As part of our fall expedition the students have been studying the human impact on the environment. Last Thursday Dr. Luber, an epidemiologist and the Associate Director of Climate Change at the CDC came to Westchester and taught the students about the effects of climate change on the earth and on human health. The students learned about the relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming, and brainstormed things they can do to make positive environmental changes.
On Friday, Ms. Allison from the Wylde Center led all of the third grade students down to the creek to study the water quality. She and Mr. Blackburn, an expert from the EPA, taught the students about how to determine the health of a water system and the importance of clean water in local communities.
Thank you to all the parents who volunteered to escort small groups of students down to the creek. Thanks to David Harry (Lawton's dad) for taking and sharing the pictures below.
We simulated an oil spill using water, vegetable oil, and cocoa powder. The students worked in teams to design a plan to clean up the oil using sponges, cotton balls, spoons, and Dawn dishwashing detergent.
This week we began our multiplication and division unit. This is a new unit for 3rd graders and they are very excited about it. Research shows that students learn math concepts best using a 3-step framework called the concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) approach. During the initial stage of introducing a new skill, students use concrete objects to physically model the concept. Once there is a solid understanding of why and how the concept works, students move into the representational stage where they turn the concrete models into pictures. Finally, in the abstract stage, students learn the algorithm that symbolizes the concept using numbers and mathematical symbols. Entering the abstract stage too soon prevents students from developing a deep understanding of the mathematical process. As we begin our multiplication unit, we are moving slowly using the CRA approach so that students' brains can make connections between what they already know about numbers (skip counting, making equal groups, doubles) and the new concepts they're learning. There's more to multiplication than just memorizing the facts!