In the 4/5s, young scientists compare animals, humans and plants, explore natural objects and spend time recording their observations in graphs, detailed drawings and with writing.
They note changes in themselves over the course of the year and begin to look more carefully at the life cycle of other living beings. They pay particular attention to the changing seasons and make abundant discoveries and observations in yard. They begin to see that organisms have distinct characteristics. In the water table children experiment with sinking and floating, mass and volume. The block area is a place to learn about inclines and balance. In the classroom and out in the yard, children begin to learn about composting. They begin to create their own deliberate experiments to find answers to their questions. In the midst of the wonder, we record our questions, predictions, experiments and conclusions.
A Whale Tale
Young scientists in the 4/5's compare animals, humans and plants; explore natural objects, and spend a lot of time recording their observations in graphs, detailed drawings and writings. This year of scientific study is just packed with the "wow!" factor
Did you know that whales can weigh up to 2 million pounds? "What!" said Shay. "But how would they fit in the water? They would stick out the top, and there wouldn't be enough water for them to swim in!"
"Well, how big is the ocean?" Brian and Sarah asked their class of 4, 5, and 6 year olds. "Umm, it's about 100 feet deep," offered Diego.
In checking these ideas, students discovered that the ocean was larger and could be even deeper—but that the whale was a whopper, too. "The blue whale is like 100 feet long," reported Miles. Students measured this length in string, along the floor of the classroom. They had to use a lot of string. "We had to tie a knot and go all the way back to the spot (we started)," explained Tenley. "It was so long that we had to fold it back," added Alina. Would the whale fit in the gym? Students stretched the string along the gym floor. Nope!
The class had to think bigger. So along with the science specialist, they visited Gansevoort Park to see if a whale could fit in the play area. They worked together to stretch it out and found that it almost went from one end of the basketball courts to the other. Then they counted off kids and grownups to see "how many people long" it was. Can you guess? To blow off some steam, so to speak, the whole class ran the length of the mighty whale, from its tip to its tail!
The 4/5's wanted to dive deeper and learn more about these creatures of the sea. They visited the great blue whale at the Museum of Natural History, and also traveled to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. After discussion and more research, the class decided to "adopt" a blue whale through the Whale Center of New England. "They are in danger," Josh explains. "That is why we adopt them, to keep them safe."