This week in Science, in honor of the Winter Olympics, we learned about balance.
First, we talked a little about the Olympics and some of the sports that we had seen on TV. Many of us had seen skiing, snow-boarding, and/or ice skating – either the dancing type or the racing type. Of those who watched the games, almost all had seen at least one person fall down.
Next, we decided if different block towers were balanced (not going to fall over)
or unbalanced (going to fall over).
Then we tried balancing ourselves on one foot in many different ways:
Once we got a feel for what balance is and is not, we each got a photograph of a person (or a group of people). We had to decide if the person was balanced or was unbalanced. We sorted the photographs into two groups:
Could a pencil be balanced on its point on the end of a ruler?
Not easily – but it could be done if it has a counterweight attached:
Could the first pencil be balanced on top of the second one?
That was pretty crazy!
Finally, we tried to figure out how to balance paper clowns upside-down on our fingertips. That wasn’t easy.
Hint: The clown is shaped like the pencil-balancer, but the pencil balancer has counterweights. How can we add counterweights to the clown?
Everyone got two paperclips. It took us a while, but we kept trying. Finally, we did it!
It was a very well-balanced class!
See you next week -
“Early childhood programs accredited by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation have voluntarily undergone a comprehensive process of internal self-study and improvement. Each NAEYC-accredited program must meet all 10 of the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards.”
What are the 10 Program Standards?
- Standard 1: Relationships
- Standard 2: Curriculum
- Standard 3: Teaching
- Standard 4: Assessment of Child Progress
- Standard 5: Health
- Standard 6: Teachers
- Standard 7: Families
- Standard 8: Community Relationships
- Standard 9: Physical Environment
- Standard 10: Leadership and Management
More in-depth descriptions of each standard are available in this guide for families.
Congratulations to our amazing educators and our director, Jennifer Slattery, on this accomplishment!
We had a great week last week learning about Tu B’Shevat (the Birthday of trees!)
Everybody sing…’Twigs, branches, trunk and roots, trunk and roots…”Twigs, branches, trunk and roots, trunk and roots…
”Crown and leaves and bark and fruits…’
‘Twigs, branches, trunk and roots, trunk and roots…’
This week in Science, we learned some basics about organisms.
Our goal for the class was to sort a cartful ofitems into two categories – ‘organism’ and ‘not an organism.’
Organism is just another word for ‘living thing.’ Something that is not a living thing is not an organism.
If something is a living thing, it:
1) comes from other living things (like the chimpanzee)
2) can grow and change (like the Monarch caterpillar)
3) can reproduce (make more living things like itself – a bird laid the eggs, and more birds will hatch out of them)
4) needs food / water / air / energy (like the geranium)
The first item was something hiding under a little blanket. The blanket was moving around in a very mysterious way. Most of the children said it must be alive because it was moving.
What could be under there? It turned out to be a toy motor…
not an organism.
The second item was a potato.
It didn’t look like it is alive. But it will grow and change if we plant and water it – and then we might end up with more potatoes – so, it is alive.
Next up…a rock. It looked a lot like the potato.
The rock won’t grow or change if we plant and water it. No matter what, it won’t have baby rocks. So it wasn’t really like the potato. It isn’t an organism.
The rock was followed by a wind-up crab that had a face and could walk sideways, but didn’t grow or eat.
Next up…an acorn.
It didn’t move – so we thought it might not be alive, but we knew that it came from a tree and that it would grow into an oak tree if we planted it, so we figured out that it was a living thing.
There was a bunny which moved and looked like it might be alive
and some of us were a bit worried it might hop around on the floor, but it was just a puppet…not an organism.
Next, we took a look at a pine cone. We knew that you could find them on the ground and that they fell off of a tree.
It turns out that there are seeds inside, and if you were to plant one, you could grow a new pine tree. That tree would eventually grow pine cones, which would fall to the ground. The seeds inside the pine cones are organisms.
There was a strange cylinder that was somewhat like a hamster ball. There appeared to be something inside of it. Alive? We weren’t sure. It would roll a few feet in one direction and then reverse course and roll back the other way.
When we opened it up, we found a rubber band attached to a little container filled with pennies.
Definitely not an organism.
(it was really fun, but wasn’t alive),
and a lima bean.
It didn’t move, but it will grow and change if we plant and water it – and then we might end up with more beans. Alive.
And, there was me. I do need to eat, and I’ve grown since I was a baby, and I have parents and a child (we looked at pictures that prove it).
Therefore – I am a living thing.
Finally, we looked at a jar full of objects that we didn’t recognize.
They were dried milkweed seed pods.
Milkweed is the only thing that monarch butterfly caterpillars eat, so milkweed is a pretty important plant. We looked at some pictures of milkweed plants.
Here is what’s inside the pod:
Every one of the seeds is a living thing that floats away on a little parachute.
Each has the potential to grow into a new plant. More organisms.
Today we began to understand a very tricky concept.
We can’t tell if something is a living thing based on its movement. Moving things are not always living things, while things that don’t move may actually be living things.
Something to ponder…
See you next week,
Due to tomorrow’s frigid temperatures and possible icy conditions, we will be closed on January 7th. For the safety of your children as well as our teachers, we have decided to act on the side of caution. Many of our teachers use public transportation and we are concerned about the consistency of service.
This decision was made after discussions with the President of Beth Shalom and other childcare directors around the city. Contact the office with any questions. 412-421-8857.
Thank you for your understanding. Stay safe and warm.
We are asking that all families that have a child who is at least 3 years old by June 1, 2014 to submit their information.
The application is due by February 28, 2014.
The following link will provide you instructions for completing the information: http://aim.applyists.net/JFGP
Hi all -
This week in Science, we explored kaleidoscopes.
First, everyone chose a bear from a basket.
Then we each received a mirror ‘book.’ We put the bears on the table in front of the open book (so that they could admire themselves)
and counted the bears that we could see.
We discovered that the number of bears we saw in the mirrors changed when we opened or closed the book.
Next, we talked briefly about kaleidoscopes.
Inside kaleidoscopes there are mirrors that form either two or three sides of a triangle.
They work the same way that the mirror books do.
While we all continued experimenting with the mirrors and some pattern blocks, we also passed around a large assortment of kaleidoscopes.
Special thanks to Morah Elana for bringing in a beautiful kaleidoscope from home and sharing it with our class – that was awesome!
See you next week,
Many of you know that our school is up for our NAEYC re-accreditation this year, but what does this really entail? One aspect you know about is the family survey, and thank you to everyone who turned in your survey. Our teachers have been hard at work compiling their classroom portfolios. These document all aspects of the classroom: Relationships, Curriculum, Teaching, Assessment, Families, and Physical Environment. There are different standards in each category and our educators put together how they fulfill each criteria. We also do this for our over-all program. Jennifer, Maria, and Kara have been hard at work documenting how we fulfill different criteria in our program.
Outside of the portfolios we also make sure that our classrooms are at top level. S0 what can you do to help us during this process? One big help is washing your hands. We ask that you wash your hands when you enter the classroom (or use the hand sanitizer). Keep doing the great work of emptying your child’s lunchbox into the box in the refrigerator and keeping your child’s extra items in a vinyl bag. Please also make sure your strollers and carseats are placed in our stroller parking lot, Room 306.
We always work hard to make sure that this environment is the best it can be for you and your children, and the NAEYC process helps with this goal. Thank you for your support and help during this re-accreditation.