Friday, 28 February 2014


Our school has such a fantastic Parents Association.  Last year, amongst other things, they supported the science and technology room by funding the purchase of lots of new tools and work tables - these have been great!

They also purchased eight sets of Imaginz.  These are big yellow boxes full of fun, creativity, construction, team work and problem solving.  I've been fortunate today to open the boxes with a few boys to explore and see what they can do!  We only had a short amount of time but it didn't take long for the Year Three boys to work out how to put things together.  We had a blast!  What an amazing resource.  The boys were really excited and were rather disappointed when it was time to pack up.  They were having tonnes of fun, I'm not too sure if they noticed all of the learning that was happening but it was just magic to see them go from not knowing anything to tinkering and trying things out to see what would happen.   The problem solving and teamwork was fantastic.  I can't believe how fortunate we are to have this in our school and I can't wait for myself and the boys to really get stuck in and go for it!

The YouTube clip shows you all about what the kits are all about.

Imaginz the joy of making

Juniors making the most of it!

The Year Three's have finished their sessions in the science room for this term and what a great time they've had!  After learning about floating and sinking, they built boats and applied their new learning to make sure they made an evenly balanced boat and one that would float well.  They tried them out in the pool.  The weather wasn't great so it was a rather rushed attempt.  Hopefully the boys will take them home make some modifications and improvements and try them out in the bath!

They also learnt how to use the scroll saws and cut out shapes for their coat pegs in the cloak room.  They stuck on various shapes and then they were spray painted.  The boys were rapt with how they turned out and they have certainly brightened up the cloak room.

Great job Year Three!

New Discoveries

Now its the turn of Year One to explore and investigate floating and sinking.  It's great to see their curiosity and willingness to have a play and make new discoveries.

After we tested out our objects, we grouped them according to what they did in the water.  Boys then shared their ideas about what features each group had in common.  This really got them thinking and using interesting language.

Well done Year One!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cicada Song

Chorus cicada

We've been watching and listening to the cicadas in our back garden.  The other night we had four fly into our house during the night, our new kitten thought that was great fun chasing and leaping around after them at 5.15am!
We started wondering about the cicadas.  How do they make their sound?  How long do they live below and above ground?  It was great to see our five year old wondering and making some pretty good guesses about what she thought happened.
Here's a link to Te Ara Encyclopedia and its got some good, easy to understand information on cicadas just in case your kids are wondering too.  Just click on the picture.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Making the Learning their Own

One of the most satisfying things about teaching science is when kids come to school and share with me what they have done at home.  To hear from or about a boy who has obviously been excited by what we've done in class, gone home and shared what we've talked about and then done his own exploring and investigation makes my day!
Yesterday, Nelson in Year 3C turned up to science with an interesting shell from home.  He explained to me that he had managed to get it to both sink and float at home.  He took over the role of teacher and showed the class what he had done.  Together we thought of ways to stop it sinking and he used some of our playdough to block up the parts where he could see the water entering from.  Just great!

Thanks Nelson for sharing your investigation!

We also had a an interesting lesson learning about density and upthrust.  We talked about making our boats and how we had to make sure they weren't dense and what else we could do to make sure they floated well. Using playdough, the boys experimented with trying to construct a playdough boat that would float.  Many of the boys found this difficult but a few found success!

The Year three's have also been designing and are beginning to make their own peg label.  This year, they've been given a piece of customwood which they've had to shape using our scroll saws.  This has been a great learning opportunity and for many of them, they had to overcome their fear of using a large, noisy saw.  Next week we'll be finishing these off so look back then.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Floating and Sinking with Year 3

Our new school year has begun.
Being the summer term it's great to make the most of the sunshine, warm weather and our school pool! This week both year three classes have begun exploring and learning about floating and sinking.  We started our lesson by watching the story 'Who Sank the Boat?' by Pamela Allen and this led to some great discussion about what is floating and what is sinking?  Will the boat stay floating if it is sitting down very low in the water?  Why did the boat sink when the mouse got in? What does sinking mean?  What makes something float?  What makes something sink?

Who Sank The Boat from Jeff Keith on Vimeo.

The classes shared their ideas about things they know that float and things that sink.  We made some excellent predictions about the everyday objects I had gathered.  Then we went outside and conducted our own investigation into floating and sinking.  It was great to see some of the boys surprised at what floated and we then experimented with the way we dropped the object into the water, on its side, upside down etc.  The boys were surprised to see that this sometimes made a difference!

After our experimenting we grouped the  objects according to whether or not they floated or sank.  Then we shared our ideas about what the objects in each group had in common.  The boys began to form some good ideas about what makes an object float.
We soon ran out of time.  Next week we're going to learn about density and up thrust and begin to make our rubber band powered boats.