After studying how animals adapt to the changing seasons, the students were curious about why we have different seasons. We started researching this topic together. In our first mini lesson, the students learned that the earth travels around the sun. The sun spins on its axis once every 24 hours. By spinning this way, we experience day and night. The students also learned that the earth makes one complete trip around the sun every year. One student shared that he had experienced this trip 4 times in his life! The students learned that the earth is on a tilt of 32 degrees. As it travels around the sun when it is most tilted towards the sun we experience summer and when the area where we live is most tilted away from the sun we have winter. The students had the opportunity to pretend to be the sun and use a flashlight to create day and night. Some students tilted their bodies as they acted as the earth and traveled around the sun to create the different seasons.
In our sensory bins the students had the chance to play with a mini solar system. One student was overheard dropping a marble and explaining to another student how the reason this marble dropped was because of a force called gravity. This pulls all things in the atmosphere to the earth. In this kinesthetic play the students were also introduced to the concept of 3D solids. They learned that the shape of the earth was called a sphere.
As we collectively made our weekly batch of playdough the students had the opportunity to study the surface of the earth. As they have been learning our continents song for the past couple of weeks they reviewed the idea that the land on earth was divided into 7 continents. They built the water around these continents with our blue playdough.
To extend their knowledge of 3D solids the students learned a new math song called geometric shapes. They were introduced to the attributes of the following shapes: a sphere, a cube, a cylinder, a cone, a pyramid and a rectangular and triangular prism. Students were given the opportunity to explore these shapes by building them out of marshmallows and toothpicks. They explored cubes in our base-ten blocks and practiced their counting skills.
Students also played with 3D solids during building time. They made ramps and towers for different spheres such as marbles and wooden balls.