Natural Science

Creatures that live in the soil

The Grade 5’s spent a busy and productive 3 days during their Integrated Learning Task this week. Working in pairs, they presented the research they had done last week, firstly as a visual poster and secondly in the form of an oral presentation.img_6117img_6109Summarising information and putting it into their own words, is a skill they are still developing. They were encouraged to avoid plagiarism and to acknowledge their sources. Some very attractive and interesting posters were produced, while sticking to the deadlines set.                                                                                                                              img_6115Well done Grade 5’s! I think we all learnt a lot from each other!img_6129img_6125img_6131img_6120img_6122img_6113

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Soil gives life!

Part of our soil investigation was taking a closer look at what is happening underground. Here are a few of the children’s interpretations of how they see life in our soil.

 

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Picture drawn by Joley

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Picture drawn by Caitlin

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Picture drawn by Kate

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Exploring Fynbos

We had the privilege of visiting Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens this week. The children learnt all about the four main types of fynbos that we find in the Western Cape, they heard about the history of Kirstenbosch and about the rocks and soil that we find on and around Table Mountain. Walking across the Boomslang bridge was a highlight for most, and for a few it was an opportunity to conquer their fear of heights! And while we’re on the topic of “boom”, everyone had a chance to show off their tree-climbing skills. Of course there was also time for a picnic and rolling down the hill. As it was a very hot day, we were relieved to be able to cool off in the little river.

We all had a wonderful day in the outdoors, enjoyed spending time together as friends and gained a new appreciation for this beautiful spot in the world that we call home!

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Birthdays, Solar Ovens and Roald Dahl cheers.

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Cycle tests, assessments and the conveying of the last few pearls of wisdom from teachers, have been the order of the day in our classrooms for the past few weeks. In between all of this it is also great to celebrate. We have had Birthdays in abundance in the Penguin class these past few weeks. It is lovely to stop and think about the child who is celebrating their Birthday and we do that by sitting on the mat and quietly reflecting on the special character of the child whose Birthday it is. We light a candle and the children are given a chance, by choice, to share something special about the Birthday child. It astounds me to see how children reflect and have such insight at such a young age. It is lovely to see the ‘Birthday girl or boy’ being uplifted in such a kind and loving way. It is also so special to see how the children’s comments have developed since the beginning of the year- personal growth is after all as important as the academic growth. Kate celebrated her crown Birthday this week and the children loved getting ice lollies on a warm day. The children chose to be unicorns for the photograph. I just love their minds.

At the end of last term I was thrilled to have two Penguins standing up in assembly to receive a little award for their art contributions during our Roald Dahl celebration week. Luke and Sabrina were commended for their delightful efforts.

We had good discussion and input into ideas behind renewable energy this past week and it is so good to develop an awareness amongst the children in this regard. We constructed solar ovens out of pizza boxes and the most fun part was melting some chocolate at the end of all the hard work. The children had to hold on to their ovens outside as the South Easter swirled around, but we were fortunate to have our reliable South African sun shine brightly that day.

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Big on Birthdays

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Roald Dahl art competition

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Science Wizards

We recently celebrated Science at Elkanah House Senior Primary, with our Science Expo.  It was truly a celebration, as it brought out the best in our children.  The Grade 5’s topic was ENERGY, and believe me, there was more than enough energy doing the rounds on Expo Day!  The children researched an experiment or an investigation of their choice, related to energy.  After attempting the experiments, photographs were taken and posters were made to communicate their findings.  The children had to consider their aim or the question that they wanted to explore, the apparatus that was needed, the method that had to be followed, the observations made through the results and then draw a conclusion.  On the day of our Science Expo, the judges made their rounds and the parents and visitors came to view the experiments and talk to our children to get firsthand knowledge about their findings.  Our children were well-prepared and confident when answering the public’s questions.  They were very excited to demonstrate their experiments.  So much learning, problem solving and critical thinking happened during this task.  This was so much more than just Science!

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Here are some of the Pelicans making their posters.

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Take a look at some of our final “products”.

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Exploring the many uses of plants

Recently the Grade 5’s researched plants that are found in Africa, with the focus on how they are useful to us.  They came up with a few wonderful and interesting facts, which they presented in the form of a poster.  This was a Natural Sciences task, which then flowed over into an English Oral presentation.  This is what a few of them had to say:

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Slice and dice – what’s inside?

We’ve learnt all about seeds – how they are formed, how they germinate and grow, how they are dispersed.  As a practical activity, the children all brought some fruit to school and cut them open to examine the seeds.  This was a collaborative tasks.  The children chose three different fruits and they drew a cross section of each fruit, while also making notes on the characteristics of the seeds, e.g. their size, colour, quantity, position, texture and even taste.  It goes without saying that the tasting was the best part, and of course all the “spoils” had to be eaten!  Nothing goes to waste in the Pelicans class.

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Surgery on Flowering Plants

During our Natural Sciences lessons, we are focussing on flowering plants.  We drew the internal structure of the flower and dissected hibiscus flowers.  This helped the children to discover all the parts of the pistil and the stamen that are used to form new seeds.

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The eve of a public holiday and long weekend!!!

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I would like to mention our Book Day from 2 weeks back. Although our campus did not carry one theme through for the day, it was most evident that the children were exposed to a rich array of books and characters and words and creative writing and wonderful input into the world of imagination that books have to offer. Our school foyer hosted a delightful reading chair and reading corner, our Grade 6’s ( and their spirit- filled teachers) dressed up as book characters and I thoroughly enjoyed their interpretations and creative style. I so enjoy seeing older children read to younger children and we are so fortunate to have our junior campus right next door. Our class set up a book display at the back of the class which featured all the children’s favourite books,
either from their home bookshelves, or from our school library. This table display was a centre of attention for the week and we had lovely conversations around characters, different scenes and general storytelling. Our pictures show some true bookworms in our class including the delightful ‘Mr B’.

Last week brought forth a most welcome public holiday….. Work, work, work, smile…….pause. The children delight in the mere thought of a public holiday, as do the teachers. There are always so many stories to share afterwards and our classroom mats during devotion time are scattered with flapping hands and arms wanting their turn to share their news. We have spent a considerable time in Grade 5 these past couple of weeks discussing ‘feelings and emotions’. We have brainstormed different feelings, we have shared stories personally and in diary format( this tied in nicely with our book week ‘diary’ focus) and we have explored different ways to deal with the various feelings and emotions that come our way. It is just amazing to see some children open up once the platform is there to share valid experiences and emotions.

We explored the fossilisation process in Natural Science during the week before last and we used our IT lesson so that the children could gain from a ‘flipped classroom’ experience by reading and learning from a superb website. This site is created by our local Fossil Park in Langebaan and allows children to investigate the fossil process by means of slides, which are animated. An informative paragraph follows before the animation is shown, so that they can capture the information in a cognitive and visual way.

We introduced the wonderful world of ‘Plants’ to the children this past week and our first lesson related the parts of a plant and the internal structure of a flower. The children were fascinated to learn that most flowers have both a male and female part to it. The flower lends itself to the essential practice of drawing a scientific diagram in their books.

One of our Social science lessons last week was also in the IT centre and we taught the children about capes and bays around our South African coastline. Google Earth was used to search for certain capes and bays and then they had to use the snipping tool to select a cape or bay in order to insert it into their worksheets. It was lovely to see the faster workers explore our coastline for other familiar capes and bays- each time a delightful story went with the finding.

I have also included some of my pictures which were taken at our museum outing and in the Company Gardens. Creativity is just everywhere where we look in Cape Town. What a privilege for us to teach in this environment and for the children to grow up here.

And now……. after another public holiday and a superb long weekend it is time to buckle down and prepare our Scallywags for the English cycle test this week.

Categories: English, General, Natural Science, Social Science | 2 Comments

ILT Focus 2 – Spotlight on Soil Creatures

Leading up to our Integrated Learning Task, the Grade 5’s researched a soil creature of their choice that lives in Africa. During the ILT their research was written into their own words and used to create an informative poster. We asked the children to provide the scientific name for their creature and to discuss their appearance, habitat, diet and some interesting facts. The children worked in pairs for this task. They were encouraged to be creative and to make use of relevant pictures. The following were put to the test:  Their ability to follow instructions, work independently, make decisions, plan, manage their time, deal with conflict, compromise and … of course … clean up! They enjoyed being allowed to express themselves by creating final products that they were all very proud of.

Below you can see how busy they were making their posters.

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And of course, they had to prank the teacher!  A few “creatures” that just happened to be “crawling” around on the floor, made me jump with fright.  Take a look at what I had to deal with …

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And here are the guilty parties involved …

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They finally all completed their posters.  Take a look at their handiwork.

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