Pumpkin Day Math and Science Fun – 2011 Edition

Well. Another Pumpkin Day is here and gone. It always seems to come up so quickly and then pass just as quickly. The kids had a great morning of Math and Science fun!

The students did a lot of work in a very short amount of time. Much to there surprise, students were not just carving pumpkins any ol’ way they wanted too. Pumpkins are amazing plants and we took a lot of time practicing our observation skills and learning how God’s creations are all wondrously and perfectly made.

We started off with looking at the outside of the pumpkin asking the big question: Does the weight and circumference of the pumpkin have any relation to the number of seeds inside?

Students weighed and measured, then got to go inside the pumpkin to look at how the seeds were arranged. Counting the seeds was the next challenge as students worked hard to find the fastest way to count seeds. Once all that information was recorded, students went up to the smartboard and entered their data into a special Google Docs spreadsheet where a graph of their results was automatically created. It was really cool. Finally, students planned and carved polygons into their pumpkins as a pattern as they learned that polygons were shapes consisting of more than one connected straight line.

The students had a lot of fun. I have placed the spreadsheet of our results below. You will probably have to scroll through it.



Two Digit Division with Ease!

DivisionIn Math, we have been continuing to look at the division of two digit numbers. Now that we understand how we can use place value to show why we place the numbers where they go in our division equations, it is time to take that learning and transfer it to the more traditional way of doing division.

The students all came home with a strip of math questions. There are only three of them on the strip and the students are expected to complete all three questions for tomorrow.

I have also completed a video using my nifty new app to help review the concept if the students need a reminder or if they just want to listen to my beautiful voice!

Division of Double Digit Numbers

math01In our math program, students have been learning about double digit divison. As you will probably expect, we are learning it a very different way from the way we were taught many years ago.

The Math-U-See program emphasizes place value as a way to illustrate to students why the numbers they are using written down in specific spots. Using place value, students begin to understand how numbers work together to give us the answers. It means there is less mystery about how numbers work together.

However, these concepts can be very foreign to the rest of us trying to help the students as it was not the way were taught. So, to help all of you at home, I have created a video demonstrating the concepts we are learning using an amazing new app that I just got for my ipad2.

Here it is:

If you need further help, please feel free to come and see me! The better we all understand, the better the students will understand.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

It’s been awhile since we have had something fun on the blog and I found something really funny to share with you but first . . .

One of my fantastic students did something that I thought was really cool and I wanted to share it with you. As you may or may not know, at the end of every day, I play Rock, Paper, Scissors with my students. Unbeknown to me, Spencer, one of my totally cool and awesome students, has been graphing the results of our competitions! He brought it in to show me and I think it is one of the coolest things I have seen. How cool to see Math applied to real life things.  He even sorted by what was used each time by each of us. It was just perfect and I wanted to share his graph with you. I took the photo awhile ago but here it is. I’m probably winning by a lot now since the photo was taken . . .:) I think it is really amazing!


I am in need of 12 glass jars for Science. If anyone would be willing to lend us some glass jars for about a week, that would be great. You will get them back at the end of the lesson (unbroken, of course!).

I found this video yesterday and I thought it was one of the funniest videos that I have seen in awhile. So here it is. Enjoy and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Who Wants More Skating?

thanksgivingDidn’t Thanksgiving seem to go by in a blur? Here and gone again for another year. But it’s not really gone is it? If you are anything like me, who ate way too much, those memories are still hanging around. But also, the idea behind Thanksgiving is one that should always be with us.

This year I am thankful for:

My beautiful family

The health of my two wonderful children

The blessings of a wonderful country to live

A living God who constantly challenges me

The students in my class who really have settled in and are working so hard.

All the visitors to our blog!

Enough of the mushy stuff! Just a reminder that tomorrow students will be going skating again. They will be allowed to wear play clothes again.

It has been a busy week with lots of things happening. For Language Arts, we are slowly working our way through the novel, “Safe As Houses”. It is a challenging book but the students are rising to the challenge and are quite excited to see how true events and stories can be turned into an exciting fiction story. Our unit on Ideas is our focus for writing. Students have been working on ways to generate ideas focusing on generating a main idea and building support for it by thinking of a table. The top of the table is the main idea while the legs provide the support.

In Math, we have started looking at division as the opposite of multiplication where you are looking for the missing factor. We started by looking at a math sentence like 2x=8. Solving for the missing number is basically division. You can look at that as saying 8 divided by 2 or how many twos do you need to make 8. Students have caught on  pretty quickly which is nice to see. When you look at it as the opposite of multiplication, it is really not that hard. What will be hard is when we get to the multiple digit division but we will cross that bridge when we get to it! Please continue to practice the multiplication times tables with your children. The better they know the times tables, the easier everything else will be for them.

Speaking of which, there is going to be a 7x tables quiz on Friday! If you need practice pages, you can use the Math Cafe link on the left side of the page. At the Math Cafe, you can create and print off worksheets for the students to practice with for free!

Now that we have eased into the school year, the next couple of weeks are going to be a busy time as new programs come into place. We will be starting spelling lists next week as well as our Home Reading program! Be on the lookout for more information!

Notes for the Weekend and Homework!

weekend_comment_graphic_07.gifIt’s amazing how quickly the first weekend has gone already. We have had a fabulous week with lots of things going on. Of course, there is much more to come.

Just some notes as we go into the weekend. I have changed the calendar as apparently I was the only who had access which, of course, doesn’t do any of us any good! So I have changed the settings to allow you to see dates on the calendar. You will also notice that I have added bible memory verses onto the calendar. I have placed them on there ahead of time so that you always know which memory verses we are working on.You will also note that the time for Gym has changed due to the scheduling conflict.

Homework: This weekend I have told the students that they have homework for next week. Though we are going to be focusing on division this year, having a solid base in the memorization of their basic multiplication facts is very important in helping them to achieve mastery, fluency and speed in their math. We will be focusing on a specific times table each week, with a math quiz at the end of the week on that multiplication times table. Once all times tables have been completed, each week students will have a quick involving a random set of 35 multiplication questions. For their homework, over the weekend I would like you to help students think about how they can learn their 0,1, 2 and 3 times tables in a way that fits their learning best. It can be with flash cards, writing it over and over, writing them on the table with their fingers, saying them out loud. drawing them out or any other method. Once you have decided with your child, over the next week, use that method to practice the 0, 1, 2, and 3 times tables with your child. I have focused on more than one this week as the 0 and 1 times tables are pretty easy.

Next Thursday will only be a half day as the school will be closing for a funeral service. For more information, please check the notice that came home with your child in their planner.

Whew! Lots of news. Have a great weekend!

I Eat A Cookie, You Eat A Cookie, We All Eat Cookies!!!!

Last Friday, the students and I had a blast doing our Oreo Cookie Math projects. First of all, thank you to all of you parents that donated a package of cookies to the class. It was very generous and we ended up with lots and lots of cookies to use which was fantastic.

The project we were doing involved classes around the world. Here is a map showing all the classes involved including ours!


There was a lot of math involved with this project. As part of the project students had to estimate how many cookies they thought they could stack. Once the students had finished estimating, the student stacked, with bated breathe, each cookie until it tumbled down. The students were very excited and we had a lot of fun stacking. The students then had to determine which of their stacking attempts was the most successful by using subtraction and greater than/less than statements. We also used pictograms to chart the number of cookies each student stacked. We then found the average of cookies stacked by the class. The average number of cookies stacked by our class was 15. Once we had an average, we submitted our data to the main Oreo Cookie project site. Not only did we have our name put on the map, but our data was added to the over 10,000 other students worldwide who were a part of this project! The students were amazed. We also found out that the average number of cookies stacked worldwide was 18. As a class we stacked over 274 cookies!!!! It was a very fun project. Here are some of the pictures:

I also captured some of the video from the event which you can watch below:

Here is our spelling for the week. Sorry it took so long to get it up. Remember! The spelling test is on Tuesday next week.


Click on the link to get to the Spelling City page with this weeks spelling words.

Phew! That was a long post! Finally, we will be doing our memory verse tomorrow so please make sure you know it!!!!!

It’s Oobleck Day!!!

oobleck-2It was a busy day in the Grade 2/3 class!! Students had a full day of fun and excitement. In Science this afternoon, I told students about my discovery of an extremely strange substance. On a cruise to Alaska, my wife and I were wondering along a secluded path. As we walked along, I suddenly noticed this mysterious substance lying in pools along side the path. My wife suggested that I collect some samples to bring back to show the students. Once I had told the students how I came to find this mysterious substance, I told the students that Scientists had no knowledge of this substance and how it came to be. All they knew was that it was named Oobleck and that it was not harmful to teachers and students in grade 2/3. Students then got a chance to play with and investigate it’s properties. We also learned and discussed how we use our 5 senses to investigate the properties of objects. As the students got to play and interact with the Oobleck, the students were very thankful that they didn’t have to use their sense of taste!! However, they did make wonderful observations including that it was green and goopy!!! I love things that are green and goopy!!!

As students played with the Oobleck, they were writing down what they saw, felt, heard and smelled and recording their thoughts on pieces of paper. After discussing all their thoughts, they then had to pick the one property they felt was the most important property of Oobleck. Next Science day, we are going to review their notes and create a set of rules for Oobleck. Throughout this unit on Oobleck we are ging to be talking about Scientists and how they work through problems. It is going to be very interesting!!!!!


Please practice adding and subtracting facts with your child. Over the summer, some memories can become hazy and students can have difficulty remembering their adding and subtracting facts up to 18. Please review these for them so we can sharpen those response times!!! It also helps provide a solid base for all their math work if they don’t have to be slowed down remembering their basic facts. If you need some ways to create flash cards for your child, check out Flashcard Creator or just make your own on cut rectangles of construction paper. You can also buy them from many grocery stores like Superstore or Staples.

Troubles in Video Land

Well, I guess the math video displayed well but the sound was very quiet and hard to hear. When I get a better mike, I will maybe redo the video so that you can hear it better. One thing to mention though, the video just describes multiplication without regrouping which means we are not “carrying”. Carrying will come next. We still had some students today who were having some difficulties with the multiplication so we will be spending lots more time on this concept.

Catching up on our Poetry Tournament, so far our winners are: April Rain Song, Why?, Me and Yesterday. Here are the four latest contestants reading their poems.

spring-is – Spring Is

me – Me

Yesterday – Yesterday

lost – Lost

Speaking of poetry, here is another poem to add to our Daily Poem of the Day list:

Rock n Roll Dad
Jaime Adoff

Rock n Roll Dad cooks
in the kitchen
radio blasts
always on ten!!
It’s so LOUD, I have to shout,
Dad yells,
Dancing past me with his spoon.
Pots shake,
pans vibrate.
Mom screams:
“It’s an earthquake!”
“What?” Dad yells back.
I roll my eyes.
Mom shakes her head.
Rock n Roll Dad is a little deaf.
“A lot.” Mom says.
“Too many years playing drums.” Rock n Roll Dad shouts, twirling his sticks and stirring the sauce.
“Can I go to the club with you tonight?” I ask Dad.
“You’re not old enough yet.” He answers back.
“I want to go. I’m eight years old. I’m old enough to Rock n Roll.”

. . . One day I’m gonna play the drums too.
My hands will fly so fast
my sticks will break the speed of sound.
I’ll be the best drummer in town.
I play the plates with my carrot stick-sticks.
Splashing salsa cymbals with my rock n roll chips . . .

©2009 Jaime Adoff. All rights reserved.

For science today, students were comparing the sizes of different objects in space including the planets, moons and asteriods. Students had a number of images and had to categorize them according to 5 types: Smaller than a school, bigger than a school but smaller than the moon, bigger than the moon but smaller than Earth, Smaller Than the Sun but bigger than Earth and, finally, bigger than the Sun. Students were quite surprised to find that some objects were bigger than they thought and that some objects were a lot smaller than they thought. It was very interesting. I also found a video, courtesy of Mr. Munro that nicely shows the sizes of objects in space and gives a little perspective both things we ahve talked about in Science.

We had a little disappointment today in regards to our tomatoes. When I came in this morning, a few of the seedlings had been pulled from the soil. I guess there had a been a group in the evening and some children had been using the other side of the room. We have fixed things up as best as we could and are continuing on with the experiment. None of the students know which were pulled out as I replaced them with extras I had. However, the students were very disappointed as was I. I have been very pleased to see our curious and excited the children have been to see their plants grow and this will defineatly be a project I will do again. We are almost ready to send in our results. Once our results are in, they will notify us as to which seeds were which. Very exciting!!!!

Don’t forget about the Spelling Bee next week. Students will be doing the in-class Bee on Tuesday. We have the field trip on Wednesday, the school Spelling Bee on Thursday. Another busy week ahead!