IMG_2685-cropped This project is a follow-up to Rama Central's "Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife," which received second prize and a $2,000. grant in the 2015 Our Canada Project Award competition. This is an earlier blog post that describes the wildlife food drive and award:

In consultation with local wildlife rehabilitators, we decided to invest our $2,000. award in materials to construct wooden sleeping boxes for orphaned squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks and opossums, being raised for release back into the wild. We had Orillia Home Hardware supply us with the pre-cut plywood, hardware and glue to construct 96 squirrel boxes and 5 opossum boxes. IMG_2485 The Grade 7 and Grade 8 classes took the lead on this project. They helped organized the materials, learned how to construct boxes, and shared their knowledge and skill with students in Grades 3-6. IMG_2504IMG_2508 Tools, hardware, gloves, and a "practice box" under construction: IMG_2510 Grade 7 and 8 students learning how to make boxes, on gym workshop Day 1: IMG_2532 IMG_2546 IMG_2533 IMG_2545 IMG_2548Our class building boxes with the Grade 8's, on gym workshop Day 2: IMG_2634 IMG_2637IMG_2640 IMG_2642 IMG_2643 After they learned how to construct boxes from the Grade 8's, students in our Grade 5 class constructed some boxes on their own, back in the classroom: IMG_2664 IMG_2665
IMG_2667IMG_2669 IMG_2671 Students were invited to autograph the bottoms of boxes they had constructed: IMG_2563 IMG_2561 This photo depicts about 70 finished squirrel boxes, being stored temporarily in one of the change rooms attached to the gym:IMG_2686 Mrs. Black offered to deliver twelve sleeping boxes (the most the would fit in her car) to each of four local wildlife rehabilitation centres, over four weekends. The wildlife sanctuaries have been asked to send someone to the school to pick up the balance of their boxes. logos IMG_2623 Box Shipment #1 went to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, near Pefferlaw: IMG_2629 Our boxes will be used to protect orphaned squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks and opossums from the elements, until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. This is one of our squirrel boxes, mounted in a "pre-release enclosure" at Shades of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary: IMG_2632 Box Shipment #2 went to Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, near Minden: IMG_0307 This little Flying Squirrel, who is overwintering at Woodlands, gave our boxes her seal of approval! flyer-box IMG_0317 flyer

Box Shipment #3 went to Procyon Wildlife, near Beeton:

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Box Shipment #4 was delivered to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, near Rosseau:

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This is a video of the Shelters project that our class made, for Learning for a Sustainable Future:

This is coverage of our Shelters project on CTV Barrie news:

ctv-barrie-screencaphttp://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=819830&binId=1.1272429&playlistPageNum=1

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We want to thank Learning for a Sustainable Future and the RBC Foundation, for making this project possible. We also want to give a HUGE shout-out to Wayne and Tom (pictured), and Bill, at Orillia Home Hardware. They did an absolutely stellar job pulling all the materials together for us. That included pre-cutting, packing and delivering the wood for 96 squirrel boxes and 5 opossum boxes! IMG_2661

The Orillia Home Hardware team also offered to host a display that Mrs. Black made in the store foyer, over the March Break:
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Last but not least, we couldn't have assembled 96 squirrel boxes so quickly and painlessly without the assistance of our amazing Grade 7 and 8 teachers, Mr. Westcott and Mrs. Ross, and their students!  Thank you all!!! IMG_2658 (T-shirts courtesy of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge)

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

Last week, our class participated in "The Hour of Code," an initiative aimed at providing school children, world-wide, with experience writing computer code. Students watched the following video and then worked through various tutorials on the code.org/learn website, or for tablets at studio.code.org

Students LOVED the opportunity to learn about how computer programs are written, and to change the way characters and components of games behave. Here are some pictures from our class' Hour of Code experience:

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This is what some of the students in our class had to say about Hour of Code:

Z.M.
I like Hour of Code, because it is fun and it makes you feel like a computer wiz. It is fun to rig games to get lots of points. Hour of Code is awesome!

J.S.
Hour of Code is the best, because you get to program games!

B.L.
I think that the Hour of Code was so cool, because you can make the game funny or weird. It is also awesome, because it is fun learning about how computer games really work.

S.T.
Hour of Code was cool, especially because you can "code" your own game!  🙂

J.M.
Hour of Code is a great way for children around the world to learn computer programming. It is fun for all ages. I enjoyed creating and personalizing games.

B.W.
I think the Hour of Code is wicked awesome because I got to create my own game!

A.M.
I like Hour of Code because you can design your own game. Then you can play it and change it. 

L.B.
I think Hour of Code is fun because you can program the game, and so it is a lot like creating your own game. 

B.T.
I like Hour of Code because it can express your computer-science-y imagination. You can control the character of YOUR game, and do whatever YOUR heart desires!

R.K.
I think it is a good experience to code your own game. I love it! It makes me feel like a real programming guy.

M.M.
Hour of Code is a game to learn computer codes. It is an awesome learning game. When I got home, I ran straight to my computer and played again. BEST GAME EVER!

This morning, students in our class used their experience with Hour of Code to mentor the children in Mrs. Wilson's Kindergarten class. The Grade 5's taught  four and five year olds how they could write computer code. Students, big and small, really enjoyed this experience!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

 

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After students in our class shared their Science and Social Studies projects with each other, we invited the Grade 2 class to a second Science/Social Studies Fair, to learn about the topics we have been studying. Grade 4 students shared their knowledge of Ancient Civilizations and Grade 5's explained how inventors have used what they know about the properties of matter to create amazing products that we use in our everyday life.

Here are some photos from the fair we put on for younger students (click on any photo to enlarge it):

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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On Tuesday, April 22nd, our class participated in three curriculum-based learning activities in celebration of Earth Day.

In the morning, we engaged in an activity about decision making, and discussed how our decisions can impact lives and influence the decisions of others. Mrs. Black modeled these concepts, by "saving a turtle" on Earth Day (making a donation to the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, in Peterborough), and inviting her friends to follow suit, via Social Media. She then invited students to focus their next writing project (persuasive letters) on encouraging local businesses to donate supplies to the turtle centre. The class was very excited about the prospect of engaging in persuasive writing that is "for something," instead of just an academic exercise. Kids can and want to make a difference! (More about this project to follow, in a future BLOG post.)

kttc-logohttp://www.kawarthaturtle.org

loraxNext, we read "The Lorax," a book that was published in 1971 and is even more relevant today. We discussed some of the problems that occurred in the story, as a result of one character's decisions, and engaged in a lively class debate. During our debate, half of the class assumed the perspective of the industrialist (The Once-ler) and the other half assumed the perspective of the environmentalist (The Lorax). Students soon discovered that there were no easy answers, and that it was hard enough to get others to consider a different perspective, let alone change their minds.

In the afternoon, students in our class served as role models by assisting Mrs. Turnbull's Grade 1 class with a school yard nature hunt. Students found living and non-living things on the yard that were common and uncommon, interesting and surprising. They also learned the terms "flora" and "fauna." Here are the students in action (click on any photo to enlarge it):

2014-04-22 001Heading out on our Earth Day nature scavenger hunt!

Later in the week, when the yard was dry, we went out to do a big yard clean-up with the other two Junior classes:

It's amazing how much litter accumulates on our schoolyard over the winter!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

In addition to studying Biodiversity (Grade 6) and The Characteristics and Needs of Living Things (Grade 1), this fall the Science Buddies are also studying  Electricity (Grade 6) and Conservation of Energy (Grade 1).

Today, the Grade 1's and 6's got together to play a game in which the group identified activities that save and waste energy.  Part of the game involved having buddies cross under a limbo bar, which was raised if a buddy-pair chose a card listing an activity that saves energy and lowered if a buddy-pair chose a card listing an activity that wastes energy.

The students learned some important lessons about conservation of energy and had a lot of fun in the process!

Today’s learning activity was part of Lesson I in The David Suzuki Foundation’s publication, “Connecting with Nature:  An educational guide for grades four to six,” which is keyed to the Ontario Science Curriculum.  This document can be downloaded for free at:  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/connecting-with-nature-education-guide/

Science Buddies will not be meeting again until November/December, at which time the Grade 6's will invite the Grade 1's to help them explore electric circuits using batteries and bulbs, and build birdhouses as an outreach project related to the Grade 1 Characteristics and Needs of Living Things unit.

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

Today, the Grade 6 students met with their Grade One Science Buddies for another outdoor session.  The objective of today's field work was to celebrate the biodiversity that exists within our schoolyard.  Students started by completing a nature scavenger hunt.  They looked for a wide variety of habitats, plants, insects, spiders, birds and mammals on the yard.

After the scavenger hunt was complete, the Grade 6 students each took a field guide and looked up information about a species he or she found on the yard.  The Grade 6's then read that information to their Grade 1 buddies.

The final part of our biodiversity celebration involved drawing the species that Grade 1 and 6 buddies had read about in the field guides.

Today’s outdoor session was adapted from Lesson G in The David Suzuki Foundation’s publication, “Connecting with Nature:  An educational guide for grades four to six,” which is keyed to the Ontario Science Curriculum.  This document can be downloaded for free at:  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/connecting-with-nature-education-guide/

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

This week, the Grade 6 students met with their Grade 1 Science Buddies twice, to conduct field observations.

SESSION 2

On Tuesday, we we began an experiment to find out what types of waste items break down into soil fastest and slowest, in a garbage dump.  We donned germ-proof gloves and picked up trash from the lower field and "bush" area of the schoolyard.

Next we met as a group to inventory the trash we had collected.  We chose a variety of items and buried them in soil around the edge of a plastic container.  We labelled each buried item with a popsicle stick.

Then we disposed of the trash we collected in the schoolyard and took our "classroom landfill project" indoors.  Over the coming months, we will revisit our project from time-to-time to see what items are disintegrating and what items are not.

 

SESSION 3

On Wednesday, we met on the front lawn of the school to discuss the role of pollinators in our environment.  The Grade 6 students did a great job role-playing various types of pollinators and the Grade 1's had fun guessing who they were.

Afterwards, we went on a "pollinator safari" in the school's Pollination Garden.  We saw moths, bees, wasps, beetles and a grasshopper.

The bumble bees were actively moving from flower to flower, drinking nectar and spreading pollen!

This week’s outdoor sessions were Lessons E and F in The David Suzuki Foundation’s publication, “Connecting with Nature:  An educational guide for grades four to six,” which is keyed to the Ontario Science Curriculum.  This document can be downloaded for free at:  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/connecting-with-nature-education-guide/

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

This year, the Grade 6 students at Rama Central P.S. are teaming up with the Grade 1 students in Mrs. Turnbull's class for some outdoor learning activities.  We met for the first time today, to study the Characteristics and Needs of Living Things (Grade 1) and Biodiversity (Grade 6) that exists in our schoolyard.  The Grade 6 class supplied several bins of equipment and field guides, to facilitate our outdoor survey.

Grade 6 students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be mentors and helpers to their Grade 1 partners.  Partnering with older students allowed Grade 1 students to explore the yard in a more extensive manner than they would have been able to do on their own.  During our field session, students made notes and collected specimens (which were later returned to the places where they were captured).

When we met back together as a large group, we brainstormed words that student pairs felt answered the question "What is Nature?"  We also formed a circle and passed around all the bug keepers, so everyone could see the amazing variety of worms, insects and spiders, etc., that were found on our yard.

We plan to get together with our Grade 1 Science Buddies a few more times during September and October.  We also hope to work together on an outreach project that will help support the native wildlife in our area.  Stay tuned for more info. in a few weeks...  🙂

Today's outdoor session was Lesson A in The David Suzuki Foundation's publication, "Connecting with Nature:  An educational guide for grades four to six," which is keyed to the Ontario Science Curriculum.  This document can be downloaded for free at:  http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/connecting-with-nature-education-guide/

Thank you for visiting the class, via our BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me:  mblack@mail1.scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.