Peter Muschal Elementary School

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PMES Primary Enrichment Program

In February Kindergarten groups continued to meet the cast of four thinking skill characters used to introduce critical and creative thinking skills. Some had solved mysteries with Dudley the Detective; others had moved on to meet Max the Magician; magicians love to make your eyes do tricks…visual imagery! Others had met the final thinking skill character, Isabel the Inventor.  What new ideas can we come up with? Groups should finish up their 8 lesson cycle in March.

February is by the calendar a short month; but in the short time, the PEP groups saw progress! The first grade group completed their illustrations of their animal rhymes.  Their illustrations and rhymes will be coupled with the first grade students at Peter Muschal to create a booklet to share with others.  The booklet will have all their animal and habitat rhymes and illustrations they have worked on over the past months. In March, groups will begin thinking skill activities that apply convergent thinking. Dudley the Detective and Sybil the Scientist will be two thinking skill characters that will be reintroduced to them.

Second graders continued with Logic Links and investigated their own fingerprints. They identified their own in terms of loops, arches, and whorls. They also acted as forensic scientists to check the prints of others students; did they agree with what they saw or identify it as another type of print based on closer observation?  Students made statistical connections; all groups confirmed they follow the common fact that loops are the prevalent pattern.   In March, students will look briefly at another type of nature made patterning, animal prints.  They will then turn to the man-made patterning found in the patterns of American pioneer quilts.  They will learn how these patterns tell a story.  They will problem solve to recreate one on their own.

Third graders were stretched to think how to construct a rocking chair with given height and weight requirements and budget limitations. Working cooperatively they brainstormed and came up with prototype drawings; they set about to build and problems began to arise… the rockers would not hold the weight, the rockers would not was back to the drawing board!  Persistence, working together, problem solving – students are learning the challenges of working with materials in a different way… the sounds of success are as noticeable as the sighs of despair.  In March, we will complete our engineering unit.  Students will become familiar and experiment with simple circuits using little bits, a product that uses modular electronics.

Ready to spring into March!

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Dianne Mizerak
Teacher, Primary Enrichment Program
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