In science we have been building upon what the students learned last year about the regions of Georgia. In third grade we study the plants and animals that live in each region and the adaptations they have that allow them to survive in their habitat. Students worked in teams to research one region using books, video clips and websites. They learned how to take notes by jotting reminder phrases instead of copying sentences directly out of a book. They took their notes and created a drafts of slides they would make for a presentation about their habitat. We added a technology component to this project. Students learned how to sign into their personal Google account, access Google Drive, and use Google Slides to create a presentation. Students applied the habits of scholarship (collaboration, craftsmanship and perseverance) as they worked with their team to develop these presentations. Click on the links below to view their final products.
What else have we been up to? Check out the photos below!
One of the 3rd grade social studies standards is to "locate major topographical features of the United States." These features include the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains and 5 major rivers--Mississippi, Ohio, Hudson, Colorado, and Rio Grande. This week we used Google Earth to "travel" to each of these places, paying close attention to the states through which they pass.. Google Earth is a great tool because it uses satellite imagery to allow the user to pan, tilt and zoom in to any place on Earth. We also learned how to find "MIMAL" on the U.S. map. Ask your child to introduce you to MIMAL. You may find him to be very helpful.
Oh my, how quickly our first month of school has gone by! We have been getting to know one another, and establishing routines and procedures that will help us do our best learning this year. We did a few team building activities to build our collaboration skills. These activities fueled our discussions about how we can interact and work with each other. Collaboration is one of our Expeditionary Learning Habits of Scholarship.
Curriculum Spotlight: Building Math Fact Fluency
The Common Core Standards require third graders to have fact fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In the language of the standards, students should be able to "fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction" and "fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division."
Building number sense is critical to developing fact fluency. Marilyn Burns, a mathematics educator, describes students with strong number sense this way: “They can think and reason flexibly with numbers, use numbers to solve problems, spot unreasonable answers, understand how numbers can be taken apart and put together in different ways, see connections among operations, figure mentally, and make reasonable estimates."
In the classroom, students participate in number talks and play math games to help build number sense. Please take some time to watch the number talk videos under the Curriculum>Math section of our class website. I encourage you to give your child mental math problems to solve as you're riding in the car together. Ask your child to explain the strategy s/he used to solve the problem. Next week, students will bring home a math game called Capture 5 that we've been playing in the classroom. Look out for it in your child's blue Communication Folder. It's a fun way to help students learn how to take numbers apart and put them together in different ways. Family Math Game Night is great for building number sense!
And finally, for all of you academics out there, here's a link to an article regarding building number sense vs. rote memorization to build fact fluency.