The Wind Chill is -30 F. A perfect day to take 21 second graders fishing!

 Teaching 200 kids science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is an amazing part of my ministry.

Yes, it can be challenging to figure out what projects match what groups of kids. Sometimes you really need to work out the details, and sometimes the details work you out.

This week was “Water and Boats” with grade two. These seven year olds have more energy than a power plant. They are in constant motion! But this particular group also has a great imagination, so:

First, we explored buoyancy, building small boats of aluminum foil and discovering that shape matters. We tested our boats with plastic blocks (which we pretended were people, pets, and luggage). We practiced taking turns and dealing with disappointments. Yeah… some boats sank. Only one child was not able to self-regulate… so his disappointment led to a crying jag. 

These days, our students (even older ones) struggle a lot with social skills and anxiety and stress. Most also are still in the Covid grief cycle- their parents, aunties, siblings, or grandparents died. Many returned to school 3 weeks back after surviving yet another “remote learning” mess. So, tears and other emotion-driven behaviors are much more frequent than “PC” (Pre-Covid).

The second day of the “Water and Boats” unit was a chance to do a science experiment. We learned how to say and use the word “hypothesis” and when we pulled an object of the the box, we had to state our hypothesis. I, myself, said “hypothesis” about 72 times as each kid got a chance to test their hypothesis by putting their object into the tub of water. We had some surprises! Cotton sinks but socks float. Pennies sink but paper money floats! We learned that it’s not about the weight of the object, but the density. Since it was a science experiment, we also took notes and prepared our reports, which will go on the hallway bulletin board. Here’s Jayton’s report:

Our final project involved learning about trout (hog’an) and creating our own hog’an un kuwapi (fishing pole) and fish. We colored our rainbow trout like…. well, like rainbows, of course! 

All the cutting and coloring was necessary to create our hokuwa ska tapi (fishing game). With plastic fishhooks made on our 3d printers, string, and fishing poles made from wooden paint sticks, we turned the classroom into a fishing hole and went fishing.

We caught more fish than anyone expected. We practiced patience, problem-solving, fine motor skills, following directions, and collaboration. We managed to tangle our fishing lines only twice. Our rainbow trout were extremely cooperative….

… probably because they had a large paperclip taped to their mouth.

Regardless, the second graders had a wonderful time making their new game, which they got to take home today. Next week, I’ll do this same unit (Water and Boats) but with first grade. Hopefully it goes as smoothly!