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For the Love of Science

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Love was in the air at Ann MacArthur Primary School on Valentine’s Day, but it was a love of science that these second graders felt.  Students in Amanda McCarthy’s class were enthusiastically conducting an experiment using candy hearts and the scientific method to determine what would happen to the crunchy candy pieces when dropped in various substances.

With six cups in front of them containing water, soda, oil, vinegar, peroxide and hand sanitizer, the students first predicted whether the hearts would sink or float in each one. Then they made educated guesses as to whether the candy would dissolve or stay in tact. 

As the little hands placed the candies in each cup, they watched with awe to see if their predictions were correct. Scientific discussions took place to understand why the hearts both sank and floated in the soda. The students wrote their conclusions and drew pictures of the outcomes. 

Ms. McCarthy said the experiment was a success, with the children honing their skills in the scientific method. “This was a great cooperative project in which they followed directions, made predictions and learned from the outcome.”

Family Fun With Math and Reading

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Puzzles, card games and a scavenger hunt and were just some of the engaging activities that primary school students and their families enjoyed during the Family Math/ELA Night on Jan. 15.

Held in the Bayville Primary School multipurpose room, attendees from both of the district’s primary schools had the opportunity to rotate through many activities that were fun while boosting reading and math skills. Students went home with the games they played, allowing them to practice these skills with their families. 

“This is an opportunity not only to improve proficiency in important areas, but also to spend quality family time doing something meaningful,” said Kimberly Ferina, Coordinator of Mathematics, K-12. “Students are excited to come back to school at night to play these games and don’t consider it work. That’s our goal, to make students eager learners and help them understand that education is not a chore.” 

The event was organized by Ms. Ferina and Dorothy McManus, Coordinator of ELA, K-5.

The State of a Root Beer Float

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Root beer floats may sound appropriate for snack time, but in one second grade class, the delicious treats reinforced a unit of study on states of matter. Students in Amanda McCarthy’s class at Ann MacArthur Primary School were told they were doing an experiment using three states of matter. However, when each student was given only a small cup of ice cream and a small cup of root beer, they realized they only had two states of matter. 

The young scientists went into a round of “think, pair, share,” working together to predict what the third state of matter could be. Identifying the root beer as liquid and the ice cream as solid, they followed the steps of the scientific method to discover that combining them into an ice cream float would create gas – and a yummy reward for their hard work!

Remembering the Message from Martin Luther King Jr.

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From the primary school to the high school, students and teachers commemorated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Teachers used art and writing to reinforce the positive messages of Dr. King’s words.

High school students in Melanie Mooney’s Studio Art classes were each given a thumbnail image that they were asked to replicate proportionally in charcoal, on a 6-inch-square piece of paper. It was difficult for students to decipher what the thumbnail image was, as each one was a portion of a larger image. 

Once the students had all recreated the images, they assembled them in order on the wall based on codes on the back of each thumbnail. They watched as squares put together became hands, a nose, a mustache and eventually, a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. 

“It was exciting to see the students understand how their mini individualized artwork when put together and assembled created a masterpiece,” Ms. Mooney said. She explained that Dr. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” and that the “others” in this statement helped her students understand that artwork goes much further than themselves. “Collaboration and teamwork can create a much bigger picture,” she said.

At Ann MacArthur Primary School, second graders in Tanya Becker’s class read the book “Martin’s Big Words” and then wrote down their own big words. The book explains that big words are important words such as sharing, caring and love. The children wrote their own names inside of hearts and surrounded those hearts with their own big words, including fair, friendly, kind and beautiful. Ms. Becker explained that the project supports the Bucket Filler program, which emphasizes traits such as empathy, understanding and caring.