Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marty Sewall

A good friend and excellent teacher is retiring this year. We all will miss her as she retires, but the kids will be without a true jewel in the teaching profession. If there was anyone with all talents to make a good teacher, Mrs. Sewall has it all! Today, I had the privilege of watching her "student made" puppet shows.
She assigned her students a group project to write their own puppet show theater. She based the assignment on the story, The Little Red Hen, which teaches the lesson about the value of helping others. Next, they read Gator Gumbo, as Marty says, "about an old 'alligatah' who makes gumbo and everyone makes fun of him and even says 'Nana-nana-boo-boo'". No one wants to help until it comes time to eat the gumbo. For a third example they read Manana, Iguana where again, no one wants to help until 'manana' (tomorrow)! Finally they compared Armadilly Chili, in which the help only comes to Armadilly after he makes the chili and it is ready to eat!
The kids rewrote these stories based on the similar plots. They had to include an protagonist, (who wants to work), three antagonists, (who don't want to work) and a narrator who remains "first person omniscient".
I thought it appropriate that the theme of the puppet shows was all about helping others. Just think how many kids Mrs. Sewall has helped along the way in her years (36?) of teaching. What about those lucky enough to work side by side with her? Her inspiration and creativity will live on through the teachers and students that have been lucky enough to have her in their lives!
Thanks, Mrs. Sewall, we will miss you!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday, May 13

149 ft. drop / 70 mph
for more photos, look here


THE GOLIATH, Fiesta, Texas

What an exciting day today! Our first trip to Fiesta, Texas Outdoor Math and Physics Day. I was so proud of our 5th graders as they eagerly completed math and physics assignments using the rides at the park. Some activities included: Finding the height of the Rattler roller coaster and the quarry wall, determining the travel of a coin dropped from the moving carousel, calculating the speed of the log ride and steel roller coaster and even an activity to identify potential and kinetic energy on the boomerang! Our parent chaperones were awesome and so helpful, each group of kids had an awesome experience.
We hope to go back next year!!

Thursday, May 12

Another great day, designing clay boats! I think our best boat design held 42 pieces of cargo! The students had to work really hard to design a floating boat. They learned that they had to combat the force of gravity and use the force of buoyancy to help to get their boats to float. Most designs looked like a bowl rather than a real boat.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, May 10

Today, the fourth graders toured our nearby Blue Bell Creameries. They allow our small groups from nearby Alton to tour as a courtesy. What an amazing sight to see over 50,000 "ice cream on sticks" being processed!
We also finished the vokis on their fish research. Each student chose a fish that lives in our nearby Lake Somerville. They researched facts about their fish and wrote a story from the point of view of the fish which reflected their learning. This tied in to our study about Lake Somerville and the source of water for our town of Brenham.

Check out our vokis from the link below:

2011 Fish Voki's

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, May 5

CLAY BOATS! Have you ever made a clay boat? Today, half of the 5th graders at Brenham Middle School made clay boats. That is about 160 clay boats!! They tried to get their boats to float and hold as much cargo as possible. We had some excellent boat designs. We learned about the force of gravity and the force of buoyancy!
I am going to update and add information to this original post.
Lesson Details:
We gave each child about a 1.5 x 1.5 inch cube of clay and had them experiment in making a design which would hold the most cargo. We used small area cubes from the math manipulatives set. If their boat sank, they could re-design their boat to make a better design.
I used walmart storage tubs (approx. 9" high x 11" wide x 14 "long to float the boats. Students were in groups of 4 or 5.
It is good to start out with the clay in the block and then note that it sinks in water immediately. As they modify the shape, it will cause the boat to float. This brings in the concepts of buoyancy and density.

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Hope this helps. We floated about 300 boats! The raft shapes really worked the best.

Wednesday, May 4

The 5th grade GT kids prepared their journals to take to our Math and Physics Day at Fiesta, Texas. Some of our activities involve: 1) Determining the speed of the steel roller coaster 2) dropping a coin from the carousel and watching its path and 3) determining the height of the Rattler roller coaster and the quarry wall using a height finder. We are looking forward to a great trip!
We also surveyed our projects with Big Huge Labs. We plan to publish them on line in a few weeks. Keep posted.

Tuesday, May 3

This is one of my favorite days at CSI Grade 4. After we tour Lake Somerville and learn how to care for public lands, we also tour where the City of Brenham gets its water. After the water leaves Lake Somerville, it travels through underground pipes to our City Water Treatment Plant. We don't travel through the pipes, but we visit the City Water Treatment Plant to see firsthand how our water is treated before it enters our homes. After this, we visited the Waste Water Treatment plant and learned how our water is cleaned after we have used it in many ways. It did not smell very nice at the Waste Water Plant, but we are glad that they are taking care of making our water clean for us. We met the microscopic bugs which help clean our water!
We collect water samples from Hogg Branch (which the wastewater treatment empties its water in to) and New Year's Creek, a neighboring creek and test the water for presence of nitrates, phosphates which can affect the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Friday, April 29

Today the 6th Grade Scientists participated in an activity sponsored by Stephen F. Austin State Historic Site. Amanda McVay presented a lesson concerning the value of artifacts and told us about the many artifacts found in Stephen F. Austin's first settlement.
The artifacts found in the park area teach us about the type of activities of the people who lived there.
The original town of San Felipe was burned during the Texas Revolution.
The students grouped their artifacts and then discussed and determined conclusions about the lives of the people who once lived in historic San Felipe.


Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Kmiec

Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Kmiec
First Lego League Competition 2014

About US

Mrs. Sarah Cook and Mrs. Janis Kmiec are the lead investigators at CSI. Mrs. Cook manages the lab lessons as well as the Science Curriculum for BISD. Mrs. Kmiec leads the technology lab investigations. Both teachers love making CSI fun, exciting, and full of learning for their students.