Triceratops Case Match

Many children have problems learning the letters of the alphabet. Since letter recognition depends on understanding a sequence of features, the best way to teach children the sequence of features in recognizing a letter is by guided practice.

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Although we do use worksheets in our classroom, our primary mode of instruction is through the manipulation of concrete materials. These can resemble anything from flashcards to sandpaper letters, shaving cream to salt trays.

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The most important thing is that there is a physical response to an abstract one. For this activity, we practiced matching upper and lower case letters. On account of this being triceratops week, we used this dinosaur manipulative to complete the activity.

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Stegosaurus Fossils

Paleontology is the branch of biology that studies the forms of life that existed in former geologic periods, primarily by studying fossils. The only direct way we have of learning about dinosaurs is by studying fossils.

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Fossils are the remains of ancient animals and plants, the traces or impressions of living things from past geologic ages, or the traces of their activities. Fossils have been found on every continent on Earth. The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means, “dug up”.

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Most fossils are excavated from sedimentary rock layers (Sedimentary rock is rock that has formed from sediment, like sand, mud, and small pieces of rock). Over long periods of time, these small pieces of debris are compressed (squeezed) and are buried under more and more layers of sediment that piles up on top of it. Eventually, they are compressed into sedimentary rock. The fossil of a bone doesn’t have any bone in it!  A fossilized object has the same shape as the original object, but is chemically more like a rock.

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For this activity, we used salt dough to create our very own fossils. Because we discussed stegosauruses this week, our fossils consisted of this special dinosaur. A few students also selected the spinosaurus for their fossil. To prep, we talked about what a fossil is. We then practiced placing a variety of dinosaurs into the salt dough to see what kinds of indentations they would leave. Finally, we chose the one we wanted to take home, and then allowed them to harden in the toaster oven!

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K-T Extinction Event

Sixty-five million years ago, a meteor smashed into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, throwing up billowing clouds of ash and smoke that quickly spread, over the next few days and weeks, across the world’s atmosphere.

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Blotted out, the sun could no longer nourish the earth’s teeming ferns, forests and flowers, and as these plants died, so did the animals that fed on them–first the herbivorous dinosaurs, and then the carnivorous dinosaurs whose populations these plant-eaters sustained.

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That, in a nutshell, is the story of the K/T Extinction Event. But some experts think this story is incomplete: it has a suitably thrilling climax, to be sure, but not enough attention has been paid to the events leading up to it.

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Specifically, evidence exists that the five million years leading up to the K/T Extinction witnessed a huge surge in volcanic activity–and that lung-choking, sun-blocking volcanic ash, every bit as much as meteor debris, may have weakened dinosaurs to such an extent that they were easy pickings for the Yucatan disaster. To recreate this exciting theory, we made our own volcanoes out of clay, baking soda, and vinegar. Students enjoyed manipulating their dinosaurs onto these volcanoes, watching in glee as they exploded!

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Rainbow Fish Counting

Of all the math skills that children will acquire, counting is one that most children will already be doing before they reach school-age.

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Rote counting (or saying numbers in a sequence from memory) is what most children will be able to do, but this does not mean that they can actually determine the amount in a collection.

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In order to help our students develop an actual understanding of numbers and how counting relates to real life, we did a hands-on activity with jewels aimed at developing their one-to-one correspondence.

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By placing a certain amount of jewels onto a rainbow fish diagram (counting as they did so), participants were able to make a connection between the spoken numeral and a concrete amount.

Rainbow Fish Story Tray

A storyboard is a story telling device used to visually “sketch out” the actions of a story that are told in a visual medium like animation, pictures, or felt pieces.

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In this activity, students participated in a discussion about the book, The Rainbow Fish, by Eric Carle. In the story, the rainbow fish is asked to share his beautiful scales with his friends. At first, he hesitates, until he realizes that sharing makes him feel good. As the story progresses, he begins to lose more and more of his scales.

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By using a story board, students explore aspects of a story they may not have noticed while reading it, such as how it develops, what’s missing, the use of language, how words and pictures work together, and what the story means to them. To do this, we laid down on our stomachs in a circle.

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As the story was read, students took one shiny scale from a large diagram of the rainbow fish. They conclude with a discussion of why sharing is so important, and how we can be better friends to our classmates.

Rainbow Fish Match

Since we are learning about the book Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister, we decided to create our very own fishy rainbow! To accomplish this, your little one was guided to a premade rainbow as a visual organizer.

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We then sorted our fish into the various colors of the rainbow. This activity fulfilled several developmental tasks. Your little one learned about the various colors of the rainbow by pairing the visual color with the name of the color.

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Sizes and shapes were also addressed, as everyone combined fish to create different structures within the rainbow.

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We also discussed several vocabulary words, such as right, left, on top, and around. Lastly, your budding mathematician practiced several premath skills, such as patterning and sequence making.

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B is for Baker Word Match

Many children have problems learning the letters of the alphabet, especially when they are grouped together into words.

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Since letter (and word) recognition depends on understanding a sequence of features, the best way to teach children the sequence of word-making is by guided practice.

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Because of this, we partake in a variety of letter “games” that encourage your child to recognize, enunciate, and match the concept of a letter to its print form.

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Young children learning letters need vivid, concrete language to understand the abstract component of the written word.

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For this activity, we practiced matching cardboard cutouts of letters to the letters in the word B-A-K-E-R.