Sunday, October 27, 2013

A review of our Apple Unit (science, writing and math)

At our school the Kindergarten Team decided to do a Kindergarten Blog for all of the parents as a way to boost parent communication.  We are lucky enough to plan together and use the data we gather through our assessments to plan out broad goals for our Kindergarten classes.  Although we do differentiate for each of our kids needs, we do want to be consistent in the language we use and we want to make sure all of the students are exposed to major concepts.  This has worked out very well for us this year.  We also have several sets of twins this year who are in different Kindergarten classrooms and having the same family projects/newsletters and the same pacing for major concepts this has helped keep those families from going crazy!  I hope you part of the post to our families that I have posted below.  I will try to put more of these up for your review!  Thanks for following me.  I would really appreciate it if you would "follow" me.  I would love to reach 100 followers this year.  I will put my TPT store on sale and give away free products when I do reach 100.  I know many of you check the blog often, but have not followed yet.  Check back for a new freebie this week.  Thanks for your support.  Leave a comment with your blog and I will come visit and follow you back!  I love networking/learning and supporting each other in this wonderful blog world!  Enjoy! 

We used the Apple Unit to introduce the students to many science concepts.  Using our five senses to gather data (explore) the apples is a fun and meaningful way for young children to start understanding that science is all around us and that we use science each and every day.  We hope you enjoy this peek into our school day.

We used the apples you sent in to introduce the children to the concept of estimation.  The children estimated how many seeds would be inside of an apple.  We wrote down their estimation, cut open the apple, pulled out the seeds and counted them.  We compared our estimations to the actual number of seeds we found inside the apple.  We then tried this again with another apple and found that different apples have different numbers of seeds in them.  We also talked about how the seeds, when planted, grow into new apple seeds.  (Ms. Arrendale's Class)

We used our new knowledge of color words to create these little apple color word readers.  We had to practice following multi-step directions to cut out and assemble the books.  We also had to look closely at the color words to know what color the apples had to be on each page so the illustration matched the text.  We had a lot of fun making these books and even more fun reading them! (Ms. Allen's Class).  

In each class the students practiced their listening skills by creating apple glyphs.  You should be able to tell a lot about the child by how they colored and put together their apples.  Each leaf represents the number of brothers/sisters or if they are an only child (orange leaf).  The stem lets you know what hand they write with.  The color of the worm tells you if they are a boy or a girl.  The color of the apple tells you their age.  This is a great activity that lets the children strengthen hand and finger strength/dexterity (critical for letter formation and proper pencil grip), listening to and follow directions both verbal and written (critical for speaking and listening skills in all academic and social areas), hand-eye coordination while gluing and placing objects on the paper (needed for illustrating their writing and spacial awareness) and many more objectives that are needed for building strong language skills.

We also used the  apples in each class to have a taste test.  We compared and contrasted the apples noting how they were alike and different.  We then voted on which apple we liked the most.  We graphed which apple we liked and did not like.  We then learned how to read the graph so we could figure out which apple our classroom liked the most.  We were introduced to math vocabulary such as least, most, largest, biggest, smallest, equal and same.  We were also encouraged to participate in logical reasoning by justifying why we choose the red, green or yellow apple as our favorite.  This led to lots of discussion especially when someone disagreed with our choice of favorite apple.  (Ms. De Stefano's Class)

In some of the classes we had time to experiment with our apples.  In this experiment we guessed if an apple would sink or float.  We then had to justify or explain why we though it would sink or why we thought it would float.  The moment of truth was when we placed the apple into a tub of water and found out that it would float.  The students had many great ideas on why it floated.  Don't forget to ask your child open-ended questions to learn more about how they think.  Some of their answers were amazing (such as the water weighs more than the apple so it hold the apple up).  

In each classroom we did many math experiments with our apples.  In this math experiment we measured the circumference of the apple by using a piece of paper or string and then placing the paper or string on a ruler and measuring how many inches it was around the apple.

Using technology in the classroom is a common core state standard (you may be hearing about this in the news).  We use the smart board to let the students learn how to move objects, play games, learn math and science concepts, watch nature videos (we watched a video on the life cycle of an apple) and create words.  This was a Smart-board Game on sorting apples.

This is the Apple Chart Ms. Boatright's class made after completing their math and science experiments on their apple.  You can see how many ways they measured, explored, gathered data and recorded their observations when experimenting with their apple.  It is our job in Kindergarten to expose the students to skills they will master in later grades.  Teaching them to chart their observations and refer back to the information so they can apply what they learned to future experiments is a critical foundation skills.  You will see lots of these types of charts in each classroom.  The students can now look at this chart and remember key details about their apple, new math concepts and new science concepts.  This is a skill they will need when they get older and start taking notes. (Ms. Boatright's Class)

We hope this will help to spark conversation with your student next time you ask them what they did in school and they reply that they did nothing or they can't remember.  Look for more posts showing you how and what we are learning in the weeks to come.