Today, our students traveled to the City Campus to meet Jason Chin, an author/illustrator of non-fiction pictures books. He read his book Gravity and talked about how he came up with the idea for the story and how it evolved over time. We also got a chance to see him do a quick drawing of some of the items from the book. After we spent some time with our visiting author, the Pre-K students got to meet up with their city counterparts for some exploring of their playground and playing with old and new friends.
After we returned from the Aviary, our students wrote in their journals about their favorite part of our trip. Below are their answers.
Yesterday, our class traveled to the National Aviary as a culminating activity for our study of birds. The students were surprised to see that many of the birds were not behind cages but actually were able to fly/wander around the room as they wished. Some birds kept their distance, while other birds tried to camouflage themselves within our group so they could escape the room! We learned that some birds eat fruit, seeds, and worms while other birds eat the meat from dead animals and how important they are for our environment. The class was treated to an up-close encounter with a zealous vulture who enjoyed jumping down from the trainer’s arm to check out the reflexes of our students. Some friends that were lucky enough to feed mealworms and fish to the birds in the Wetlands room and we all had the opportunity to feed a bowl full of nectar to the Lorikeets. Some students were a little nervous having the birds so close to us (the Lories actually land on your hand to eat) but all students persevered and were calm and respectful to the birds. One student, as we walked out of the Lorikeet room, exclaimed, “That was heaven!”.
During this field trip, our class also had the opportunity to participate in a project that Mrs. Weber has been piloting, called Big Shot Camera. WT purchased cameras, which arrive disassembled, and the fifth graders worked to build them into functional digital cameras. Mrs. Weber then has spent time with each class teaching the students how to take pictures of the world around us. Our class chose to use the cameras to take pictures of the all the birds they saw during our trip.
We were so proud of our Pre-K class throughout this trip. Not only were their many other schools visiting the Aviary, but the students were challenged with being so close to these unusual animals. The students followed all of the directions, showed calm, listening bodies, and truly showed us how much they have matured over the course of this year. It is very clear that our students are ready for next year.
Today, our class took our first field trip to the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems to learn more about what types of materials are used to make jewelry. As we walked through the exhibit, the students noticed the many similarities and differences between the various rocks and gems. Some were smooth and round while others were rough and jagged. There were many different colors and some specimens had several types of crystals existing on one rock. We learned that some rocks come from cooled lava and others come from sand. We even got to see some rocks glow under a UV light and were surprised to see that they glowed different colors. We also had a chance to see what the gems look like when they are polished and cut so that they can be used for jewelry. Many students were surprised how many different types and colors there were.
While the trip helped the children to see the variety of materials that are used to make jewelry, it also opened the door for new questions for us to answer. Where can you find gems other than in caves? What are the gems made from? How do they cut the gems? How do they get the gems to stay inside the jewelry? These are all wonderful questions that we hope to answer as we move forward in our study of jewelry.
After the author visit yesterday, our students were quite delighted with the opportunity to play on the newly constructed city campus playground. They quickly made new friends with the city pre-k and enthusiastically created chasing games, climbed trees, and made lovely music on the outdoor instruments.
“Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students visited the Carnegie Museum of Art to see the 2013 Carnegie International, a survey of Contemporary Art that happens every four to five years. They will create a work of art in reaction to the show which will be on display in an all-school art show in the spring.” —Mrs. Sally Allan (WTN Art Teacher)
Yesterday’s trip to the museum was incredible. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical. Last time I took a group of Pre-Kindergarten students for a tour of art, the trip turned out to be terribly developmentally inappropriate. (Interpret this as Long and Boring.) Obviously, I didn’t have the right guide!
Mrs. Allan led us through the 2013 Carnegie International exhibit and provided each child with a sketch journal. Each room we visited held visually stimulating pieces that drew the children in immediately. Most of our tour focused on the shapes and lines of things. In one area the children attempted their first contour drawings, following the lines of the pieces in front of them. In another the children searched for shapes within the sculptures and drew their favorite pieces. The “Balloon Playground” in the DIY Playground exhibit was wildly popular. The final piece we visited, the Wrecking Ball, imparted the most lasting memories. When asked today, most of the children claimed it was their favorite part of the show.
Today, we traveled with our fourth grade buddies into the city to visit the MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum. The students were ready and excited to talk about circuits! With a brief review about how circuits work, the children began experimenting with a battery pack equipped with two batteries, two wires, and a motor. The students spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to make the motor run.
Once everyone figured out how to turn their motor on, we got to work building different machines using recycled materials. Our fourth grade buddies helped us pick our materials and decide what type of a contraption to make. Some devices even had switches that allowed the creator to turn the motor on and off whenever they wanted.
With a pinch of experimentation and a ton of creativity, our students made some amazing devices! Each child was permitted to take their machine with them, so when your child gets home, be sure to ask them about what they made and how it works!