Saturday, December 10, 2016

Revising our Thinking

This week in 4L, we spent a substantial amount of time focused on why revision is important, no matter what we are studying. In Unit, we revised our thinking about whether or not living things need to change to survive. In math, we revised our thinking as we focused on using estimation to evaluate whether our solutions made sense. In writing, we moved from drafting to revising in our process.

In Unit this week, we continued to investigate our 3rd line of inquiry about enduring species. To further our understanding of the idea of evolution, we used Lego toys and built a 'Lego Tree of Life'. 

The students got into groups of 3-4 and created one simple 'animal' with 3 Lego blocks. This was Time 0. 

Migle, Steven and Yigit share their Time 0 animal

Shourya, Rojus, Gerda and Benas show their Time 0 creation

Each group got a set of cards. These cards dictated what happened during each time period. The cards said one of the following:
  • Mutation: Change a body part
  • Mutation: Add a body part
  • Mutation: Subtract a body part
  • Split: Mountain range or River divided the habitat
  • Extinction
Students built the model of their tree with Lego and connected ancestors with straws. They also documented the tree on paper in case any of the Legos needed to be removed and used for future generations.

Krista, Antanas, Eva and Aleksandras think through what is happening in their family tree

'Lego Family Tree' up close

We moved through 5-6 time periods and then stopped and summarised what we noticed using these questions:
  • How different are the end animals from the common ancestor?
  • Pick a branch of your evolutionary tree and describe the pattern in the animal traits. (Try comparing them to species that are not descended from the same ancestor)
  • Why would it be good to have different features? (tails, wings, long necks, legs, etc?)
  • Why might the animal have gone extinct?
  • How long do you think it would take to go from the top to the bottom of the evolutionary tree?
Liza, Basel and Elena discuss and reflect on their 'family tree'

We then began to explore 'SO WHAT?' What was the big idea or what did we take away from this activity? The students worked in their small groups once again to share their personal learning. Some groups came up with one enduring understanding, while others shared each member's thinking. 

Antanas explains his thinking when we consider...SO WHAT? What did this activity teach us?

Rojus, Gerda, Benas and Shourya discuss their big ideas or enduring understandings

This sharing sparked very a rich, in-depth roundtable discussion where students connected back to living fossils, natural selection and invasive species. They connected, inferred, and drew conclusions to discover deeper learning about enduring species. It was an exciting conversation to behold! 

See our conversation HERE

We also got to learn with Mr.Jos again this week! Last week we learned about birds mostly from desert habitats. This week we learned about birds from a variety of habitats. We connected each bird's features to their diet, predators and habitats. Mr.Jos never fails to amaze us with strange and peculiar facts about birds of the world. This time we even learned about some that live right here in Lithuania! 

Mr.Jos shows us a monkey that shares an ecosystem and habitat with birds of the rainforest

Here Mr.Jos explains about ultimate disguises like this butterfly that looks exactly like an old, dry leaf!

In writing this week, we went back to our writing process graphic. We realised we had spent a lot of time planning and drafting, so we thought it was time to move to the revision stage. 

4L's original Writing Process chart with added revisions as we've gone thorough the process

An interesting conversation prompted us to explore the difference between revision and editing. We then brainstormed some ways we might revise our writing. We implemented peer conferences to solicit feedback on our work. 

Krista seeks feedback from Elena regarding her writing 

Benas shares his feedback with Antanas regarding his writing

The feedback here was that the falling action seemed too swift- so the revision begins

We are now in various stages of the writing process where some of us are drafting, while others are revising and still others are typing out those drafts for editing. 

Steven and Yigit conference as Veronika and Eva draft on paper, while Shourya begins his second draft on the computer

In mathematics this week, we continued to work with multiplication and division. We wrote a blog post about Number Talks where we shared our favourite or most successful mental math strategies for multiplication and subtraction. 

One of the quietest times we experienced in 4L this week was blog time! 

We spent one number talk reviewing our subtraction strategies and were delighted when one of our classmates shared a new strategy we had never tried! Our confidence continues to grow as we build understanding of why we use certain numbers as opposed to simply plugging them in and completing algorithms. 

Aleksandras shares his strategy for subtraction and "blows our minds" as we try more examples off to the side to see if this method will work for any problem with any amount we choose to take away

The student request this new, user-friendly strategy be added to our subtraction strategy chart and Aleksandras achieves one of his math goals! 

We also moved into measurement. We practiced measuring in US standard measurement so we could get some practice with fractions. We measured distances around the globe and used a map scale to calculate distances in real life. 

Migle and Aleksandras guide Yigit and Shourya through how to measure and calculate the distance from Washington, D.C. to Tokyo, Japan

We also worked with solving number stories by using these 5 steps:
1. Understand the problem
2. Plan what to do
3. Carry out the Plan
4. Look back

The students participated in the Hour of Code this week. While some of them were just beginning to understand this concept, others demonstrated that they are very adept at coding and are currently using their skills to build games or programs for their Passion Projects. 

Mr.Thibault assists Sofia and Gerda in their coding challenges

Basel swiftly moves through his first coding challenge before moving on to more complex coding

Genius Hour continues to be a success. Most of us are making steady progress in our inquiries as we continue to work on developing our 21st century skills. 

Antanas, Krista, Veronika, Eva and Steven continue to progress on their Passion Projects
Migle tests a new type of plane - this time applying research skills to create the farthest flying plane

Sofia and Gerda use the beats they've created using software they found to practice singing the song they've written together

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