During May the focus skill for first grade was Visualization, thinking more “outside the box”. Different activities were used to exercise this thinking. Following a given set of directions, students transformed drawings into objects they at first could not visualize. Giving a second or third look they were surprised at what their drawings had become; adding details made them even more eager to apply the skill of visualizing; we extended this by brainstorming short quick verbal stories. Tangrams were also introduced; a set of seven geometric shapes that together can form different images. By flipping and rotating the given shapes, students applied critical thinking to piece together given tangram templates. Lastly, students had graduated in the game called Set; they were introduced to the online game version, finding that very challenging but wanting to take the risk to help one another find six given sets.
Second graders concluded Logic Link activities and were introduced to origami, or paper folding. Like tangrams, origami originated with the Chinese culture and was later passed onto the Japanese. Many objects can be made through paper folding, one of which is a wheel. Students became familiar with the procedure to make an origami wheel, then given a problem to solve: a company was looking for new billboard ideas to demonstrate different uses of wheels; students were asked to do a small scale drawing incorporating a minimum of two origami wheels to demonstrate different uses of a wheel. By attaching the wheels to their poster with a brass fastener, the wheels would turn, to make their poster an interactive project.
Third graders also concluded Logic Link activities and delved into the world of computer science. They became familiar with the terms algorithm, program, code, and experimented with the writing of programs with courses developed from code.org.
Regular scheduled meetings will conclude in May to allow for testing of additional students entering grades 1-3 for the 2017-2018 school year. After district testing concludes in June, regular groups will meet once to conclude the year. All work folders and program certificates will be distributed to students before school ends. End-of-year program evaluations will be included with their classroom report cards.