## The pencil challenge

Can you balance a pencil on its point? First grade scientists can! They used what they have learned about balance to meet this challenge–take a look!

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Can you balance a pencil on its point? First grade scientists can! They used what they have learned about balance to meet this challenge–take a look!

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How can you create a balanced mobile? Scientists in Room 123 found the answer as they began our Balance and Motion science unit!

As they did so, they also began learning about the scientific process: making, testing, and revising predictions. Take a look!

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As part of our unit on folktales, readers in Room 123 enjoyed and then analyzed Jan Peck’s *The Giant Carrot.*

Students also began to explore figurative language through Peck’s writing.

One simile intrigued students: could carrot pudding possibly be as sweet as sweet Little Isabelle? Students in Room 123 and in 1B made and then sampled carrot pudding–take a look!

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Readers in Room 123 began a new unit of study during Language Studies: folktales. They started by listening to and then analyzing *Grandma Lena’s Big Ol’ Turnip*.

This text also served as the introduction to a new type of writing: how-tos. First grade writers worked as a class to help the Grandma Lean teach the others how to grow turnips. Below you can see writers sketching the steps, the first step in the writing process.

Here is the final draft!

Next week, students will use the same process to write their own how-tos.

Mathematicians in Room 123 often solve real-world problems. They might figure out how many books they can get with $20 to spend or how many students will be at each table when we get our new one.

But they also engage in the real work that mathematicians do. They wonder about numbers and operations, notice patterns, and use models to prove why the patterns work. This type of work expands students’ understanding of what mathematics is. It also lays a foundation for algebraic reasoning and proof.

Take a look at mathematicians engaged in this real work!

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5th grade students from Mrs. Matthew’s class have been learning to code with help from Mrs. Roberts. They developed computer games and needed players to help test them. Students from Room 123 were happy to help!

The 5th grade students shared their work and then listened to compliments and suggestions from the 1st grade beta testers. Special thanks to Mrs. Roberts and the 5th graders for this opportunity!

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Which books to buy? How much do they cost? Students in Room 123 made decisions and proved the math in the second round of the Book Order Project!

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Building with magna-tiles is a favorite activity during Room 123’s daily Makerspace time. Earlier this year, students worked to build a tower…

…that was taller than the builders…

…and even taller than Mrs. Mooney!

It is through solving problems–and discussion around those solutions–that students develop deep understanding of mathematical concepts. When teaching for conceptual understanding, collaborative group work can be a particularly effective instructional method. This is especially true when group work is followed by focused discussions–math talks–which target specific learning goals.

In Room 123, mathematicians are learning to use a problem-solving process in teams. Individually, they analyze a problem and represent the situation using mathematical models. Then they discuss their thinking with their team and make a plan to solve the problem. Next, they use a variety of math tools as they carry out their plan. After reviewing their work, team members justify their thinking using evidence from the problem and show how they solved it. Finally, the teams come together to discuss their findings.

As the year progresses, teams will grapple with increasingly challenging problems. They will also use more efficient strategies and sophisticated models. Below you can see students’ first efforts at working in their problem-solving teams!

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“Hey, that’s Sendik’s!”

Most students in Room 123 recognized the WFB store, but they couldn’t figure out why I was showing them a picture of it at the start of a math lesson. Then I explained: *My daughter works in the floral department at Sendik’s and she is hoping you can help her solve a problem.*

*Nora’s boss asked her to use red and yellow roses to make bouquets. Each bouquet must have five roses. Now, some customers like more red roses in their bouquets and some like more yellow roses in theirs. Nora needs to make as many different color combinations as she can, so her customers have lots to choose from. But she’s not sure how many different bouquets she can make. She hopes you can help her figure out this problem!*

Mathematicians use various models to represent and solve problems. This real-life context served as an introduction to modeling for our class. Students were eager to help Nora, as you can see below:

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