We began our unit on scientific investigation.  Over the past week and a half, the students have been learning how to select an appropriate science fair question.  They’ve also learned how to write a meaningful purpose for their project.  Over the next week, all students will conference with a teacher to double check the quality of their question and purpose. 

We’ll also begin online researching skills.  We’ll work on mastering how to:
 generate keywords for searching
 refine a search
 expand a search
 evaluate a website’s quality and usefulness for research
 bookmark a site
 read a website for information (including web highlighting and summary notes)
 create a bibliography
 share new information with others

As you can tell, that’s a lot to learn—most people spend their entire life improving those skills!  Developing strong research skills is a challenging, but critical process.  We’ll  work diligently on this, but will probably take us quite a bit of time. 

The current due date for student research and bibliography is Friday, October 23rd.  We’ll complete most of this work in class.  

I’d rather the students learn the basics of research than rush to complete an assignment.  I’m confident that with hard work on their part, they should be able to complete this assignment during school hours.  Depending on how much support the students need conducting research, we may need to push this date back a few days.  Stay tuned for updates!

You may still want to ask your student about what they learned, or continue digging deeper into their science concepts at home.

Also, keep in mind the following due dates:

·       Pre-approval form: Thursday, October 15th

·       Research & Bibliograph: Friday, October 23rd

·       Variables: Tues, Oct 27, 2009

·       Procedure, Material Lists, and Hypothesis: Fri, Oct 30, 2009

·       Typed Mission Plan: Tues, Nov 3, 2009


For all of these assignments, we will learn how to complete that stage of the scientific method in school.  We will also begin the assignment in class, although they will need to complete the remainder at home.  Because the actually experiment will be conducted at home, you probably will want to have your child share his/her procedure and material list with you before turning it in.  In fact, you may wish to work with your child as he/she writes the procedure and mission plan (while keeping in mind that it is the 5th grader’s project).  That way you’re not surprised when it comes time to conduct the actual experiment.

As you may know, we have a science quiz on Friday, October 4th.  The students were given a study guide. 

A great study habit for your child to develop is to make corrections to their work as the teacher goes over it in class.  I've explained this to them, and I walk around the room to see if they're going so, but sometimes they miss a problem or to.  A great way for you to help your child grow into an independent learner is to take some time to review the study guide with your child.  Did he/she mark questions they answered correctly with a star?  Did he/she circle questions they answered incorrectly (so they know to spend extra time studying that topic), AND write the correct answer?  If your child did, then celebrate this success!  If not, please encourage them to do so in the future.  It's hard to be prepared for a quiz when your study guide is wrong!

Also, we've discuss some memory tricks in class to help remember the difference between qualitative and quantitative measurement:

1. Qualitative has the root word QUALITY.  If you want a good quality meal, you're hoping it will smell great, taste delicious, look appetizing, etc.  Qualitative observation is all about the five senses.

2. Quantitative has the root word QUANTITY.  If you want a large quantity of sometime, you want more of it.  That means you're thinking about numbers.

3. Also, quaNtitative has an N in it, which can stand for numbers.  Quantitative observation is all about numbers and measurement.

Helping your child come up with memory tricks while they are studying is a great habit to develop.  Encourage your child to come up with their own tricks from time to time!

One final way your child can prepare for the quiz, is to check out any of these sites for extra practice using and reading a triple beam balance:
    *   http://www.wisc-online.com/objects/index_tj.asp?objID=GCH202 
    *   http://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspView&ResourceID=385 
    *   http://www.touchspin.com/chem/DisplayTBB.html 
    *   http://www.ohaus.com/products/education/weblab/TBBread.html
Looking for help finding a science fair project idea?  Try any of the sites below (or search “elementary science fair ideas” in Google).

Science Buddies
Science Buddies’ Recommender
Cool Science Projects
Julian’s Project Suggestions
All Science Fair Projects

Also, check out the Vincent Science Fair website for other tips on completing a science fair project.
All good scientists must have outstanding observation skills.  So, that’s our current topic of study in science class.  We’ve been discussing two different types of observation: quantitative and qualitative.

Qualitative observation uses your five senses: see, smell, hear, taste, and touch.

Quantitative observation uses measurements and numbers.  We’re currently using how to make quantitative observation using a triple beam balance.  You can practice finding the masses of objects on interactive triple beam balances found here, here, here, and here.

We’ll be having a quiz on observation skills the week of October 1st.  Check back next week for more information!

In science and math class, you'll need to use LOGICAL thinking to solve many different types of problems.  Practice your logical thinking skills as you play this Blox game.
In science this week:

·      We learned the meaning of the word metacognition (knowing and being aware of how your brain thinks and works), and why it is important to know how you learn best. 

·      We took a multiple intelligence assessment to discover how we are smart.  There are currently 8 different intelligences: people smart, word smart, number smart, self smart, body smart, music smart, picture smart, and nature smart.  There’s also talk of a 9th intelligence being added: technology smart.  Ask your 5th grader what their top 2 areas of intelligence are. 

·      We learned that we’re all smart in different ways, and it’s important that we have members in our class who have different areas of strength.