Skip links

Life Cycles, Domains and Field Trips

Greetings everyone!

I hope this finds you well and glad.

While the weather has been getting warmer and the days longer, Grades 4 & 5 have been busy further exploring their Central Idea of Life Cycles. In this blog entry we will consider what we did in relation to our Lines of Inquiry (L.O.I.), our field trip to Chausuyama Zoo, our Class Reader, “The One and Only Ivan” and our first steps with Singapore Math for this school year.

Following on from last month’s Deep Time Walk, we decided to evidence our understanding of the process in the form of a short creative movie. The students were very excited by this project. We initially divided into three groups, based around interests related to the movie. These groups became focused on story-telling/script-writing and prop-making. After several weeks of research, discussions and re-writes we eventually had our script, as well as various characters to tell our story.

After reading through the script together, we decided that it would be quicker and easier to complete our movie project by breaking it into sections with dedicated groups working on each segment. New groups were created for the purposes of filming and so we got busy with cameras in hands and ideas in our heads to be made real.

It turned out to be slightly more difficult than some of the class members may have initially thought. From how to use a camera for filming, to rendering the written word onto screen, to boredom, to creative disagreements to not fully understanding the subject matter. It was quite the scientific/creative roller-coaster. Nonetheless, as I type the overall movie is complete with a few last flourishes to be added purely for good measure and artistic license.

We look forward to sharing it with you soon.

Further related to this project and unit, we enjoyed a 1/2 day trip to Matsumoto Science Museum, where we were treated to a short movie about the history of Earth, dinosaurs and Aurora Borealis. After the movie, we enjoyed a guide to the night sky and the various celestial bodies that are currently visible.

Finally we had time to enter the Science Room, where everyone got their hands and brains busy with lots of good clean kinetic fun.

On May 10th, we enjoyed an all day field trip to Chausuyama Zoo. We were blessed with warm and clear weather and the students were in good spirits throughout the day.

After arriving at the zoo, we walked around briefly and enjoyed checking out the various animals.

We then had a private session petting guinea pigs. I think this was a highlight for many of the class members, as the guinea pigs were very cute and seemed more than used to being petted. Even if they did manage to poop on some of the students!

Next we had lunch and enjoyed playing outside.

After lunch we were treated to 2 private presentations by zoo staff.

Firstly, lions.

And then giraffes.

We also got to feed the giraffes, which proved popular with everyone.

Everyone was much quieter on the return to school. A sign of good day perhaps?

Upon, returning to school the following week, we were tasked with creating slide-show presentations about the various animals we encountered at the zoo and, what could we learn about their life cycles. Students were introduced to the concepts of gestation periods, lifespans and mortality.

After giving the slideshow presentations, a number of suggestions were given by myself with regards to how they could improve them. The students duly noted and their revised presentations will be shared shortly online.

We also found time to continue reading, The One and Only Ivan. It has been refreshing to listen to the students’ interpretations of the story, as well as character backgrounds and motivations. It has also been encouraging hearing students speak up more in class, as well as volunteering to read more too. We will hopefully find time in the next few weeks to watch the movie version of the book.

Also this month, Singapore Math. The students are continuing to work at their own pace. While some of the members evidently enjoy math, while others not so much, they have all been making an effort to engage with math in English language. It is always enjoyable to see them realizing that they already understand the process in another language, and it is merely the English terminology they are unfamiliar with. As of next week, we will begin to create more goals for ourselves with regards to completing more units and evidencing our understanding.

In the latter part of the month, we took time out from our busy classroom activities to get busy in the rice field. Yes, this year’s planting took place in late May and our well-seasoned G4 & 5 farmers took it all in their stride, as they got muddy and sun-kissed in the our Gojo paddy.

Takizawa sensei led the session once again, accompanied by his kind and generous parents. We thank them once again for helping us to enjoy the cycle of sustenance.

Somewhat coincidentally, next week, we also begin our new unit, Nutrition (and plants).

As always, thank you for your continued involvement and support.

Till next time, best regards and good health.