Friday, April 22, 2011

Scientists and Dancers

Scientific Inquiry

1. The green egg is empty.
2. The purple egg has marbles.
3. The green egg is lighter than the purple egg.

Making a Hypothesis:
What do you think will happen if we rolled an empty plastic egg and a plastic egg filled with marbles down the ramp?

1. The green one will reach the bottom faster.
2. The purple one will get there faster.
3. The empty egg will be fast because it is light and empty.
4. The egg with marbles will roll faster because marbles roll.
Results of the Experiment:
1. The purple egg with the marbles got down the ramp faster than the green egg.
2. The purple egg stayed on the ramp until it rolled away at the bottom. The empty green egg sometimes rolled off the ramp.
3. The color of the egg doesn't make it roll faster or slower.
4. The heavier egg gets down the ramp faster than the lighter egg.

Despite the short week, Utopians had their fill of dance instructors. We have a performing arts dance teacher who comes every Monday and encourages the children to make shapes with their bodies.
Children are challenged to make high and low shapes, tall and small figures, and soft and strong shapes. Audience members are expected to watch and comment on the performance. Thank you, Teacher Sonia.
To add variety, we have Teacher Ayla who also comes once a week to prepare the class for the Dance Festival of STM. If you have been hearing your child sing "a- hakama, haka-mana-para-tawa-nga-fa" while moving his hands, he is practicing the Maori alphabet and dance.
Save the dates:
May 26, Dance Festival at 5pm. Sample costume is on display in the classroom.
June 2, Field trip to the California Academy of Science

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shoe Design and Math

We had a very unconventional way of learning about mathematical concepts. We learned about graphing, sorting, comparing, finding the sum and difference of numbers, all with the use of shoes!
First, we sorted the shoes according to the way they fasten to the foot. We had several categories: zipper, toggle, elastic strap, velcro, buckle, and shoe laces.
Then, we counted how many pairs are in each category. From there, we compared the difference between velcro shoes to non-velcro shoes; laced shoes to zipper shoes; elastic straps to toggle. We also computed for the sum of shoes with buckles and shoes with no straps. If I have to say so myself, it was an ingenious way to teach and learn math!
Visiting Shoe Designer: Kari

Utopians were treated to a presentation from a real shoe designer. We learned that the mold to form a shoe is called a last.
The children got to see up close a firefighter's steel-toed boots. There is steel in the toebox!
Some also got to try the last with the fabric they decorated for their sandals. Did you know that sneakers were put in an oven!
Here is a sample of a sandal slipper sole that was traced last week.
The children had a myriad of accessories and fabrics to choose from to decorate the upper sole of the sandals.

With a little elbow grease from the teachers (the sides were hole-punched and then sewn to attach to the sole), ta-daaaaah! The sandal slipper is ready to be worn! My guess is this looks just like the very first shoes that Jimmy Choo created when he was 5!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Visiting Expert: Cycling Shoes

The week started with the children helping each other trace their feet on a piece of cardboard. Last week, they designed their shoe on paper and this week they started making the sole for the shoe. Hopefully, we'll have the completed shoe on display by next week.

Utopia was treated today by the visit of Gabriella's dad. He came as a visiting expert on cycling shoes. He came with two bikes, 2 sets of cycling shoes including cage pedals, and a wealth of knowledge regarding biking as a sport.
Here is a Utopia student making an observational drawing of the cage pedal.

Students also tried walking around wearing the cage pedals.

According to our shoe expert, the cage pedals evolved to what is now known as cycling shoe cleats.
Charlie had extra cleats (not attached to a shoe yet) for the children to make observational drawings of.
After the visit, the children concluded that Charlie's cycling shoes are like their regular shoes because his cycling shoes also have three straps. But unlike their sneakers, cycling shoes have cleats attached to the sole.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week of Footwear

Welcome to the Utopia shoe month. We had tons of fun activities for the kids this week.
First off, we arranged our slippers into two categories: soft slippers and rubber slippers. After arranging them, we compared the number of slippers. We used simple graph using post-it notes.
We also surveyed different shoe types - those with and without laces. We used the process of writing tally marks to get the correct total number. For this activity, the objective was to practice using the tally mark to represent an item. There were no two surveys that were the same, but we were focusing more on the process rather than the actual number of shoes.
Paint! We love colors in our footwear!
We also did fun art/design projects for the shoes.
Here is a copy of a tag that a child found still attached to a shoe. From this, the class learned about bar codes, sizes, and prices.
And we even put sticker prices on the shoes. Notice the dollar sign. This was something that was new to some children.
As you can see, we also spent time arranging the shoes - a section for children and for adults.
Here are some shoes with price tags
...and bar codes that the children hand-made and tagged on themselves.
Next week, we will create shoes using cardboard as soles. Buttons, beads, and findings will be used to decorate.

Our next project is designing our own flip-flops or old sneakers. Please bring flip-flops or old sneakers by Thursday, April 7. We'll provide materials to personalize footwear.

Picture day on Monday. No need to preorder. If you don't usually come to school on Mondays, and you are interested to have spring photos taken, you can still come just for the photo shoot.

Have a warm April ahead!