Just Another Week in Lower School: Anything but Ordinary

Nov 8, 2017 | All School, Impact, Innovation, Inquiry, Lower School News

Kindergarten Expedition to Home Depot – facilitated by Eileen Fennelly, science teacher
Kindergartners are learning about simple machines. As a part of this work on the Frontier, the children realized they could move items up and down to the tree fort by building pulley systems. They asked if they could create larger pulley systems to the fort that would allow them to take their lego boxes up to the tree to play. Of course we can!
They measured how far it is from the trees to the tree fort. We used their measurements in feet to add the amount of rope we need to our supply list. We estimated how many pulleys we need to move a ten pound box. We discovered we might need some hooks in our system as well.
Each child then drew a design based on our investigation.
We decided that there were no supplies at school. Where would be the best place to buy them? Home Depot. How would we get there? We can take a bus on an excursion.
Students navigated the store by aisle, using their early phonics skills to look for the letter “P” for pulley, or “R” for rope. Once we found our materials (right next to each other those Home Depot people are smart!),  the children read the signs to determine which length and width of rope would work. We read the pulley information to determine how many pounds each could support. We also read the numbers in the prices of our supplies.
Finally, we drew and documented our shopping experience and each child scanned an item at check-out. We read the total price of our supplies.
The beauty of this project is that it was student-driven, and it connects to every single Mount Vernon Mindset.

Grade 1
First graders have Halloween fun discovering, exploring, and making observations for their candy corn experiments.

Grade 2
Second graders working to present their topics for the “Healthy Me” unit they are researching. Carson Lingle points to the digestive system he created for the unit.
We want to instill the love of reading in our students and foster excitement about books for story and classroom research.  Second graders find a cozy nook in the IZ zone with a great book.

Grade 3
Third graders make their thinking visible as they worked on their natural disaster PBL project. “How might we design a resource that can help, either proactively or reactively, a community impacted by a natural disaster?”
Grade 4
Working in small groups, fourth graders have been working with partial products.  “We were looking at place value and different ways to write numbers. Then we talked about what happens when we multiply a number by 10 and how the product is 10 times more.” – Emily Edwards