opportunity to be independent and think critically by stressing the importance of the “Why” in whatever it is students are learning.
This term we offered students in grade 6 and 7 an Underwater ROV elective. In this elective students design, build and test an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV. ROVs are used for a variety of reasons, including marine biology research, military applications, underwater archeological exploration and more.
Students used PVC pipe, wires, 12 volt DC motors, batteries and other supplies to construct their ROV. Propellers were designed in Google Sketch Up and printed on our MakerBot 3D printer. In the end we found a propeller design online and printed several to provide students the best chance for success on testing day in the Mount Royal University pool.