Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Week 3&4

In week 3 some of our year 6 students were lucky enough to go to the school's day of the Auckland Writer's Festival. They heard from 4 different authors - lots of tips for writing, illustrating,  and insights into how the authors get their ideas and became authors/illustrators. We heard Lauren Child (UK - Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort series), Tim Tipene (NZ - various books), Renata Hopkins (NZ books and school journal stories), Donovan Bixley (NZ author and illustrator of various books).

At Quest we have been continuing to look at change with animals - metamorphosis, and also how animals change the environment (keystone species), and how humans can change animals with selection and breeding (hybrids).

We had fun creating crazy mixed creatures, as well as learning new information.

Here is a video if you are interested in how wolves changed rivers in the Yellowstone National Park.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Animals and change

This week we are looking at animals and the different types of camouflage - blending in with colour, pattern, disguise, or mimicry. 

We will be thinking about why and how animals camouflage and will find out about some animals and their amazing ability to change.

Take a look at this video of cuttlefish - they are really extraordinary! 

We will also be looking at Metamorphosis in animals this week and next as part of our concept of change.

Last week we had fun looking at change with chemistry. Here is a simple but interesting experiment you might like to try at home.  
Year Two children experimenting by blowing into the solution.
Year 3&4 children observing reactions.

Purple Cabbage
Hot tap water

Slice some cabbage into a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Leave for 5-10 mins, then strain and keep liquid. This is your indicator solution (it changes colour to indicate pH) - it will be blue or purple, depending on how long you leave it and the temp of the water etc -it will work regardless of the colour it starts as. 

Now you can pour some of the solution into several glasses or any clear containers. Experiment with adding different substances to find if they are acidic or alkali. Acidic things around the home are generally sour things - vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, citric acid etc. They will turn the solution pink. Alkali things are generally soapy - like washing powder, soap, baking soda - they will turn the solution green or blue tones. Don't forget to keep a 'control' so that you can see what colour the solution started as. Kids will have lots of fun with this. Remind them that mixing some solutions from opposite ends of the pH scale could cause a reaction - eg baking soda and vinegar - but they will want to experiment with changing the colour and trying to neutralise the pH again (getting back to the original colour).

Year 2 children - look at the colours we made!

Scratch Club - first week Term 2 2017
Many children had ideas for what they would like to test at home - shampoo, lemonade, dishwashing liquid, hand sanitiser, sugar, juice etc etc. Great fun for engaging them in science, and also getting them to observe and predict.

You can also try blowing through a straw into the cabbage water solution. You will notice the solution turns pinkish - you have made a weak acid. CO2 (that you breathe out) and H2O (water) = H2CO3 (carbonic acid).

Some of our year 6 boys are running a 'Scratch Club' at lunchtimes on Wednesdays in B9. Scratch is a free computer programming website - children can design their own games, characters etc. Flynn and Ajay are running this class. I am so impressed with their ideas and teaching ability - they coped so well with over 40 students who turned up last week!
Well done boys - I am impressed by your enthusiasm and willingness to share your knowledge with others. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Term 2

This term our concept is CHANGE. We will be looking at change through a variety of topics... starting with a bit of Science this week - chemistry and changes to substances. Other topics planned are metamorphosis, Gandhi, change in our lives, toilets through the ages, money, future thinking etc. These may change, but the aim is to have a wide variety of topics to expand ideas.

The big ideas of change we will be looking at are that change is everywhere, it has cause and effect, it is inevitable, and change leads to new experiences.

Thanks to everyone for feedback about our timetable last term - trialling two sessions a week for years 3-6 students. I had 71 responses in all, from parents, staff, and students. There were mixed views and I appreciate everyone's feedback. 55% of responses were in favour of the two sessions a week, so we will stick with that for this term as well.

I have changed the timetable this term to try to have less clashes with maths extension groups. Please let me know if there is a clash with anything for your child - I will try to find a way around it.

So year 3&4's will be in the first block this term, and year 5&6's will be in the second block (after morning tea). The year 1&2 group has a few new students so it has been split - half of them will come on Tuesday afternoons, half will come on Wednesday afternoons.

Here's the timetable:

Term 2 2017

Block 1 A (8.55- 9.45)
Year 3&4  ( A3, A4, B5, B6)
Year 3&4
Block 1 B (9.45- 10.40)
Year 3&4  (L4, L5, O1, O2, T1, T3)
Year 3&4
Block 2 A (11-11.45)
Year 5&6 ( A5, A6, B7, B8)
Year 5&6
Block 2 B (11.45-12.30)
Year 5&6  (L3, M3, M4, O3, O4)
Year 5&6
Block 3 1.30-3pm
Year 2  (A2, B1)
Year 1&2 (B4, M1, M2, T2)

Parent Evening - 'Gifted 101'

What is giftedness? At a recent parent evening I talked about the different domains (areas) of giftedness and how we identify and cater for ...