Nature Walk {NGSS Patterns in the Sky}

 

Nature Walk

Nature Walk

It’s fall around these parts! That means a lot of scarves, a lot of leaves, and a lot of fun! 🙂

We’ve fallen right into our new science unit, which is about patterns in the sky. It’s really stated as “Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year”.  Additionally, students should be able to observe, predict, and describe the amount of sunlight and patterns of sunshine/sunset.

What does this look like in first grade?

We have a driving question in this unit, which is “How does the sun affect the seasons?” Since we’ve been talking about what makes us scientists, this is what is our question. So now, we’ve been collecting data to help us answer this question. (This relates to the NGSS standard because once we know about the seasons, we will be able to describe how the seasons are driven by the sun and tilting of the Earth. Each season has a different amount of sunlight, relating back to the standard)

To start, we took a nature walk around the school, to learn more about the season we’re in {fall} and to talk about how the changes we are seeing are being fueled by the sun.

Garden

Garden

First stop, our school garden. We noticed changed in the plants and flowers there. Why are they dying? What’s causing these changes?

Tree changes

Tree changes

We stopped to look at the trees. What changes were happening to the trees? Why are the leaves falling off?

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Dandelions

 

 

As we walked, we saw dandelion plants that were all white and fluffy. Weren’t these yellow a few weeks ago? How are they changing? What’s making them change?

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

As long as we were outside, we made a detour to the playground field to pick out a leaf. In math we are doing measuring, so we each picked a leaf that we would measure back inside. I’ve blogged about this before, so more details on this activity can be found HERE!

Class Mural

Class Mural

The next day, we used what we are seen yesterday on our walk and made a collaborative class mural. Each table group was assigned one of the things we’d observed outside yesterday (grass, rocks, leaves, plants, trees). We talked about making this mural as a team, showing the things we saw and that shows our current season.

Cutting paper

Cutting paper

Making our mural

Making our mural

Honestly, those were the only two pictures I took because the rest of the time I was helping groups with ideas, arranging things, and helping glue. But take a look at how it turned out….

Our Fall Mural!

Our Fall Mural!

I mean, it’s is just amazing!? I love it so much! As we worked, the kids would stand back and say, “Wow, this looks really good!” And they are right!

As they worked, I also asked kids to make labels. Their inventive spelling was just awesome and right on! I think this really turned out to be a wonderful group project, showed our knowledge so far, and helps us see the season of fall.

We will of course relate all of this knowledge back to our essential question- how is the sun affecting these changes we see in fall?

Mural

Mural

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure!

Measure Ms. Tasch

How fast did that weekend go by? It’s amazing how you can get so many things done in such a short amount of time! I spent my weekend with family- 2 graduation parties on Saturday and father’s dad on Sunday. It was the perfect weather to sit by the pool, grill, and relax (and laugh) with the people you love!

I didn’t get a chance to share what else we did in measurement last week. We were working on non-standard unit measurement (using things to measure that weren’t made to measure, like cubes, coins, dominoes, etc). During the school year, I had done this activity with my first graders, and it was a big hit, so I thought I’d give it a try during summer school for 2 of the classes. I gathered the students around the white board and after reviewing what non-standard measurement was, told them that today, we’d be measuring me- Ms. Tasch! The kids laughed, giggled, and rolled around, asking, “For real!?” I told them I had drawn smaller “Ms. Tasch’s” that they would be measuring using a variety of non-standard units.:)

To begin, they sat in groups and got their recording worksheets.

Next, they made a prediction of how many units they thought it would take to measure from the bottom of their “Ms.Tasch’s” toes to the top of their “Ms. Tasch’s” head. (Teacher tip: This activity could have easily been used to teach perimeter as well. In fact, some groups started out by putting their units around the edges of the person drawing. We had to stop to explain that we were measuring the height- toes to head- but for older students, they could measure height and perimeter).

Measuring using crayons!

Measuring using crayons!

We did the first unit together- crayons. We walked through making a “good” prediction and how to put the units in a line (touching, not overlapping) to get the measurement. After they got the unit in place, they counted how many it took. The kids did such a great job counting the units together like a team and writing down the answer.

Working like a team!

Working like a team!

After they finished the first unit-crayons- they raised their hands and I’d give them their choice of a next unit.

Measuring!

Measuring!

Some students used dominoes….

IMG_1466Or coins…

Measuring!

Measuring!

 

or shape blocks, fraction squares, dice, number tiles, etc (I was so busy watching and switching units between groups that I didn’t take pictures of those- sorry!) The kids loved this activity because it was fun and silly to measure their teacher. I loved this activity because it was an engaging, hands-on way for them to practice what we had been learning about all week. The kids showed their understanding of measuring using non-standard units and were able to record their results.

After, we sat in a group and talked about our answers. Not all groups used all the same materials, so groups shared out what they used and how many it took to measure “Ms. Tasch”. We also talked about if our predictions were close (why or why not) and why some groups answers were different, even if they used the same materials (I took the blame for this one… since I simply draw the oh-so-wonderful Ms. Tasch’s myself, they were close to the same size, but not perfectly similar. Oops!)

For teachers out there, check out my TpT store for this activity bundle, found here: Measurement Bundle

I’ll make another post next about what my other class did to wrap-up measurement! 🙂