Butterflies, Bread and Watermelon

Today was one of those that remind me why I love what I do. It was full of excitement, discovery, wonder and problem solving. It was noisy, it was messy and it was busy.

The day began with a tweet from Steve Parr @parr_mr, who knew of our interest in Monarchs from yesterdays tweet, asking if we wanted to take in 2 of his chrysalis for the day to observe. We knew the monarchs would be emerging soon, as the chrysalis was transparent and so we set up an iPad to record the event.

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Add to the mix 3 plants, 2 soil samples and countless snails and the end result was a morning full of science research and discussion.

OScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 4.55.37 PMn top of this, our Amish Cinnamon Bread had reached day 10 and it was ready to be baked. Every student had an opportunity to assist in adding ingredients, figuring out what 2/3 meant and how to add 1 1/2 cups when we only had a 1c measuring cup. Authentic discussion arose around the importance of accuracy when measuring out ingredients and students encouraged each other to take their time. Conversation and learning that I could’t have planned.

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When our bread was ready we had a problem. I had no idea how to slice it. The students decided to do a quick survey to determine who wanted a piece and based on that total we had to figure out how many slices we needed to cut out of each loaf. 3 students went to get a Rekenrek, one grabbed snap cubes, there were diagrams, models and number sentences on their workspaces and they were engaged.

We needed 24 slices and had two loaves; some students thought we needed 14 out of each loaf, others 12. Work was double checked and errors corrected. The entire time, I sat back and watched. When the problem was solved, I sliced the bread and everyone enjoyed a piece while watching our monarchs and determining (thanks to our Twitter chat with Mr. Parr) that we had one male and one female. Check out our time lapse of the monarchs emerging here
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During the last 5 minutes of the day, a post from @mraspinall come up on Twitter and caught my students attention. The students had lots of questions and one suggested recording them to look at tomorrow. With bus students being called, 24 students were rushing to document their questions on sticky notes.

How much do they weigh? How many people could they feed? What is the total cost? And my favourite; Why would someone want 60 watermelons?
How much do they weigh? How many people could they feed? What is the total cost? And my favourite; Why would someone want 60 watermelons?

We don’t have much “paperwork” for the day but I would suspect that the learning that occurred today was deeper, more meaningful and will last longer than any worksheets. The best part for me though; the natural strengthening of relationships and building of a supportive learning community that came out of the day.

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