Science– An overview of Term 2 learning experiences
This term the student’s learning experiences will be focused on the Science Understanding of Earth and Space Sciences and integrating with the whole school Mappen concept of CHANGE.
Year 1 Changes in the sky
Year one students will consider the changes in the night and day sky. Students will make predictions and scientific observations about the daily, weekly and seasonal changes that they observe in their local environment. They will use their understandings about day and night to make observations about the changes nocturnal animals make to adapt to their environments. I am waiting to hear from the Backyard Bandicoot project at Murdoch University as our resident Southern Brown Bandicoot is still inhabiting our bushland. I have invited Natasha Tay to make a presentation about bandicoots to the students.
Year 2 Night and Day
Year two students will consider the changes in the night and day sky. Students will make predictions and scientific observations about the daily, weekly and seasonal changes that they observe in their local environment. They will use their understandings about day and night to make observations about the Earth’s rotation, how shadows are formed and participate in role plays to show their learning. The Year 2 students will also commence the Seed Potatoes for Schools Project (an initiative through WA Potatoes) and plant their seed potatoes towards the end of term 2. WA Potatoes will support the students throughout this initiative.
Year 3 Earth, Sun and Moon
Year three students will explore the changes in size, shape, position and movement of the Earth, Sun and Moon. They will investigate how shadows change throughout the duration of the day and link this new knowledge to changes in the Sun’s apparent movement across the sky.
Year 4 Earth’s Place in Space
Through a unit on the Earth’s rotation the students will learn how the changing patterns in the sky relate to days, months and years. Students will understand how observation and models can be used to shape their ideas and understandings through hands on activities. Students will explore the changing face of the Moon, explore Aboriginal astronomy and investigate the changing Noonjar season of Makaru.
Year 5 The Earth’s Orbit
Students will learn about the concept of change through a unit about the Sun, Earth and Moon. Students will understand how observation and models can be used to shape their ideas and understandings through hands on activities. Students will investigate the light spectrum and explore the solar system by using Celestia and Stellarium (a planetarium app). Students will also share how Science for Human Endeavour impacts our lives by sharing articles from the Double Helix magazines.
Year 6 The Changing Earth’s Surface
Through the concept of Changethe students will understand the causes of earthquakes and how they change the Earth’s surface. Students will also learn how changesto our local water supply have benefits for the local population. As a Waterwise School, we have been invited to the Ground Water Replenishment Facility in Craigie on Tuesday 29 May to learn about the future initiatives of our water supply. The students will also have an incursion from Earth Sciences WA about ‘Chem Rocks’. Students will be investigating the chemistry of soils and testing lime to help out a farmer with their crop. Robogals an initiative from the University of WA will also be giving a robotics workshop to the Year 6 girls on Tuesday 22 May.
What you might like to do at home:
- Perhaps you could sit down and watch and discuss some space -related TV programs? There are some wonderful programs about stargazing currently on ABC TV.
- Maybe you could make some space models together at home?
- What do you know about bandicoots? Perhaps you could do a little research!
- Why not buy a Double Helix magazine online and read some articles?
- Why not go for a visit to the Planetarium at Scitech!
Last Friday the year 6 girls had a a Robogals incursion. Robogals offers technology workshops free-of-charge in their local communities, focusing on encouraging girls from primary to secondary school to explore an interest, as well as cultivate self-confidence, in these areas. Introducing female engineering students to girls at a young age also provides visibility to female role models, of which there is a significant deficit in the STEM field.
Aaron and Kim arrived with a case full of Lego Mindstorms robots and laptops. The session started with a presentation from Aaron about Robogals, STEM and the need in the community for females to study STEM courses. Then Kim explained to the girls about how to use ‘code’ to operate and control their robot.
The students made up teams of three and collected their equipment.
Our first challenge was to make the robot travel in a square.
Some of the students took the task seriously and even drew a rough plan.
Our Year 6 girls requested a group photo with Aaron and Kim from Robogals and with their robots. Mrs Cogger and the girls throughly enjoyed the incursion. We are sure that the visit has ‘sparked’ some interest in the girls considering STEM courses for a future career.
Ava and Mia created this iMovie about the incursion. Click on the link below.
Lastly Mrs Cogger would like to say that she arrived at school this morning and waiting on her desk was a lovely thank you card from the Year 6 girls. It made her day.
This term’s HABIT OF THE MIND FOCUS is METACOGNITION – or in other words ‘thinking about our thinking’ as we go about our learning.
Occurring in the neocortex, metacognition is our ability to know what we know and what we don’t know. It is our ability to plan a strategy for producing what information is needed, to be conscious of our own steps and strategies during the act of problem solving, and to reflect on and evaluate the productiveness of our own thinking. While “inner language,” thought to be a prerequisite, begins in most children around age five, metacognition is a key attribute of formal thought flowering about age eleven.
Probably the major components of metacognition are developing a plan of action, maintaining that plan in mind over a period of time, then reflecting back on and evaluating the plan upon its completion. Planning a strategy before embarking on a course of action assists us in keeping track of the steps in the sequence of planned behavior at the conscious awareness level for the duration of the activity. It facilitates making temporal and comparative judgments, assessing the readiness for more or different activities, and monitoring our interpretations, perceptions, decisions and behaviors. An example of this would be what superior teachers do daily: developing a teaching strategy for a lesson, keeping that strategy in mind throughout the instruction, then reflecting back upon the strategy to evaluate its effectiveness in producing the desired student outcomes.
Intelligent people plan for, reflect on, and evaluate the quality of their own thinking skills and strategies. Metacognition means becoming increasingly aware of one’s actions and the effect of those actions on others and on the environment; forming internal questions as one searches for information and meaning, developing mental maps or plans of action, mentally rehearsing prior to performance, monitoring those plans as they are employed–being conscious of the need for midcourse correction if the plan is not meeting expectations, reflecting on the plan upon completion of the implementation for the purpose of self-evaluation, and editing mental pictures for improved performance.
Interestingly, not all humans achieve the level of formal operations (Chiabetta, 1976). And as Alexander Luria, the Russian psychologist found, not all adults metacogitate (Whimbey, 1976). The most likely reason is that we do not take the time to reflect on our experiences. Students often do not take the time to wonder why we are doing what we are doing. They seldom question themselves about their own learning strategies or evaluate the efficiency of their own performance. Some children virtually have no idea of what they should do when they confront a problem and are often unable to explain their strategies of decision making (Sternberg and Wagner, 1982). When teachers ask, “How did you solve that problem; what strategies did you have in mind”? or, “Tell us what went on in your head to come up with that conclusion”. Students often respond by saying, “I don’t know, I just did it.’
‘When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself Plato’
We want our students to perform well on complex cognitive tasks. A simple example of this might be drawn from a reading task. It is a common experience while reading a passage to have our minds “wander” from the pages. We “see” the words but no meaning is being produced. Suddenly we realize that we are not concentrating and that we’ve lost contact with the meaning of the text. We “recover” by returning to the passage to find our place, matching it with the last thought we can remember, and, once having found it, reading on with connectedness. This inner awareness and the strategy of recovery are components of metacognition.
Last week Mr Greg Watson, lecturer of an Education, Service-Learning and Social Justice unit at Notre Dame University here in Perth, brought some of his Education students to visit St Emilie’s after doing the same in 2013.
Greg is very keen to give his students the opportunity of listening and speaking with staff and students here at St Emilie’s in regard to our primary school service-learning program and to hear what we are doing as a whole school in the social justice area.
Students from the early years to Year 6 met and chatted with our guests and we shared a summary document of all the different ways we work hard to promote justice in our school.
It was a very rewarding experience for all and our students once again did us very proud as they spoke confidently and enthusiastically about how they see our school vision for justice operating in our school and beyond into the wider world!
We also watched a tin in the staffroom. The boiling water inside the tin and the cold water poured over the tin helped it to shrink. We also watched when Mr Sayer tried to shrink a milo tin but it did not end up working. “It did not work because it was corrugated” said Jace.
Click here for some important parent tips for encouraging children in the Early Years to read: