This Week in Our Big Backyard
We traveled west! Along the way we stopped at the Llano Uplift and visited Enchanted Rock. We learned about the ancient geology of this place and how it’s part of what makes Texas special.
Next, we continued on into the Chihuahuan desert and found so many mountain ranges! Among the mountains we explored basins and canyons. We updated our state map as we went, using symbols for mountains and including the area’s major rivers, Pecos and Rio Grande.
We began constructing our tiny West Texas world by laying down sandy, and at times rocky, soil.
Next we set off to discover the many types of flora found in the area. We learned that the Chihuahuan desert is uniquely very biodiverse because of the convergence of many other ecoregions nearby, including the mountains, plains and the plateau. We also learned that this desert is geologically pretty young, dating back 10,000 years.
We also found that many plants growing here are pretty thorny, and deducted that was probably to discourage consumers or predators.
One table team crafted prickly pear cacti – the official state plant – which is also both a fruit and a vegetable!
Another worked on agave. At the end of the day we all got to taste a couple of drops of agave syrup on an apple slice. This was some Alphas’ favorite part of the week.
We made blue grama grass using raffia, moss, and some markers to help with pigment…
We learned about an amazing plant called the Resurrection Plant (aka False Rose of Jericho). These plants are able to survive without hardly any water at all by curling up like a ball and losing their chlorophyll. earned about an amazing plant called the Resurrection Plant (aka False Rose of Jericho). These plants are able to survive without hardly any water at all by curling up like a ball and losing their chlorophyll.
And we cut up some actual sage brush to add a realistic touch of shrubbery to our tiny West Texas world.
The rockier terrain of the Llano Uplift supports some beautiful basin bellflowers…
And finally we got to our fauna. We were pretty wiped after Shipe Park but we still managed to craft some black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, Mohave rattlesnakes, horned lizards and big horned sheep…
This Week in Math
Ms. Kim’s Group
This week we read a story about the polygon with the fewest sides: The triangle or more specifically, The Greedy Triangle! We learned that polygons are shapes that are closed and have straight sides. We explored how many shapes we could make using triangles and made some cool drawings using triangles and quadrilaterals! We solved some story problems using knowledge of our math facts – we are becoming really good M-athletes!
Ms. Andrea’s Group
We built plane shapes using wiki stix! We counted sides and vertices. We played with creating our own shapes using geoboards and discussed the difference between an open and a closed shape. The Alphas have got it! We’re pumped to start on three dimensional shapes next week.
Our subtraction strategy of the week was “counting backwards” so we used number lines to help with this. We practiced solving problems vertically – a new format for most of us and it took some getting used to. Alphas have come a long way solving problems using place value (no borrowing)! They picked it up so fast!
This Week in Language Arts
Ms. Andrea’s Group
Started off by putting our author’s stool to use to read our acrostic name poems to one another.
We met two new word families: -op and -ot. Our sight word this week was “on.” This week we reviewed rhyme by playing new games and reading lots of poems with rhyming words in them.
Ms. Kim’s Group
This week we learned about contractions. We use them all the time when we talk and we see them a lot when we read, and now, we know how they work and that apostrophes hold two or more words together when we smoosh them together. We shared the writing we did in our P&P- what beautiful Armadillo poems! This week we learned that poems can be riddles. We used our words to create clues about colors- see if YOU can guess what color we wrote about together:
Then we created our own color riddles and shared them!
This week we fashioned lots of hair for our mastodon. We played “What this Setting Needs,” acting game – where we use our bodies to build a set – like a playground, a car, a human body! We did some Lunar New Year yoga, and did some great reading, writing, and math during study hall. We played “Who’s the Leader” and, back by popular demand: watercolors!