Sunday, September 27, 2015

"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

Have I got news for you!  Tonight we will be given a rare opportunity to witness a spectacular celestial event--a lunar eclipse with the moon at its closest point to the earth. This "Supermoon" lunar eclipse has happened only 5 times in the last century and last occurred more than 3 decades ago, in 1982; it will not be repeated until 2033! 

Expect the moon to be 30% brighter and about 14% larger than normal.  Also expect that it will have a deep rusty-red color. "Blood moons," as they are sometimes called, have had a bad rep down through the ages--not to worry, though. Their color is simply caused by sunlight being scattered by the Earth's atmosphere. 

Visibility Map

At 9:07 EST the partial eclipse begins, and at 10:11 the full eclipse will be visible for approximately 1 hour and 13 minutes. Only eastern Asia and Australia will miss it completely. 

Sorry, guys!

Most "Super" Supermoon of the Year

September 28-October 2

. . .and the Scientific Method

Tuesday:  Let's "RAP" this thing up:

Get ready for a great way to remember the steps of the scientific method and learn a bit of history, too!  You'll meet Galileo Galilei whose cannonball experiment got him in trouble with the church. . . Say what??

We'll start first with a Rap, then a little explanation with the help of interactive lyrics, and then a quick review.  Look HERE for everything you'll need to be a Scientific Method Master!

Here's a cool "MOON-THEMED" experiment using the Scientific Method that was carried out by astronauts on Apollo 15 in 1971:  

According to Galileo, a feather (if air wasn't pushing on it) would fall at the same speed as a hammer. Well, Apollo 15 astronauts brought a hammer and a falcon feather to the moon in 1971 to test Galileo's theory.  (They chose a falcon feather because "Falcon" was their lunar module's name.)  

While standing on the moon (no air), one of the astronauts dropped the hammer and falcon feather at the same time, and, well, check out what happened:

Atta way to go, Galileo; thanks, Apollo 15!

FYI:  Apollo 15 was the 9th manned mission in the Apollo program and the 4th to actually land on the moon. It was also the first of the Apollo "J" missions (long stays on the moon) to have a greater focus on science than ever before. The astronauts spent 3 days on the moon and a total of 18.5 hours outside the spacecraft. This mission introduced the Lunar Roving Vehicle!  At the time, NASA called it the most successful manned flight ever achieved. 
Information from: "Apollo 15." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. .

YOUR TURN: This is a home project.Look HERE or in classroom resources to find an experiment you can conduct that demonstrates the scientific method. Use THIS worksheet to organize your experiment. Get your materials together and practice it (at home) before you share it at school. Important guideline: there will be no two alike. Let's have a crazy demonstration day on (Due date:) Tuesday, October 6.   

Thursday:  We'll divide into two teams to see how you do on this online Scientific Methods quiz. If one team doesn't get the correct answer, it's open to the other team to answer.  Find the online quiz HERE


Farewell to you, whose story's told
On limestone walls in caves of old
What  made you choose to illustrate
With such detail, to innovate?
Stone tools and weapons that we've found 
In great abundance in the ground
Signified ability
To make and plan creatively.
What it took to stay alive--
The immense effort to survive--
The hunter was the hunted, too 
So strategies were used by you.

That proved you had a thinking brain
And common goals, you'd much to gain 
By cooperating willingly --
A shared intentionality.
Culture helped you to evolve
Diversify and problem-solve
Your vast, resilient human niches
Developed through natural processes.
           ~ Mrs. M.

Monday: Prehistory B.H.T. today. Follow the [very simple] directions to complete. Good luck!



Mesopotamia is a name, interestingly enough, later given to the people of the "Fertile Crescent"  by the Greeks.  These people lived in a haphazard climate--one where summer temperatures reached as high as 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  Eight months of the year were dry, turning the Tigris and Euphrates rivers a sluggish brown.  Winter was the rainy season.  Melting snows from the Taurus and Zagros Mountains also drained into the rivers, causing them to flood, often destructively. Young travelers, we are about to enter this unpredictable and often unfriendly environment.  Never fear, we'll travel together. Better get packed!
Ahh, the land of the 
first great civilization...

Friday:  Welcome, ancient travelers, to the Fertile Crescent, also known as Mesopotamia, which means land between two rivers. You are about to embark on an important information-gathering quest in the world's first great civilization. This will be one of many we will visit this year.  Complete this Scavenger Hunt in the packet I provide by using the links below.  This is an important task, young travelers. Safe journey; do well!

Advance to this PREZI for further instruction...

Links you will use:


  Inside                 Outside

Monday & Tuesday:  You have (hopefully) finished reading your book for September. (Monthly books -- one at the very least -- are a requirement in my class.) Beginning today in Language Arts, we'll create a three-fold brochure advertising your book using pictures that you have found or drawn.  This brochure should really persuade people to read it, so give it all you've got!. Your brochure should contain the following (refer to the picture above if needed):
  • A Front Cover providing the TITLE, AUTHOR"S NAME, and an ILLUSTRATION of a favorite scene from the book.
  • An Inside Flap (when you lift up the cover) that lists the MAIN CHARACTERS  with a BRIEF DESCRIPTION of each (who they are in the story).  Write the words Main Characters at the top of this flap.  
  • An Inside Left Panel (see illustration above) on which you write Setting and describe WHERE and WHEN the story takes place.  Be as descriptive as possible. This may include an illustration or map.
  • An Inside Center Panel on which you write Summary and briefly TELL WHAT THE STORY IS ABOUT. (Summarize don't retell. . .)
  • An Inside Right Panel on which you tell about the most EXCITING, FUNNY, or INTERESTING part of the story. Write Climax at the top of the panel.
  • A Back Panel on which you write a RECOMMENDATION for the book. Did you like it? Use details to explain why. Give it a rating from 1 - 10. Write Recommendation at the top of the panel. Write your Name at the bottom of this panel.
Plan on creating a decorative border on each panel. 
Neat & colorful borders make it look so-o very spiffy!!

 For today:

  •  Plan out how you want your brochure to look on a piece of computer paper. 
  • Then, on lined paper, write and edit your information for characters, setting, summary, climax and recommendation in preparation for the next step, which is. . .
When I return tomorrow, I'll check over what you've done and provide you with art paper to make your brochure. You are a classroom of brilliant innovators and artists--these will be beautiful--the BEST you've ever done! 

Wednesday:  Hmm. . . not reading, huh? We're setting up Book Report Contracts for October to help you out. Be prepared for random checks.  Parent signatures are required at the end of the month.  Keep these in your trapper keepers!

Keep working on your September brochure -- it's due Friday!

Thursday:  Brochures--Get them done! Due tomorrow!

Thursday & Friday:   We're going to delve into our innermost fears (well, kinda). What are you scared of? For me it's spiders. (Ewww!) For some of you, I'd say it's homework. (Am I right or am I right??) It could be a lot of things, real or made-up.  This is a fun poetry assignment where we write 4 couplets on the scary thing of our choice.  We'll illustrate them after we're finished and hang 'em up! 

Let's confront those fears!


Monday:  1.8 Division of Decimals by Whole Numbers. Complete Share & Show.  Homework pages that follow should be removed and put in homework folder to complete for tomorrow.

Let's start with a preview video:

Unit 4
Test on Friday


Monday & Tuesday: See Language Arts, above.

Wednesday: SSR with your new books from the Library.  Get into those great books! Fill out CONTRACTS!

Thursday: Introduction to Jazz and the 1930s! We're starting off with a whole-class reading group and enjoying one of my favorite books--Bud, Not Buddyby Christopher Paul Curtis. -- You can read it online HERE.

Friday: Brochures not done! Waz-up?  You have until Monday. Get-r-done, guys! Meanwhile, we're setting up contracts for October's book. USE THEM!

Visibility map   Science image   astronaut gif  cheerleader gif  megaphone gif  independent project guy  fire animated gif   Neanderthal   fire animated gif    Mesopotamia banner  Ancient Mesopotamia map   Fertile Crescent map  green decorative design   brochure gif  afraid gif math clipart   Spelling gif   Boy reading gif
trapper keeper image  Bud, Not Buddy image

Monday, September 21, 2015

"There are no secrets that time does not reveal." ~Jean Racine

Thursday, September 24th is Open House!  Please come and check out where your students spend their day. A Celebration for summer reading starts at 6:00 PM, followed by classroom visits from 6:30ish to 7:00. I can't wait to see all of you!

Oh yes, and make a note that Parent Conferences will be held on October 15th (from 3:30 to 7:15 PM) and 16th (from 8:00 to 10:35 AM). 

A sign-up sheet will be available at Open House.


Scientific Method information HERE.

Variables -- Find a great explanation HERE.
Another quick explanation can be found HERE.
Check your understanding HERE.
Qualitative vs Quantitative data -- Check your understanding HERE.



  • Step 1:  Ask a question
  • Step 2:  Do research
  • Step 3:  Form a hypothesis
  • Step 4:  Perform an experiment
  • Step 5:  Record and organize your data
  • Step 6:  Analyze your results
  • Step 7:  Draw your conclusions

To learn the steps of the Scientific Method, try coming up with a mnemonic! They're fun, and they help you to remember! Undoubtedly, yours will be more creative than mine:

All Day Friday, People Raced Around Downtown.


Monday is (ta-da-da-da, da-da. . .)

Vocabulary & Steps of the Scientific Method Test time!  

Here's what you need to know:
  • Vocabulary 
  • Steps to the Scientific Method (see above)
  • Applying what you know about: Observations, Inferences, Predictions, Independent & Dependent Variables, Qualitative & Quantitative Data

Bill Nye the Science Guy:  The Scientific Method



Monday:  Solve the Murder!

So, how do you think Otzi died?  What makes you think so? Read and discuss the following theories. 
After evaluating and discussing the four theories about Otzi’s death,
  • determine which one makes the most sense to you.
  • Provide evidence from what you have learned about Otzi to back up your choice. 
  • You will also need to address reasons why you think the remaining   theories are not correct.

Type your response in a well-constructed paragraph following the guidelines above.

More about Otzi?  Look HERE.

Wednesday: Time to get your art on!

Create a poster of Otzi, label his clothing, tools, food (Look HERE for one example), and where he lived. (Find an example HERE.)

Include a paragraph describing what his remains tell us about early humans.

The Journey of Mankind interactive HERE.
Print the map found HERE and trace, coloring the water blue, the land green, and the migration routes orange. Look HERE to complete the cloze found HERE.


What is the Ice Age?

Do you know the differences? 
Review this; review your Venn diagrams.


Friday:  BHT
(Big Honkin' Test
on Prehistory)
We'll review Monday.

Oops. . .


Monday:  Review/practice prime factorization. Correct and repair test on pages 34-35

6.NS.B.3 Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation.
Tuesday: 1.6, Add and Subtract Decimals: Share & Show, pages 39-40 Homework: pages 41-42
Wednesday: 1.7, Multiply Decimals: Share & Show, pages 45-46 Homework: pages 47-48

Thursday: Reinforced multiplication of decimals--two-sided worksheet for class/homework. (Get it done! xoxo)

Friday: I'm not here, so. . .  Let's grade yesterday's work.  If it's not done, guess what?? Everyone else can play these cool decimals games. HERE's  a bunch, or get with a partner and play Decimal Jeopardy or maybe one of these Math Games.  Woo-hoo!

Remember, the key is to practice, practice, practice . . .and maybe have a little fun in the process!


Standing Bison from Altamira, Spai
Monday: "Categories" puzzle piece
Tuesday:  Capitalization packet              
Wednesday: The Bulls of Altamira informational reading activity/summary         
Thursday: Complete summary activity.
Friday: tba

Unit 3
Test Friday

Sunday, September 13, 2015

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” ― Albert Einstein

History's Oldest Murder Mystery
"Otzi the Ice Man"

Welcome to another glorious week, dear class.  Get ready for some interesting activities, videos, readings, and a one-of-a-kind real "cold case." It promises to be an activity-packed week, so get ready to learn something AMAZING!

NOTE:  If a video doesn't look like it belongs with a lesson, hit refresh.  My videos are switching themselves around--I'm not sure if it's just me or it's happening to other people. . .



Monday:  More amazing caves to view before our assignment: CAVE ART! (Be on the lookout for something you might like to try drawing!)



  • A look at cave art must include a visit to the 14,000 year-old Bull and Cow Bison found in the Le Tuc d'Audoubert Cave in Ariege, France.
  • The Cosquer Cave  in Marseille, France is the only cave in the world with an entrance 115 feet below present-day sea level where cave art has been preserved from the flooding that occurred when the seas rose after the end of the last glaciation. (Clottes & Courtin 1994, 1996)
  • Along northern Spain's Cantabrian Sea coast, the cave called El Castillo has the oldest dated cave paintings--the oldest being a simple red disk.  At more than 40,800 years old, it pre-dates other European art by at least 4,000 years.  This date coincides with the earliest known evidence for Homo Sapiens in Europe.  Because of its age, it is the best evidence yet that Neanderthals might have been the first actual cave painters.
El Castillo

We've discussed and analyzed amazing cave art from thousands and thousands of years ago.  It's given us a glimpse into what life was like back then.  Cave art was a very important way for early man to communicate what was important--may-be it was the first true narrative, telling the story of fantastic hunts -- or maybe it just represented a way for early humans to say, "I was here." 
Task: Using the directions and materials provided to you, design and "paint" your own cave art for display on our bulletin board.

Wednesday:  This is the perfect time to pursue a great murder mystery! You and your fellow classmates are going to embark on a fascinating study of the world's oldest mummy and the mysterious events leading up to his death.  Are you ready??

We begin our story. . .
An Ice Man Murder Mystery

Aren't you curious?? I AM!  Check out these sites if you want to learn more:
  • Ice Man PowerPoint  HERE
  • Got 3-D glasses?  You can view a 3-D Otzi HERE.
  • So much information about Otzi can be found HERE (including something about a curse. (Scroll to the bottom.)
  • A National Geographic photo-story can be found HERE.
Thursday:  Read THIS article and complete THIS cloze. 

In Focus: Otzi the Ice Man

Friday:  Solve the Murder!

So, how do you think Otzi died?  What makes you think so? Read and discuss the following theories. 
After evaluating and discussing the four theories about Otzi’s death,

  • determine which one makes the most sense to you.
  • Provide evidence from what you have learned about Otzi to back up your choice. 
  • You will also need to address reasons why you think the remaining   theories are not correct.

Type your response in a well-constructed paragraph following the guidelines above.


Did you ever wonder? . . .

And now, brought to you by (ta-da!)
Calvin and Hobbes:
The Basis for the Scientific Method!

Formulating the question:

Doing a little research:

Making predictions:

Formulating an hypothesis:

Conducting experiments:

Analyzing data:

Reporting conclusions:

We've been learning about Observations and Inferences, so let's see how much you remember!  Test yourself with THIS activity. We'll discuss it when you're done. Then we'll try THIS one together. 

Wednesday: Health Pretest 


Understanding Variables

Independent Variable:  An independent variable is one that you can control or change.  
For example: you could do an experiment on the effect of sunlight on plant growth by putting one plant in a sunny window with plenty of light and the other in the back of your closet next to the pizza boxes, dirty gym socks, and that homework you said your dog ate. Hmm. . .

Dependent Variable: The dependent variable is the variable that you observe and measure. You can't change this one.  

You have no control over the plant; it's going to do what it's going to do. (Oh those plants; they never listen.) Your job is simply to observe what happens to it when you change the independent variable (in this case, the amount of sunlight). 

Controlled Variable: A controlled variable is one that you keep the same for all the conditions of your experiment. 
OK, so in order to get reliable results for your experiment,  you need to be sure that nothing else interferes with them. Being sure that both plants get equal amounts of water will guarantee that your results will reflect the amount of sunlight the plants received, not the amount of water.  I realize that rummaging your way to the back of your closet to water a begonia every day can pose a bit of a health risk, but scientists make sacrifices like this (well, maybe not this) every day.  I'm proud of you, Kimosabe.

Since we've been talking about plants, here's more on the subject. . .

Watch THIS if you want a little more explanation of dependent, independent, and controlled variables.  

Coming next: a few cool experiments! TBA!!

  • You've got to check out MythBusters. "The MythBusters use the scientific method to prove or disprove common beliefs about physical science. Each episode explains a specific concept about the interactions between physical matter and the forces of nature that shape our world." Quoted from HERE
  • Want to learn more (about just about everything?)  Go to: HOW STUFF WORKS

CC.6.NS.4: Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples

Monday: Lesson 1:3 Least Common Multiple,
 pages 14-16

Tuesday: Lesson 1.4, Greatest Common Factor, pages 19-20

(We'll see how far we get. . .)

Least Common Multiple

Greatest Common Factor:


Unit 2, pages 8-11
Test on Friday


Monday: Introduction to Johnny Rawten
Tuesday:  Read/listen to "I Discovered Fire" and respond to the questions.
Wednesday:  Complete the questions from yesterday.

Remember that you are required to read 
at least one book per month. 
Book projects will follow.

A little clean-the-room-and-get-ready-to-go-home music:

(Call us crazy. . .)