CA&S 2016-17 Grade 2 Honeybees

Yesterday, May 11th, the second graders were treated to a taste of fresh honey during a visit from local beekeeper Birgit De Weerd, who showed the children a honeycomb, live bees, and photos of honeybees working in their colonies.

Ms. De Weerd first taught us the many differences between wasps and bees. Bees are a brownish-goldish color. Wasps tend to be yellow and black. People will often say they were stung by a bee when they were stung by a yellow jacket wasp. Bees only sting us if they get scared. Bees die after stinging a person because they cannot live without the stinger, which gets left behind in our skin. If we get stung and there is no stinger in our skin, we know we were not stung by a honeybee. We also learned that honeybees do not come to our cookouts or picnics to eat. Only wasps eat our picnic food. Honeybees eat only pollen and nectar, not hot dogs.

We also learned that bees live in large colonies and each bee has a different job, such as a cleaner, worker, builder, guard or nurse. The largest bee in a colony is called the Queen, who lays about 2000 eggs each day and eats only royal jelly. Ms. De Weerd demonstrated how bees make honey and encouraged the students to observe bees outside during the spring and summer gathering pollen and nectar.

We learned that dandelions are the most important source of nectar for honey bees, so we should try to keep some in our lawns. We also learned that some fertilizers and weed killers kill bees. We learned that if we see a large hive or swarm of bees to just leave them alone. They are looking for a new hive or hollow tree and will move along soon. Or we can call our city and they will send a beekeeper like Ms. De Weerd to come and take them. We should never harm the bees. Honeybees are very important in our food chain because they pollinate all of the fruits and vegetables that we eat. Without honeybees, we would have no food. The world needs honeybees!

Ask your children:

Q: What should we do if we get a bee-sting?
A: Always scratch out the sting. Do not pull or push the spot because any pressure can squeeze more venom into the skin. Put a paper towel with vinegar on the sting.

Q: What is a major predator of bees?
A: Skunks. They scratch the side of the hive, and when the guard bees come to the opening to check the noise, the skunk scoops them up and eats them; repeating the scratch-scoop-eat process all night long. A skunk can eat hundreds of bees in one night because it does not mind getting stung.

Q: What is a drone?
A: A male bee who mates with the Queen. It has no stinger. cannot gather food, and does not do any of the worker jobs in the colony.

Q: How does a beekeeper know winter is coming?
A: All of the drones will be found dead outside the hive. Drones are killed by the other bees in the fall because the colony wants only worker bees to help the hive survive the winter.

CA&S 2016-17 Grade 3 Native American Perspectives

Today, the Third Graders enjoyed an interactive classroom called” Native American Perspectives”. Using a TIPI as the classroom, the teachers dressed in clothing of the western plains of the 1800’s presented hands-on learning experiences covering topics such as a comparison of the term “Indian” and “Native American”. The children learned about the lives of the Native Americans that lived in the Great Plains region, who lived in Tipi and hunted Bison. They were shown a toy chest made of raw hide and the types of games played by Native American children. They were shown a “false face” mask carved from the trunk of a tree. Moving east towards Massachusetts, the children learned about the homes of the Wampanoag and other tribes of the Northeastern Woodlands. They answered questions about the “three sisters” – corn, beans and squash – which was the main dietary staple. Heading to the Pacific Northwest, the children heard the tale of the Raven and how the sun was placed in the sky. The children showed off their knowledge of the many tribes throughout the Americas, though no one is able to name the over 500 tribes that once existed.

Questions to ask your child:
1) What are the customs they learned regarding entering and exiting a tipi?
2) What is the origin of name for the state that we are living in?
1) Different with today, ladies were not first!! Men should enter or exit first but they should say thank you to women.
2) “Massachusetts” was name of one of the Northeast woodland tribes.

CA&S 2016-17 Grade K Explore the Ocean

Ocean Exploration at Countryside!

Today the Kindergarteners enjoyed an educational visit from Ellen Goethel, a scientist at “Explore the Ocean” in New Hampshire. She taught them about echinoderms such as sea stars and scallops, and crustaceans like hermit crabs and lobsters.

Best of all, the children got to touch and hold the sea creatures! Dr. Goethels taught them how to do it safely and they all had an awesome time encountering the creatures of the deep!

She also brought in whale teeth, baleen, whale vertebrae and dozens of other items from the sea.

Ask your child:
How big was the whale rib bone?
What do lobsters use their antennae for?
Did you touch any sea creatures? What was it like?

CA&S 2016-17 Grade 4 Origamido

Today(4/10) Michael LaFosse, an internationally renowned origami master, presented to each of the 4th grade classes. Throughout his presentation, Mr.LaFosse engaged the students by having them describe the geometric properties of many shapes, including squares, triangles, and trapezoids. The students exercised their math vocabulary and analyzed the properties of the transforming shapes as they folded. Using a “story-gami” approach, he guided the students as they created their own fortune cookie box and multi-piece puzzle.

Mr.LaFosse displayed several of his masterpieces, including an alligator that took 50 hours to fold from a 6’ square and “Wilbur the Pig” who was once displayed at the “Louvre Museum” in Paris. Students were truly amazed that only a single piece of paper with only folds and no cuts were used to make these wondrous creation.
Mr. LaFosse has designed over 6,000 creations and written 75 books. His work was showcased in n award-winning documentary “Between the Folds.”
Mr.LaFosse brought one of his published origami books and one postcard as a souvenir for each 4th grader to bring home.

CAS Grade 2 Day In Ghana

Today, April 10, the second grade enjoyed a memorable “Day in Ghana” presented by Joe and Vida Galeota. The presenters took the children on an imaginary day trip to Aburi, Ghana, the town in which Miss Vida grew up. It is located in the mountains outside of the capital city, Accra.

We learned that Ghana has 40 languages and 209 dialects across its many regions, and that the weather is very hot. There is no electricity or running water in Miss Vida’s town, so the children’s chores include collecting water from the river in giant bowls made of calabash, a gourd much like a pumpkin. Children also help care for baby siblings and sweep the house early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Many parents could not afford to pay the school fees or for books, so Miss Vida went to school under a mango tree, where the children learned by repeating the lessons in song. Our students learned to count to ten and to sing the ABC song accompanied by the wood-carved hand drum that Mr. Joe brought along to share.

We learned that Ghanaian children’s first names are based on the day they were born. So, for example, the “baby” that Miss Vida brought to show the class was a boy named Kofi because he was born on a Friday. A girl born on a Friday would be called Afua. Mr. Joe was born on a Sunday, so his Ghanaian name is Kwame.

The students had a chance to “wear” the baby on their backs. They also had the opportunity to dress in kente cloth, the cloth of Ghanaian royalty, and to sit on a “gold” throne. The visit to Ghana concluded with the children learning a high-energy Ghanaian dance that had everyone on their feet.

Questions to ask your child:
1) How do they carry babies in Ghana? How do they carry water?

2) Why do Ghanaians kneel or bow to guests?

3) What are the steps to the dance you learned? Demonstrate them!

Answers: 1) On their backs; on their heads 2) It is a sign of respect. 3) Enjoy the dance!

CA&S 2016-17 Grade 5 Weather Observatory

Today, Will Broussard from the Mount Washington Observatory visited our 5thGraders to give them an in-depth view of what it is like to observe the weather at the top of Mt. Washington, where Will and his team work with the National Weather Service to provide the greater New England area with weather forecasts.

Will shared that the weather station sitting at the summit of Mt. Washington has been operating since the 1930s, with record temperatures of 72F to -47F. He asked the 5th Graders to use their observation skills to note the absence of any trees near the top of Mt. Washington and shared that the high winds and frozen fog prevents tree growth in that area. Lower down, trees grow to only about our ankles. Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, summiting at 6288 feet. The children showed off their cloud naming skills, identifying clouds from Cumulus, Stratus, Cirrus, and Lenticular (lens shaped clouds that resemble UFOs). On a clear day, one can see up to 130 feet into the distance.

We then connected live to the observatory and talked to Tom about his job observing the weather. He works 12 hour shifts for 7-8 days and lives at the Observatory during his shifts. Tom showed us the instruments used to record the weather and the discussed the harsh windy, cold conditions with which he contends. We were shown a video of Tom playing in the high winds and saw another video of an observer changing the precipitation can. A third video highlighted how the weather observers remove rime ice from their instruments.

Questions to ask your 5th Graders:

Q. What is the highest wind speed recorded at the observatory?
A. 231 MPH

Q. What is the record low temperature observed?
A. -47f.

Bonus question.
Q. What is the name of the Observatory’s pet?
A. Marty the Cat

CA&S 2016-17 Grade 4 Eleanor Roosevelt

Today the fourth graders saw a one-woman play about Eleanor Roosevelt presented by Sheryl Faye. Faye is dedicated to presenting strong and positive role models to children. Eleanor Roosevelt is a very strong role model and also ties in with World War II studies, the Great Depression, Civil Rights and Biographies.
Sheryl’s performance started with Eleanor’s childhood memories and experiences which all had big effect on her personality and who she became later. She explained in detail how Eleanor and her husband (President FD Roosevelt) started their political lives and how she became President Roosevelt’s ears and eyes in later years when he became sick.

In her performance, Sheryl pointed out Eleanor’s strong personality and how determined and caring she was.
Questions to ask your child:
1. What is some good advice Eleanor Roosevelt got from her father?
2. Did Eleanor Roosevelt like making speeches at first? How did this change and why?
3. How was Eleanor Roosevelt different from other First Ladies?

C&S 2016-17 Grade 1 Matt Tavares

On Tues, March 7, the first grade classes enjoyed a Creative Arts and Sciences presentation by author Matt Tavares. He walked them through the process of writing, editing and illustrating a book from start to finish. He shared true stories about his research while writing his book “Growing Up Pedro,” a book about Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. The kids learned that in the beginning a story goes through many changes and corrections before it becomes a book that we can actually buy.

Questions to ask your child:
1) What are some things Matt discussed that you can use for research?
2) What does Matt like to use as a model when he is drawing his pictures?

1) Internet, books, magazines, newspapers, traveling to the places you want to write about
2) His favorite models are people. He likes to draw live people.

Grade 2 Suzy Kline

Today, Wednesday November 30th, Countryside’s 2nd graders met children’s book author Suzy Kline. Ms. Kline is the author of more than 40 books, most notably the Horrible Harry series.

Suzy spoke with the kids about becoming a writer. She shared that every book starts with an idea “seed.” These idea seeds come from her every day life. Suzy was a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher for 27 years, so many of the plots in her stories started in school.

The key to Suzy’s writing has always been a small notebook that she keeps in her pocket at all times. She encouraged the students to keep a notebook, diary or scrapbook because we don’t have the time to write an entire story when things happen; but we do have time to write down one or two words that will be our idea seeds for writing when we do have the time. She showed examples of seeds she had jotted down many years ago that had become Horrible Harry books: a purple hanger and a smile made of ketchup.

Suzy explained that great stories don’t have to be long or complicated to be great. Great stories sometimes have only one sentence on each page. Great stories don’t have to be neatly written or spelled correctly at first. The important part of being a writer is just putting your words down on paper and then reading them aloud to yourself so you can hear how great your story is going to be.

Suzy also reminded the students that great writers keep reading. Many of her idea seeds came from reading other stories such as Alice in Wonderland. Sometimes characters or events in other books will inspire your own ideas for your own book.

Suzy showed the children her big folder full of rejections. She explained that rejections are when a publisher says, “No, thank you” to printing your book. She saved all 127 rejections that she received until her first book was accepted. It was a book called, “SHHHH,” and it was inspired by the fact that she said it too much one day when she was teaching. She said the rejection folder reminds her–and all of us–that writers should keep on writing and never give up.

The presentation in each class ended with a very animated question and answer session with the students.

Discussion with your child:
Q:  What do you need to be a writer?
A:  1. Paper
2. Pencil
3. A quiet place to write

Techsploration Demonstrates Electric Fun

Friday, January 13, 2017, was a lucky day for the Fifth Graders at Countryside.  They were treated to an interactive presentation about electricity by Tom Wahle, educator, science enthusiast and owner of Techsploration.  Tom explained electricity by having Fifth Grade volunteers pretend to be atoms that passed electrons along a chain.  He brought a Van de Graaf generator and used simple streamers to explain static electricity.  He showed the children how different forms of power are created by the sun, wind and water using fun props such as a watergun.  Finally, he operated a Tesla coil and used it to light a fluorescent light bulb without any cables.  Ask your child to explain electricity to you tonight.