Friday, May 15, 2009

Let's Go Shopping!

Today in math we played a game called "Let's Go Shopping!" In this game, students begin with $20 and choose items that they would like to purchase. One person acts as a customer and one person acts as a cashier. The cashier's job is figure out the change and count it back correctly. For example, if someone bought something that costs $5.39 and the cashier a twenty dollar bill the cashier might say "One cent makes $5.40, sixty cents makes $6.00 and and $14.00 makes twenty. Your change is $14.61." Cashiers would get the "change" from the bank. The students really enjoyed playing this game. Towards the end of the game they were becoming very comfortable with figuring out the change in their head. The skills that the student practiced in this game are most certainly life skills that they will need to know forever!
-Miss Russell :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inventions (Definitely) Rock!

Tonight, our class performed the Inventions Rock! musical. The students worked very hard to memorize lines, songs, and dance movements. The students learned facts about important inventions such as the wheel, lightbulb, television, movie camera, and many more. They also learned about notable inventors such as Thomas Edison, Johann Fust, and Johann Gutenburg.

Our class definitely rocked the house tonight! Miss Young and I are so proud of you. Your hard work absolutely paid off!

Your very proud teacher,
Miss Russell :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creating Cool Board Games

For the past few days in math class, students have been working on inventing their own board games. Students have been relating the direction of movement (left or right, up or down) to positive and negative numbers. Students have been so creative in making their board games. Some of the game themes were: shopping, school, saving endangered animals, military, lost pets, softball and even the Swine Flu! Students have had to do everything from create the game boards, write rules, create game cards and pieces. The students did a fantastic job creating their games and had a fun time playing them today. Who knows, maybe you will see one of these games on the shelf of your local store someday!

From the desk of a very proud 3rd grade teacher,
Miss Russell :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Math Standard Snapshot

Tomorrow, all third grade students will receive a Math Standard Snapshot. This tool is for parents to have a "snapshot" of a lesson that was taught in class. This tool also allows them to compare their child's work to a child's work that meets the standard. The parts of the Standard Snapshot include: the standards that correlate with the lesson, how the lesson was taught, and how the featured student's work meets the standard. This Standard Snapshot is unique in that, instead of choosing one student's work, we chose strategies from four different students.

For this piece of work, the students were given the following problem: "In our class we have 29 children. Each child has a pack of crayons that contain 15 individual crayons. How many individual crayons do we have in our whole class?" The four different strategies that we have chosen to showcase are the ratio table, generic rectangle, and two different multiplication clustering strategies.

Standard Snapshots are a powerful tool for parents to get an idea of what their child is expected to do. Often times, Standard Snapshots showcase a strategy or an idea that you may have thought of before. :)

-Miss Russell

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oreo Moon Phases

Last week worked used Oreos to create the moon phases. Students followed a lab sheet to draw a sun, Earth and number a paper plate. The students used their new found knowledge about moon phases to arrange them appropriately on their plate.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Funny Math Lesson

Watch the following video. Two men and one woman diagree about several math problems. Someone in the video is correct. Someone has a misconception. Who is right? Who is not right? Why? Explain your thinking clearly in your response.

Post by Monday for a special treat!
-Miss Russell :)

The Game of Many Changes

In math we have been working in the "Up and Down the Number Line" unit. This unit focuses on net change. Tomorrow students will learn a game called "The Game of Many Changes." Today two friends learned the game and allowed me to tape them for our lesson tomorrow. In class, students will watch this video to learn how to play the game. Thanks to the two friends who allowed me to video them. They did a great job explaining their thinking aloud. Enjoy!
-Miss Russell
Here is a sneak peek :)

The Game of Many Changes from Ashley Russell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Moon Phases Are Out of this World!!

Yesterday the students were introduced to our new science unit by listening to a read aloud called Jimmy Zangwow's Out of this World Moon Pie Adventure by Tony DiTerlizzi. After reading this fictional story, students were asked to guess what we were about to study in science. They correctly concluded that we were about to study about our moon. As a class we created a KWL chart (Know-Want to know-Learned) about the moon. It seems that our class has a lot of prior knowledge about the moon and have fantastic wonderings about the moon as well. We also snacked on some moon pies! :)

Our standards say that students must learn about the phases of the moon. Students will be observing the moon every night for the month of April. (If the moon is not visible or you can't get outside, check out the moon phase tracker on the right side of my blog!) Students are also expected to know patterns of length of the day, sunrise, and sunset. In order to meet this standard, students will be recording the time of sunrise and sunset for this month as well. We are looking forward to many exciting science labs about the moon in the upcoming weeks.

-Miss Russell :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Having a Blast with Diet Coke and Mentos!

On Friday, we conducted an experiment where we put Mentos into a 2-Liter of Diet Coke and tried to determine what kind of change it was. Some students believed it was a chemical change while others thought it was a physical change. In the world of science, many scientists do not agree on whether it is a chemical change or a physical change in matter. Click here to see one such explanation of the debate over this experiment being a chemical or a physical change by Steve Spangler. Check out the video below of our experiment:

What did you think? Comment and let us know.
-Miss Russell :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fizzy, Bubbly Science!

For the past week we have been
exploring "Changes in Matter." We have learned that there are two different types of changes in matter: physical and chemical. We have learned that physical changes in matter are changes that make matter look different without becoming a new substance. Chemical changes in matter are changes that cause one kind of matter to become a different kind of matter. Today we conducted a lab with the focus questions of "What, if anything, will happen if you combine baking soda and vinegar?" Students made their predictions and then they were off to conduct their experiments. Students found that when the two different substances were combined, baking soda and vinegar, that a very fizzy and bubbly reaction occurred. Together the two substances reacted to produce carbon dioxide. Based on the new matter that was formed, gas, the students were able to successfully conclude that this was an example of a chemical change in matter. Our final experiment for "Changes in Matter" will come tomorrow and it is sure to be a BLAST! (Hint, Hint!) Stay tuned...
-Miss Russell :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oobleck: Solid or Liquid? You Decide!

Last week in science class we began studying about matter. We have learned that there are 3 states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Students have identified characteristics of each of these forms of matter. Today we experimented with a unique substance we will call “Oobleck.”

Through their experiments with the Oobleck, students found that it had characteristics of both a solid and a liquid depending on how it was handled. When students poked the substance quickly with their finger, it acted like a solid, keeping it’s shape. When students poked the Oobleck slowly with their finger, it acted like a liquid, changing shape.

Students had a fun time working with the Oobleck. As always, they were expected to record their experiment on a lab sheet. They also recorded some fantastic questions that they were wondering after the experiment. Some of the questions were “What would happen if you freeze the Oobleck?” “What is the Oobleck made out of?” and “Is it possible to turn the Oobleck into a gas?”

After our initial experiment we even tried to walk on the Oobleck! When we walked quickly the Oobleck acted like a solid and when we walked slowly it acted like a gooey liquid. Oobleck is AWESOME (and a little messy. but totally worth it!)!!
Thanks for checking in!
Miss Russell :)
PS- Oobleck is 1 ½ parts corn starch to 1 part water (and a little bit of green food coloring.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Becoming Better Scientists!

One very important thing that a scientist does is to make a hypothesis and conclusion about a question that he or she has. Today in science class, we practiced writing several "hypotheses" and "conclusions." In order to have a reason to write a hypothesis and conclusion we posed three questions: What will happen if we put a sharp pin next to an inflated balloon?, What will happen if we mix an equal amount of oil and water?, and What will happen if we put some raisins in a container of club soda?
Students worked on restating the lab "question" in their hypothesis and their conclusion. Let's take a look at the oil and water lab. For her hypothesis, Alise wrote "If you mix oil and water I think the oil will come to the top of the water." As luck (or smarts) would have it, Alise was correct. Her conclusion stated, "When we mixed oil and water, they separated because the water was more dense. The oil was less dense so it stayed on top. My hypothesis was completely correct!" In her conclusion, Alise did a fantastic job of restating the original "question," including what she learned, and referring back to her hypothesis.
The students did a wonderful job duing our lesson today. They will certainly be using these lab skills next week as we dive into matter with several fun experiments! Not to give away too many details but here a few a words to desribe some of the labs for next week: sweet, bubbly, crunchy, EXPLOSIVE and SLIMEY! Check back soon. More awesome science stuff to come!!
-Miss Russell :)

PS- Here are the lab results:
1. The balloon popped. 2. The oil and water serparated. 3. The raisins "danced." (moved up and down in the container due to the air bubbles) :)

Check out these cool pictures from science class today:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cool "Green" Cars!

Today in science class, students read a Science Spin (non-fiction) article titled "Cool Cars." The article was about eco-friendly cars. Students were challenged to design there own eco-friendly cars. Students created cars that were both realistic and not-so-realistic. The cars included everything from robotic arms that pick up and recycle trash, to grass covered cars, to cars that run on air and many more "green" ideas. The students used a rubric to help guide them as they worked on designing their car. The kids did a great job designing their cars. You may even see these cars in the future.
-Miss Russell :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fraction War Game

Today in math class we played a game called Fraction War. Students used fraction cards to play the classic game known as "war." Which ever student had the larger fraction won the "war." Students used several different strategies to compare the size of the fraction. Some of these strategies included: using landmark fractions to determine the approximate size of the fraction, considering the "missing piece" of the fraction, and using decimals to solve. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the game. These girls also do a wonderful job explaining their thought process while determining which fraction is larger. Nice job girls!

Fraction War Game from Ashley Russell on Vimeo.

-Miss Russell :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fractions and Decimal Scavenger Hunt Challenge

In math class we have been doing a lot of work with fractions. Today we used calculators to explore the relationship of fractions and decimals. We learned that fractions and decimals are two different ways of writing the same thing.

For example, if I share a dollar with a friend we each get $.50 OR one-half (1/2) of a dollar. We used calculators to find the decimal equivalent to several fractions that we have been working with a lot.

Where do you find fractions and decimals in the real world? I challenge you to have a Scavenger Hunt to locate fractions or decimals. Some places that you might look are: on television, in the kitchen, around town (while riding in the car), in newspapers and so on.

Leave a comment and let me know when and where you find some examples of fractions and decimals.
Happy Hunting!
Miss Russell :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is One-Half Always Equal to One-Half?

Lately in class we have been exploring the concept of fractions. Today, during Calendar Math, I asked the students a question: Is one-half always equal to one-half? As I anticipated, the majority of the students incorrectly answered "yes." Then, I asked them to consider the size of the whole. For example, what if I ordered a Personal Pan Pizza and my friend ordered an X-Large Pizza. Will our "halves" be equal in size? Within seconds of posing this example, there was an uproar in the class. An example as simple as pizza, made all of the students change their mind about the answer to this seemingly simple question. Today's lesson: Consider the size of the whole when comparing fractions AND it is crucial to use the same size "whole" when representing fractions on paper. Besides the pizza example, what example can you come up with to prove that one-half is not always equal to one-half? Post a comment and let the world know!
Fractions are fabulous... (and so are my students)!!
-Miss Russell :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy 100th Day of School!

Hard to believe, but today marks the 100th day of school (only 80 more to go!)! Today students spent time working on a 100th Day of School packet that included 17 different activities. Each activity focused on the fantastic number 100! Activities included math, science, language arts, and social studies. Students had to do everything from 100 jumping jacks, counting heartbeats, probability games, making lists of 100 words, making equations that equal 100, playing "Close to 100," dancing for 100 seconds, and Miss Russell's favorite...staying silent for 100 seconds. Students also had a 100th day of school snack. Each student grabbed 10 pieces of 10 different snacks totaling 100. We love the number 100 because it is such an important landmark number in our number system. A BIG "Thank You" to all of the families that donated snacks to make this day possible. It was a great day!
Thanks for checking in,
Miss Russell :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Science Rocks!

Before the winter break, students were busy in science class observing different kinds of rocks. As they observed the rocks using hand lenses, the students were encouraged to think of different ways to classify, or sort, the rocks. Some of the observable properties that they came up with were: size, shape, color, and texture. When school starts back tomorrow, we will review these ideas and begin talking about weathering and erosion on earth.
Thanks for checking in!
:) Miss Russell