Welcome back to school! I hope everyone kept warm and had a restful winter break! Students did lots of work on fossils this week. We watched two videos on fossil formation and what can be learned from fossils, like a dinosaurs age, students completed two reading comprehensions and we talked about different viewpoints on who should be allowed to own and keep fossils. Each viewpoint was presented and was discussed in small groups. Students need to state whether they agreed or disagreed with each viewpoint and give a detailed reason why they thought that. We worked on summarizing the viewpoints and writing in complete sentences which many found difficult. The viewpoints are listed below. Grade 4's will have a quiz on fossils and paleontology on Monday, January 15. Here is the study guide that was sent home on Monday:
This week we watched a video on the Badlands and did some journal writing. We read some more current articles on fossil discoveries as well as looked at how fossils are preserved so they can be displayed in museums. Students learned how advances in technology, like with 3D printing, have helped scientist and paleontologists share discoveries and information around the world. They also wrote a creative writing piece called "A Day in the Life of..." and either chose to write from the perspective of a paleontologist or a dinosaur! We finished reading our Kenneth Oppel book, "Silverwing," and began watching the video series. Lastly, students read a short informational text on predators vs. scavengers and how paleontologist proved that the T-Rex was in fact a predator.
School resumes Monday, January 8. I hope everyone enjoys their time off and comes back refreshed and ready to learn!
Students will have a quiz on fossils and paleontology on Monday, January 15.
We have continued to look at Alberta's fossil and dinosaur heritage. I read the students an article about a recent fossil discovery of a soft shelled creature similar to a lobster that was found near Banff. I wanted to show students that fossil discoveries are a current thing, that it isn't just focused around dinosaur bones and that paleontology is not dead, no pun intended! Students did two reading comprehensions, one on how glaciers have shaped the land which is significant in Alberta as well as one on different forms of fossils, like petrified wood and amber. They also finished their research on an Alberta dinosaur and began typing up a paragraph using the research they found. Lastly they created an art piece using q-tips and white glue to re-create their dinosaur skeleton!
Last week we started learning about Alberta's fossil heritage. We watched a video on how fossils are formed. Students learned that fossils don't have to be bones but can also be imprints like from a plant. In order for a fossil to form, something must die (or leave an imprint) and then be buried. Over millions of years, layers of dirt, mud, or tree sap cover the bone and the pressure forces the air out of the bone. Minerals in the dirt then fill the spaces in the bone and this results in the bone turning to stone or fossilizing. Students wrote in their journals about what they already knew about fossils, paleontology and dinosaurs as well as what they would like to learn about this topic. Later in the week, they used two websites to find information about paleontology and fossils. Students also had to answer some open-ended questions on why they think these topics are important to Alberta. On Thursday, each student found an Alberta dinosaur they wanted to research and printed out its skeleton to be used for an art project we are starting this week. Due to the PD Day on Friday and skiing on Tuesday, it was a short week. This week students will research their chosen Alberta dinosaur and write a paragraph to accompany an art piece we will start.
This week the students were busy creating their 3D models of a landform in Alberta. They also continued to refine their research strategies as they tried to isolate facts about at least 3 of these landforms. The landforms they researched were:
Rivers and Streams
Students can continue their research at home on these landforms. Finding specific facts will be really important. Can you name a few specific mountains or rivers? Do you know interesting facts about them? By find these we will continue to evolve our research skills.
On Monday students wrote their test on natural resources. All tests have been handed back to be signed and returned to school by a guardian. On Tuesday, students continued to learn about Alberta's National Parks. They were posed with the question: "should a new community be created in Banff?" We discussed the pros and cons of building new communities as well as the importance of National Parks. On Wednesday, students presented their viewpoint to the class. I could tell some students really practiced and listened to feedback as their presentation skills improved! Rubrics will be sent home today, Friday, November 24.
On Wednesday and Thursday we moved on to discussing 6 important landforms in Alberta and one man-made feature that dominates Alberta's landscape. These landforms are: hoodoos, rivers and lakes, the Rocky Mountains, Foothills, forests and prairies. The man-made item was an oil well or oil donkeys that can be seen in many places throughout Alberta. Students were shown pictures and had to try and identify each group of pictures and determine what they all had in common. They then made groups of 3 or 4 and worked on a plan to create a 3D model of one of the landforms. Students will begin building their landform on Monday and each group member needs to bring in specific supplies. I encouraged students to bring in found or recycled objects from home, like they did for their "Waste in our World" project, and not go out and buy things. The school will provide materials like: paint, paint brushes, glue, scissors, tape, very small amounts of plastercine and other small odds and ends. Below are some plans I am excited to see what the kids can create!
Banff’s Future: What Will We Decide?
Banff National Park is the oldest National Park in Canada. Real estate developers want Banff’s status as a National Park to be removed so that they may create new communities. Then more people would be able to enjoy the beauty of the area. Many people, however, are concerned about the effects these new communities will have on the environment.
A series of public town hall meetings have been planned in various communities across Alberta. Albertans have been invited to share their opinions about this issue at these meetings. You have decided to take a stand and prepare a presentation.
Your Presentation should:
It was a short week but students continued to work hard. Both classes presented their first persuasive writing piece to the class on fracking. All students have received their rubric, please ensure you sign and return it to school. We moved on to discussing National Parks. Canada has 42 National Parks, 5 of which are in Alberta. Wood Buffalo, Elk Island, Banff, Jasper and Waterton have unique and varied features and are located throughout the province. Grade 4's did some writing on their understanding of the parks as well as their importance. Next week, they will write their second persuasive writing piece in relation to their learning about National Parks.
Remember that on Monday, November 20, students have a quiz on natural resources. They study guide was sent home on Monday, November 13 but can also be found below.
Mr. Baker and I are looking forward to meeting you at Parent Teacher Interviews and hope that you enjoy your long weekend!
On Monday and Tuesday we continued to discuss Alberta's natural resources. Students watched a Bill Nye video on "Rivers and Stream" and did some journal writing on the video. Students are still working on building their stamina for writing by continuing to try and write at least 10 sentences each time. We also talked about the oil boom and the discovery of oil in Leduc in 1947. I showed a simplified process of how we get oil out of the ground and the alternative we used before oil and gas. On Wednesday and Thursday we began an assignment on fracking. We watched videos that explained the fracking process as well as the pros and cons of fracking. Students asked lots of questions related to fracking. We created a pros and cons list of fracking. The students were then asked to write a paragraph on their viewpoint about fracking. They needed to chose a position and support their viewpoint in a detailed paragraph that used facts and reasons from what we have learned. On Monday, each Grade 4 will read their argument to the class. They do not need to hand in a good copy of their written piece.