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4-A & 4-24Jon Polly - Science

Justin Mazzola - Humanities

Lauren Gadie - Math
LeAnne Fowlkes - Literacy

April 10, 2017

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces at the AVS Spring Gala this weekend. We hope you all had as much fun as we did! As you know, our students have been working tirelessly on their research projects. There is a lot of focused excitement around the presentations which will take place this Wednesday, April 12 at 9am. Please come and join us for our 4th Annual Living Museum of Westward Expansion and the Gold Rush. There will be short presentations happening simultaneously in 4A, 4B, the tinker room, and hallway. In addition to students research papers, you can expect to see recreations of sacred artifacts and important technology as well as hear authentic news reports recorded with soundscapes! If we don’t see you on Wednesday we hope you have an exciting, yet restful Spring Break! See you bright and early on Monday, 24th April!


Last week in science, students conducted an experiment to investigate what happens to carbonate-shelled organisms as the pH of the ocean becomes increasingly more acidic due to excess CO2 in the atmosphere being absorbed by the world’s oceans. They set up 5 different beakers, each containing a different pH liquid in which an egg (which is also made of calcium carbonate and acted as a proxy for carbonate-shelled organisms) was placed. The pH of the liquids ranged from ~8 (pH of the ocean) to as low as 2.5 (pH of vinegar), and students monitored the physical changes (including the mass of the eggs and any changes in pH) over the course of the week. It became clear by the end of the week that the carbonate shells do not fare well when in an acid-containing solution. They completed a lab write-up compiling all of their results and also completed an assessment about our lab’s relationship to what we are seeing in the world’s oceans today. This week in science, students will be engaging in a design project focusing on another problem facing our world’s oceans--plastic pollution. This will tie in nicely with some work we will soon be doing with the Surfrider Foundation--work that will include a field trip after Spring Break.

This week in math students using their equivalent fraction skills to find percentages and decimals. As a class we practiced identifying these through games such as Rocket Rooster and Concentration. In addition to games and skill practice we applied our knowledge to various real life scenarios. For example, we looked at data from our ClassDojo system. Each student was asked to calculate the percentage of positive points they collected during the month of March. Later in the week students played games such as Jeopardy and 24 were they were challenged to solve problems that asked them to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators. We also utilized tangrams to identify fractions of a whole, using the relationships between the seven shapes to identify the fractions. Next week in math, student will explore the division of fractions. We will model the division of fractions visually and use this technique to assist in real-world situations. Student will end the week completing an informal fraction ‘show what you know’.

Last week in Humanacy, students got a taste of the reporter life as they worked hard to meet their upcoming deadline. Our diligent researchers learned how to write interesting introductions and powerful conclusions, then put those skills into practice with information about their chosen Westward Expansion topics. They added text features such as a glossary and works cited page, as well as several images connected to their area of study. Furthermore, students began working on the creative component to this unit, and are expected to continue focusing on them this weekend if they have not yet completed them. This week, students will continue peer editing as they help each other improve their research papers. After making the necessary revisions, they will grade themselves using our rubric to identify areas for improvement in their writing. In addition, students will assemble their posters for presentation day and practice delivering their information to exude calm confidence Wednesday morning. We hope to see you all for the celebration of fourth grade’s Westward Expansion expertise!

In book clubs, students continued diving deeper into their historical fiction books, analyzing their characters and setting. In addition, students are studying any new vocabulary as it arises in their books applying specific strategies to pick apart these “tricky words,” such as paying attention to the part of speech and how the word is used.


Humanacy: The creative projects will be due tomorrow, Tuesday, April 11. Bring the project in so you can practice speaking about your design process and share all components during your presentation!

Humanacy: There will not be science or math homework because we would like all students to prepare tomorrow’s exciting “living museum” presentations! Please practice at home and anticipate lots of questions from your visitors.


Humanacy: Complete the Research Project Reflection AND Post your creative writing component on KidBlog!


Math: Students should complete ‘Dividing Fractions’.Science: Students should complete a brief write-up about their design projects (what it is, how it works). The write-ups will accompany their prototypes and will be presented in class on Friday.

a progressive learning environment
an emphasis on science, math and technology
Alta Vista School 
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