The Primary students have started a long unit on learning how the human body works. This past week included the study of respiration and circulation. After having studied nutrition and digestion in the previous unit, we knew that the body needs nutrients. We learned that oxygen has needed nutrients as well as food. The lungs and heart work together to bring oxygen to the blood.
Works on the shelf helped us explore respiration and circulation including puzzles, a stethescope, models and a science experiment using balloons to see how our diaphragm pulls air into the lungs.
Upper Elementary has been studying Astronomy. They shared some of their favorite work with their Primary partners. Students demonstrated day and night with the Tellurium sun and earth model, showed them simulated solar systems, stars, and galaxies using Universe Sandbox, helped them match three-part cards, and read books to them. They loved answering their partners’ questions about the universe.
Primary’s continent studies moved to Europe! We have been talking about France—the land of croissants, baguettes, famous art and artists, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Tour de France.
France has so many visually exciting aspects that the children dove right into exploring. They have been assembling puzzles of famous monuments and using a punch of the Eiffel Tower. One of our most popular works has been the bicycle that we mounted on blocks so that children could ride the Tour de France in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. They have been so excited to don a maillot jaune (or yellow jersey), helmet, and gloves and ride with all their might. We have had a child on the bike non-stop!
We have also been studying the children’s author/illustrator Hervé Tullet, who happens to be from France. Tullet’s books have fun interactive games that the children have come to adore. We made a collaborative sticker dot collage a la his most famous book, “Press Here.” We also learned basic color theory with the help of the book “Mix It Up.”
Last on our study of France was an Art History lesson about ballet. On Friday, we were thrilled to have a student from the Upper Unit, who happens to be a ballerina, visit our classroom. She talked about studying to be a ballerina for the last six years. She shared all of the different roles in the ballets that she has performed. So far, she has been on stage in The Nutcracker six times and has danced in other classic ballets like Coppélia and The Sleeping Beauty. We ended the visit by learning some of the positions of arms and feet used in ballet. The children all loved learning the movements and dancing around.
Primary has been celebrating fall. We have noticed many of us are bringing a sweater or light jacket to school because the temperatures are getting colder. We have observed changes around us; leaves changing color, birds flying south, squirrels and other animals gathering food for the winter.
We have been reading books about fall and the seasons. We have been exploring all kinds of leaf activities—sorting, matching, punching, and making crayon rubbings. We’re assembling puzzles about the seasons and investigating pumpkins. We had front row seats this week to watch a storm front coming in, perfect for our discussion about storms in fall (and spring!).
We can’t wait until the leaves begin to fall, creating all kinds of fun in our outdoor classroom.
Solid, liquid, or gas? Primary students have been studying states of matter. First, we figured out that everything you see, feel, taste, or smell is matter. All matter is made up of atoms. That means we are made up of atoms, too!
We watched a table for a few seconds and decided that it, like all solids, can’t change its shape unless we change it. By pouring water into different size tubes, we observed liquids move take the shape of any container. We figured out that we can feel air even if we can’t see it. These three states of matter are different because of how their atoms are arranged, a little bit like putting ourselves inside a hula hoop! We all giggled, watching one student have plenty of room to move around the hula hoop like a gas. When we added two more students to replicate a liquid, we saw that they could still move abut had less freedom. When we packed in seven students, they were so close together no movement was possible just like a solid.
We got to taste some science experiments this week, too. While an ice block melted in the sun, liquid grape juice froze in the freezer–a perfect snack for a sweltering afternoon. We also witnessed liquids being mixed with solids and talked about yeast, which makes bubbles. In a few hours, we ate delicious, fluffy bread thanks to gas.
The Primary unit has been studying bees and ants. We began by learning how important each of these insects are to our environment. Ants help keep soil healthy and bees both pollinate flowers and make delicious honey. We learned that ants and bees have several similarities: they both have three body parts, six legs, and two antennae. They are also dissimilar in the number of eyes and colors they can be. We spent time discovering how each live, both in colonies, but the nests differ drastically.
On the science shelves are a multitude of works to explore. Some children have enjoyed drawing the four parts of the any life-cycle. We have bees to count and an insect floor puzzle to put together with friends. There are resin cubes with preserved ants and bees for closer inspection and a sweet bee with paintbrush to make sure plenty of pollen gets on the bee while it uses it special straw-like mouthpart.
Knowledge of their environment helps engender a feeling of compassion in children for all insects. We have had numerous discussions on how to protect insects in our outdoor classroom as well as any outdoor space they may visit.
Last week we began our exploration of the continents. This journey will take us well into Spring as we discuss each continent and several countries within it.
We began our discussion by talking about the seven continents, and identifying the one we live in—North America! Within North America there are many countries, including our own, the United States. The United States is comprised of 50 states. We identified Ohio, the place that we call home.
We discuss indigenous peoples of each culture we visit throughout our Social Studies curriculum. We were so grateful to have one of our Primary parents, Emily, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, visit our classroom to discuss her heritage.
Emily began with a lovely book, “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” by Traci Sorrell and illustrated by Frane Lessac, that tells the story of how grateful the Cherokee community is for the gifts and challenges that each season brings. The children got to enjoy baskets that were woven by Emily, one filled with Cedar, as well as a wood rattle carved into an Owl. Owls are believed to be good luck!
The children also learned some of the Cherokee language. Traditionally when we take attendance at morning meeting we use the language of the country we are discussing to say “here”. We now include a choice of here, present or “ahani” (pronounced “ah-hah-nee”), Cherokee for “here”, when taking attendance this week. Emily also taught the children how to count to five in Cherokee:
1 = saquu (pronounced “saw-gwoo”) ᏐᏬ
2 = ta’li (pronounced “tah-lee”) ᏔᎵ
3 = tso’i (pronounced “joh-ee) ᏦᎢ
4 = nvgi (pronounced “nuh-gee) ᏅᎩ
5 = hisgi (pronounced “hee-skee”) ᎯᏍᎩ
We ended our morning meeting with a traditional Cherokee lullaby “Usdi Yona,” which means Little Bear. “Wado,” thank you, to Emily for visiting our classroom!
Last week in Primary, we started a study of the Earth. It’s hard to imagine we live on an enormous planet, and even harder to imagine what we can see is such a tiny part of it We began by exploring the layers of the earth using a model. We tried to imagine how hot the core is while the crust is so cool. Next came the surface of the Earth, including Tectonic Plates. We talked about pressure and how that can lead to volcanoes and so of course, we set off a replica volcano at morning meeting which was met with excitement and cheers! We also used candy to help explore the three main types of rock; sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous.
With many works on the shelves, our student scientist are hard at work examining, exploring, and sorting elements of our planet.
McGuffey Montessori Presents Adult Prom: 80’s Edition! Join us for a night of dancing, big hair, and big fun!
Cash bar, balloon arch, and your favorite 80’s music. Ticket price includes one drink. Age 21 and older. Singles, couples, triples, quadruples, groups….everyone is welcome! Raffle and prize give-aways.
At the Last Day of School Picnic, Wednesday, May 22, we will hold our annual Egg Drop. This is a tradition at McGuffey that goes back decades!
Prior to the last day of school, students will spend time at home designing a package that will hold a fresh egg. This “vehicle” will keep it from breaking when it has been thrown off the roof over the kitchen onto cold, hard cement.
This year we have a more challenging drop to offer. The Oxford Fire Department will be bringing one of their ladder trucks to provide a higher drop for those who want it. Many thanks to OFD and to seventh grader Zach for arranging this!
For novices, the use of bubble wrap is appropriate, however, as the years creep by, many students begin to consider packaging that is more creative and “engineered.”
Although no dangerous materials are permitted, creativity is much revered. There is much respect for innovative schemes, even when they don’t succeed.
– Raw eggs only! No eggs may be hard-boiled.
– No dangerous materials may be used.
– Students may not go on the roof at any time for any reason.
– Egg packages should be delivered to the collection point when they arrive at school.
– Only the designated adult may drop eggs from the roof.
– Students must stay behind the designated “drop zone” boundary.