Central Students Use Technology to Map their Playground
Posted by Corey Burdick on 11/19/2019 1:00:00 PM
The week of Nov. 10-16 marked World Geography Week and 2nd graders at Central School had the opportunity to get "out in the field" to use the Connector for ArcGIS app to map their playground as part of GIS (geographic information systems) Day. Teacher Stephanie Hockenbury explained that the national geography standard for 2nd grade includes constructing maps, graphs, and other representations of familiar places, so this exercise definitely fit the bill!
"We worked with Amy Haas, a Geospatial Technology Specialist from VHB, Inc in South Burlington and a RMCS parent, to use the app to GIS our playground. She brought tablets with the app prepared for students to use. Students worked in small groups to gather data on our playground and Kristen Courcelle, District K-5 ITE, also supported our work."
Haas presented to all 2nd graders, sharing how she uses mapping and technology in her work. She also shared sample maps she has generated with different projects in SB and VT, along with a demonstration of how to use the Connector for ArcGIS app. See the final image of the mapped playground here. Community connections, technology, and time outdoors made for a memorable lesson.
4th Graders Head to Shelburne Farms to Study Rock Formation
Central School Holds First S.T.E.A.M. Night!
Central School Hosts Inaugural S.T.E.A.M. Night
Posted by Corey Burdick on 10/7/2019 10:45:00 AM
Central School students and their families particpated in the school's first ever S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) night Sept. 27. According to PTO Vice President Carrie Rice, the evening featured Dia Brown, a UVM student doing a conductive paint demonstration, a NASA ambassador and Logic Supply provided demonstrations for kids, as well as a variety of interactive stations such as cardboard city, Imagination Playground, deconstructing electronic equipment, building the highest tower with cups/index cards, STEAM mural painting, and more.
In addition, this year's 2nd annual Fun Run (held Oct. 4th), was a fundraiser that went toward S.T.E.A.M. initiatives. Rice said, "We have replaced our Hands of Nature program with Wildflowers MakerTime. This is a parent volunteer program where we have an experienced MakerTime instructor teaching the parents at RMCS to bring this new program into the classroom. We also have a new Maker Cart that is filled with loose materials and fun STEAM activities. This can be checked out to be used in classrooms. The teachers are very excited for these two new programs!"
The MakerTime curriculum encourages creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. These lessons will be implemented in the K-4 classrooms and include balance and center of gravity (science), hydraulics (technology), air/wind power (engineering), capillary action (art), and symmetry (math).
Central Students Support Pollinators through Plant Unit
Posted by Corey Burdick on 6/13/2019 1:00:00 PM
The season for gardening and basking in our natural environment has finally arrived in Vermont! A time for making plans and dreaming about all of the incredible flowers, herbs, and veggies that will soon be sprouting up around us. This spring, 2nd graders at Central School got a jumpstart on this endeavor through their life science unit on plants; with a specific focus on creating a pollinator garden. According to 2nd grade teacher, Stephanie Hockenbury, this served the dual purpose of supporting local animal and plant life while also "addressing 2nd grade national standards for the sciences pertaining to interdependent relationships in an ecosystem."
Hockenbury said, "We chose a pollinator garden as our context for developing understanding of these standards because of its relevance to current events, appeal to young children, and how it provides the opportunity to help our community and environment directly."
Students were actively engaged in their learning throughout the unit, planting 8 different flowers and herbs in their grow lab including: ageratum, calendula, cosmos, nasturtium, sunflowers, verbena, and zinnia. These were planted on school grounds during the final week of school for all to enjoy.
Learning was enhanced by numerous guest speakers and field trips. Central School parent alum and beekeeper Jen Savas taught about honey bees while UVM professor of botany and 2nd grade parent, Dr. Eric von Wettberg spoke about plants in our environment. A trip to the UVM Horticultural Farm with Dr. Alison Brody allowed students to see pollination in action and back in the classroom, Jerry Schneider of the VT Entomological Society and Morphos Productions taught about butterflies. Students then had the chance to make their own butterfly t-shirts, a lasting memory to be sure.
Additional concepts covered in the plant unit included: what plants need from and give to their environment, identifying parts of the flower by dissecting lilies, steps of pollination in addition to the pollinators (bees, butterflies, bats, and birds) themselves. Pollination, seed dispersal, and bird beak types were modeled and in a special visit from the Flynn Theater, students had the chance to act out through movement The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.
We look forward to seeing what pollinators the garden attracts! Thanks to all of the guest speakers, parents/guardians, and the 2nd grade teachers involved in this work: Stephanie Hockenbury, Jennifer Belisle, Kelly Mahl, and Katie Ransom.
From oceans to the life of stars; from coding to ancient Egyptian brick making. Central School's science fair, held April 11, boasted 115 projects from 136 participants spanning grades K-5! Fourth grade teacher Lizzy Appleby said that the goal of the science fair is to spark student interest in science. Teachers provide potential ideas to students, "but it is very open ended. All students are invited to participate in the science fair, while fifth graders are required to create a project of their choice."
According to Appleby, this was the 30th year of the science fair. The fair originated with former 5th grade teacher Bobbe Pennington and her husband. Then, three years ago, when Pennington retired, Appleby, along with 5th grade teacher Annick Cooper and kindergarten teacher Amy Kelliher, took the reigns.
The fair doesn't judge projects or give out awards. This allows students the freedom to create and foster their ideas pressure-free. During the event, students remain at their stations for about 30 minutes; explaining their projects and answering questions while people circulate. Then, students who participated have the opportunity to explore other projects and learn from their fellow classmates while someone else is stationed at their booth.