Peter Muschal Elementary School

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PMES Primary Enrichment Program

In January the second group of Kindergarten classrooms completed the 8-lesson cycle of introduction to convergent and divergent thinking.  Students enjoyed thinking like a magician, figuring out how magicians make things look like magic and seeing how performing magic tricks takes practice! They also enjoyed building things, like an inventor. They came up with new ideas for the use of dots, based on the book Ten Black Dots. They found excitement in building and testing “a flying thing”, stemming from the book Leonardo and the Flying Boy. They were inventive!

Conjure up ideas…draw what you see in your mind! First graders explored visual thinking in a variety of drawing problems.  Tell me then, why is that…why is that not? They found on the spot thinking…brainstorming …a heightened problem-solving thinking activity.  In February students will further practice their deductive, convergent and divergent thinking skills thru assorted activities.

Second graders were fascinated with the “footprints” (tracks) of animals.  How can you tell the difference between a feline (cat) print and a canine (dog) print?  Ask a second grader.  They continued with Logic Links; as the dot sequences lengthen so do the number of clues.  This raises the bar for reading for detail.  We ended January by turning to the man-made patterning found in the patterns of American pioneer quilts. The Early Americans made quilt blocks that told of many aspects of their life – their trip west, holidays, games. and everyday life.  In February, students will become familiar with various pioneer patterns and work to recreate one on their own mathematically.  They will also continue with Logic Links.   

During January third graders looked at their completed tower constructions in another way.  As a manmade structure, towers serve many functions: some contain, others support, some shelter, some transport.  What kind of structure can our tower be? Students were challenged to brainstorm numerous functions their tower could be.  Collaborating with their partner, groups/companies selected one to further describe as a solution to an engineer design problem. What was the engineer design problem?  Enter collaboration again…. towers have now become cell towers, lighthouses, park lookouts, ocean observatories.  In February, engineer companies will tackle another building problem and create an engineer design problem from it.  Third graders will also continue with Logic Links.