Tag Archives: science

May it really be the long weekend?!

Hi Everyone!

Here are some Friday evening thoughts as we head into the long weekend!

Women In Science & Engineering: We had a great time with Alex from W.I.S.E. and her program on the Science of Music! She talked to us about sound waves and about the connection between sound and the States of Matter (ask your kids about the domino experiment-videos are below!). She also introduced us to gramophones…which we googled and was invented in 1877! Pretty amazing!

*The “Solid” domino fall was so quick that I missed it!




A World of Water: On Thursday afternoon we learned a lot about water, Lake Winnipeg, algae blooms and ways to fix our problems from Jay. He shared information and had us up and moving with some hands on learning!

Lake Winnipeg Foundation: Today (Friday) we heard from Ainslie who works at the Lake Winnipeg Foundation. She was very pleased with how much we know about algae blooms and thought we asked some great questions. Ainslie also talked to us about Zebra Mussels and how we need to be careful not to transport Zebra Mussels into our lakes. We are doing some writing about some of the environmental problems we’ve learned about and are trying to come up with creative solutions…then think of what kinds of problems our solutions have!

Upcoming Field Trip: On June 12, we are headed to Gimli for a field trip! During our time in Gimli we will be having different stations for the kids to go through. Our goal is to have the students take some water samples, do some sketching, make nature art with twigs/rocks we see on the ground, have some free play and do a walk around the community. We’ve been learning so much about Lake Winnipeg we would like to go and visit! This field trip will NOT be for swimming! The only time we will be going near the water is to possibly to take water samples where students will be supervised at all times. We are also asking that students bring a “litterless” lunch to follow our environmental mindset! Permission slips will be sent home soon 🙂

30×30: Our 30 for 30 challenge is still going strong! We just completed Day 19! Day 30 lands on Tuesday, June 6 (I believe). Maybe we should be spending the day outside to celebrate?! On that note…the last day of the at home 30×30 challenge is on Monday. I hope you have enjoyed your time outside and continue to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors! This also means that my own challenge (and the kids who have also made a bonus challenge) also ends on Monday. I am having a grande latte on Tuesday morning! Don’t worry…I’ll still be using my reusable cup!

Mental Math: We have continued to review Mental Math strategies. This week we covered lots of ground!

Using Arrays: Since we have just finished up multiplication arrays are pretty fresh in our minds. An arrangement of objects or pictures in columns and rows is called an array.

Example for Arrays

Skip Counting to Find a Product: We all know how to skip count…we’ve been doing it for years! Now it’s time to use skip counting to solve multiplication problems. For example: if we want to know what 5×5 and we don’t know this fact by instant recall we can count by 5s five times (5,10,15,20,25). Therefore 5×5=25!

Building on a Known Double: We are pretty comfortable with our doubles facts (and if we cannot recall these facts up to 20+20 then this is something to practice), now we need to relate doubles to halves! For example: if we know 10+10=20 then 20-10=10!

Using Doubles +/-1: Now we can use what we know about doubles and apply that to near doubles. Near doubles occur when the two addends only have a difference of one. For example: 8+9 (the difference between 8 and 9 is 1 :)) Now you have a choice…you can think of this question as a) 8+8+1 (16+1=17) (Doubles +1) OR b) 9+9-1 (18-1=17) (Doubles -1).

Using Doubles +/-2: This is very similar to the Doubles +/-1 strategy EXCEPT…you guessed it!!! The difference between the addends is two! For example: 15+17 (the difference between 15 and 17 is 2 :)) Now you have a choice…you can think of this question as a) 15+15+2 (30+2=32) (Doubles +2) OR b) 17=17-2 (34-2=32) (Doubles -2).

Using Addition to Subtract: This is when knowing about Fact Families comes in handy! Fact Families are 3 numbers that are related, just like the people in a family are related!! The 3 facts make a set of 4 number sentences 🙂 When you see 11-7=? you can switch that to an addition fact instead. Now this question can be changed to 7+?=11. It might be easier or quicker for you to solve this question by adding instead of subtracting.

Fact Family: Part +Part =Whole & Whole-Part=Part

In the first question the 11 is the whole, and the 7 and 4 are the parts

7+4=11 (part+part=whole)

4+7=11 (part+part=whole)

11-7=4 (whole-part=part)

11-4=7 (whole-part=part)

When we reviewed this strategy we also talked about the ‘unknown’ in a question. There is always an unknown, but the place of the unknown can change. We are used to having the unknown at the end of a question (the sum for addition, difference for subtraction, product for multiplication and quotient for division). However the unknown can be any part of the question. In the above example we changed the ‘unknown’ from being the difference (a part) in a subtraction question to a missing addend (a part) in an addition question.

*Once again…we are practising all these grade appropriate Mental Math strategies and students need to know then exist and how to use them and explain them BUT will have their ‘favourite’ strategies and develop their own strategies as well.

Division: This first week of division has gone fairly well! The students are understanding the concept of division as objects being shared into equal groups. They are also finding the relationship between multiplication and division and using the commutative property and fact families to demonstrate this relationship! If your child is needing more practice try giving them objects (chocolate chips, rocks, paperclips, etc.) and asking them to share equally into X groups then ask how many are in each set. For example: Give them 12 chocolate chips and ask them to share them into 4 groups. One at a time they will put one chocolate chip into each set. 1,2,3,4 then add a second chocolate chip into the first set, then second set, etc. until there are no more chocolate chips. At then end there should be 4 sets of chocolate chips and 3 chocolate chips in each set. *Remember to give them problems that do not have a remainder since we are not at that point yet!

Buzz Math: Today we tried out a new program called Buzz Math! This is an online program similar to Dream Box, but not affiliated with the School Division. Each student has a user name (first name and first two letters of their last name) and they have a password (which they know!). We got logged in and used Buzz Math for about 45 minutes today and it was a hit. You are welcome to use it at home too. Just log on the same way as we did at school. See me if you have questions about logging on. I am learning with the group, so we will see where this takes us!

Buzz Math Homepage

Ask Me…This weekend’s Ask Me question is to do an extra 30 minutes of outdoor fun and let me know what you were up to! I am heading to the lake so I am looking forward to this too! The forecast doesn’t look great, so it also might also be a good time to get some reading in! All students have next week’s tracking sheet in their folder 🙂 I’ve noticed that many students are not reading regularly and not bringing their home reading folders in regularly either. I know everyone is busy but reading is very important and a great daily habit to get into. I’m hoping for 25 completed reading folders and Ask Me questions on Tuesday morning!!!!

I found a list of reasons of why kids need books…take a peek if you have time 🙂

Why Do Kids Need Books?

Creativity: Earlier in the week I showed the class a video from youtube about the loss of creativity at school and at work. I had seen the short film on Twitter and it made me sad. Then it made me think. Then it reaffirmed what we are trying to create in our class. I thought I’d post the link on here in case any of the kids were talking about it and you wanted to see 🙂


Have a really great long weekend. I look forward to hearing everyone’s stories during our sharing time on Tuesday morning.

Until next time,


Hungry?? Want some Algae?!

Today we had a great time with our guest presenter. Maddy is a Scientist who has a passion for algae!!! She brought in some samples for us to see and compare to some slides she had in her presentation. Maddy even brought us some edible algae to try! 4/24 enjoyed our snack! I was  NOT one of them lol!

One very important thing we learned was that not all algae is bad…in fact algae is an important part of a balanced Eco system!

Tomorrow we have two more presentatons! What a great week for learning!!!!

Check out our Instagram account for more pictures and a video of our reaction to eating the algae!


(if you don’t have an Instagram account see Danielle for help signing up :))

Until next time!


Happy Mother’s Day :)

Let’s start this post off right!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the important ladies out there. These lucky kids have some fantastic role models, caregivers and supporters. Thank you for all that you do 🙂 I wasn’t able to see my own momma today, but living in different provinces for 15 years…we are kind of used to that. I’ll see her next weekend and shower her with her favourite things! I am also so lucky to have so many other important moms out there who are ready to give me a helping hand, some good advice or a little extra love when I need it. We are all so fortunate to have a community of strong female influences in our lives. I hope you all enjoyed your day…and the lovely cards your children made for you. A few of them let me snap some pictures for the blog!



I love the creativity and thought that has gone into these cards. The only criteria was to create a “card” with a personal message that reflects both you and your mom (or special lady you’d like to give a gift to). Amazing work!

Mental Math Strategies:

This past week we defined and practiced two more mental math strategies.

-Commutative Property for Addition: “The word “commutative” comes from “commute” or “move around”, so the Commutative Property is the one that refers to moving stuff around. For addition, the rule is “a + b = b + a”; in numbers, this means 2 + 3 = 3 + 2″

Commutative Property for Addition Video-youtube

We sometimes refer to these facts as “turn around facts”. This property also applies to multiplication (3×5=15 & 5×3=15)…but NOT for subtraction or division (in which cases you need to always start with the ‘whole’).

Basically… the order of the addends does not affect the sum.

Example: 75+25=100 and therefore 25+75=100

-Compatible Numbers: Compatible numbers are sometimes referred to as ‘friendly numbers’ or ‘nice numbers’. Some examples of common compatible numbers include 1 and 9; 40 and 60; 75 and 25 and 300 and 700.

This strategy for addition involves looking for pairs of numbers that combine to make a sum that will be easy to work with.



6+9+4+5+1=25 (6+4=10, 9+1=10, 5 more)





60 + 30 + 40 =

75 + 95 + 25 =








*We see these types of questions a lot in our Number Puzzle books!

Students should be able to recall compatible numbers for 10,20,50, 100 and basic fractions.

Example: Compatible Numbers to 10

Students should use what they know about number pairs to 10 to help them with 20, 50 & 100.

Example: If 3+7=10, then 13+7=20, 43+7=50 and 93+7=100

*Pairs that “end in 0” are the “easy ones”.

Example: 10+10=20, 10+40=50, 20+30=50 (and we already know about the commutative property a.k.a. turn around facts so 30+20=50 and 40+10=50), 10+90=100, 20+80=100, 30+70=100, 40+60=100, 50+50=100…

It is the ones without the ‘benchmarks’ that cause grief amongst many students.

Example: 19+31=50, 23+27=50, 38+12=50, etc. But if you take a minute to look at the questions you will see some patterns from all the way back at compatible numbers to 10.

19+31: any addend that ends in a 9 is looking for another added ending in 1. Then think that one more to the 19 is 20 and 1 less than 31 is 30 and now the question is 20+30 which is easier to manipulate in your mind! Does this sound familiar to a previous post about mental math strategies?!!!!

It will take some time to learn the compatible numbers to 50 & 100 for some kids…but that’s ok. Just practice a little each day.

Compatible Fraction Example:

Think of it as simple as this. I have half of a pizza what other fraction do I need in order to have a full pizza? 1/2. Two halves make a whole.

OR 1/4 of an hour has passed. How much of an hour is left? 3/4. One quarter (or fourth) and three quarters (or fourths) make a whole!


We started division this past week. Things we know so far… that we can use Fact Families to help us with basic facts (if 2×5=10 and 5×2=10 then 10/2=5 and 10/5=2). 3 numbers turned into 4 number sentences! To divide means to share equally. When physically sharing a group of objects into sets we do it one at a time. Example: If there are 12 cookies and 4 people who each want cookies, how many cookies do they each get? Start by either drawing 4 circles OR getting  something to represent the 4 people (these are the sets). Then share the cookies one at a time until you run out (either by drawing the cookies OR using something to represent the cookies). At the end each person will get 3 cookies. We can think of this as…

3+3+3+3=12 or 12-3-3-3-3=0 or 3×4=12 or 12/3=4 or 12/4=3!

One of our classroom stories helped us put some division into practice!

 (The Cookie Fiasco)

Let’s Talk Science

Earlier this week we had a volunteer from Let’s Talk Science come in to talk to us about what Science is and where we can find it and also do some Instant Challenges with us. So. Much. Fun! What a great program! Later on this week we will have W.I.S.E (Women in Science and Engineering) come to talk to us about Sound!

Ask Me…

This week’s Ask Me…question is all about homophones! We are noticing some mix ups in writing and in some Words Their Way groups and decided to have some fun learning homophones.

Homophone Video-You Tube

There, Their and They’re is what we started with…and this weekend’s homework was to think of and either draw or use them in a sentence to show the difference!

I can’t wait to see what we came up with. I’m thinking we can make a pretty fun display somehow!

What’s Up This Week?

-W.I.S.E presentation: Thursday a.m.

-Water Fun with our special guest!: Thursday p.m.

-Lake Winnipeg Foundation Presentation: Friday a.m.

-At least another 150 minutes outside!

P.S. Thank you so much for the kind words, treats and cards from Teacher Appreciation week. The Montrose Community knows how to make teachers feel loved!

Until Next Time!