Thursday, January 26, 2012

Explorers - Where Did They Go?

We've finished reading Routes of Exploration to the New World, Chapter Five in our Social Studies Alive textbook. In this chapter we read about eight different European explorers, their motives, routes, and discoveries. The explorers we learned about in the text were Columbus, Cabot, Ponce de Leon, Cortes, Cartier, Coronado, Hudson, and de La Salle.

Our next task is to broaden our knowledge of one particular explorer from the European Age of Exploration and Discovery. Students chose from a list of several different European explorers including, in addition to those mentioned above, de Vaca, Champlain, de Soto, da Gama, and Magellan.

Each student will be compiling notes about "their" explorer before they: create a map showing the routes of discovery, create a timeline of the explorer's life, write a five paragraph essay focusing on their explorer's importance, create or find artifacts that represent the explorer, and finally dress in the style of their explorer to present their research to the class.

Monday, January 09, 2012

2D Geometry - Awesome

Our unit on two dimensional geometry is nearly complete. We have been learning a lot about polygons and their properties with special emphasis on triangles and quadrilaterals.

This unit has been full of vocabulary that can be hard to keep straight such as the difference between "parallel" and "perpendicular" lines, or between "congruent" and "similar" shapes.

We've learned about the many different types of triangles and their properties. Fifth graders did an interesting activity in which they constructed a large triangle marking each angle before cutting out the triangle. Then students carefully ripped off each angle of the triangle and reassembled the angles along a straight line to discover that the sum of the angles of any triangle - not matter what size or shape
- is always 180 degrees.

We completed a similar
exercise to discover that the sum of all the angles of a quadrilateral - no matter what size or shape - is always 360 degrees. Students also learned about the many different types of quadrilaterals and their properties.

Our next math unit will be Name That Portion in which students will become familiar with percents and their meaning as well as learning their fraction equivalents. From there students will continue to work with the concept of fractional amounts and how to combine fractions with unlike denominators.