Smisking Afternoon Update 3.13.15

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We have had such a blast learning about the sun, moon, and stars. With everything from the Star Lab with Naomi to learning the moon phases, we now have some star-gazing students among us. Some of my favorite moments have been the extra questions students have asked, as they become more curious about the stars and planets above us. We certainly have a classroom of investigating scientists ready to learn more abut our world.


The class has been tracking the sunrise and sunsets, and just recently completed a whole month’s worth of data on it. We’ve been able to see the length of day increase each day reminding us that the long play days of Summer are drawing near! It’s been a great connection to see made between the amount of sunlight and how the Earth orbits the sun.

On top of all this excitement, we have our Planetarium field trip coming up this Tuesday! There couldn’t have been a better way to lead up to this wonderful opportunity. The class will be more than ready to ask more questions and learn much more about the universe.

Several students have asked that I share one of the websites we used to discuss the moon phases. You can see it by clicking here.
You can also check out the demonstration we completed a couple weeks ago by clicking here. It allowed students to see the change in our perspective from Earth of the moon’s reflection of light from the sun. To wrap up our study of the moon phases, we created the eight moon phases using black construction paper and chalk. They glued each one onto strips of paper they had colored to remind them of the night sky or space (some turned into hats and belts unexpectedly, but we sure had fun 🙂 ). They’ve done an awesome job!

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Spelling will start back up next week. This week we had taken a break since it had been a short one and students were working hard on their portfolios for student-led conferences.

On that note, thank you so much for visiting our classroom for these presentations. Each student put an amazing amount of effort into choosing work, writing about it, and practicing with partners to prepare for you! I can’t express how proud Mr. Smith, Ms. Nham, and I are of their work this year and in presenting for their conference. We even had students who had been out sick for several days come back to school and finish several days of work in one! Wow! To those students who we missed seeing this week, we look forward to having you back soon. We’ll get the class all caught up and ready for re-scheduled conferences. Thank you for your patience and support.


At the end of the trimester, students wrote an informative piece on our green feature of this year: the lighting in our building. We had viewed a slideshow earlier that described the three main components of our green lighting: motion-sensing lights, half-on/half off light switches, and clerestory windows. Each of these aspects of our building help us save energy! Ask your students about some of these features. We are excited to be caring for our environment each day with our lights.

After we heard some amazing star stories from Ms. Naomi, students had the chance to create their own! They each had a page of Chicago’s current view of the stars in the sky. Students made their own constellations by connecting stars on their page. Afterwards, they came up with a legend for their constellation to explain how or why it appeared. We had everything from kings and queens to mustaches and candy. They made some very creative stories! Nice job, class!

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Students have wrapped up their research and will be compiling their hard work into one class book! Stay tuned…we will be thrilled to share it with you. 🙂

Spring Break is on its way… stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the warmer weather!

Mrs. Buesking

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