By Marva Cooley. 5th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 30th, 2020 - 12:07:07 PM.
Several years ago educators tried to launch national standards in education. Knowing that families move, some of them multiple times, it seemed invaluable to have some commonalities state to state. Otherwise kids in California learned about life science in the 5th grade and earth science in the 6th. After the student finished 5th his family moved to Idaho where students studied earth science in the 5th grade and life science in the 6th. While this offered the student a double-whammy in life science, this also meant that there was no formal earth science instruction so that when test time rolled around, the student was left with large learning gaps. National standards were intended to alleviate this stressful situation by ensuring that all students are taught what they need to know and understand with grade level expectations in mind. The biggest problem with the first go-round on national standards was the word "national". States rights folks determined that the federal government was interfering yet again with demands of what to teach, when, and how. While there was a "what to teach" foundation, these "whats" were items that students need to know and be able to do to be successful. The when was by grade level. These seem rather important and valuable for efficiency and continuity.
The math standards are a bit more complicated, especially because I have not taught K-12 Math (whereas I have experience with K-12 English). Knowing that concrete thinkers suffer with abstract reasoning and that that is the basis of algebra, student maturity becomes a serious issue when determining why Benny gets it and Sally cannot get it yet. Also with math, it is not just repetition with complexity increasing, but individual concepts. You cant simply skip multiplication and expect students to automatically divide. But once I laid out the K-12 standards and divided, grouped, rearranged, and created a total picture, I felt much more at ease. The science standards, while difficult for a non-science teacher, really depend on State X and State Y agreeing to teach certain concepts and scientific areas at specific grade levels. Science also has that wonderful magic called a lab. Students who go to lab with a hypothesis and then experiment following specified steps, draw conclusions and finally prove or refute their original hypothesis are actively engaged and so they remember and are able to replay and apply their knowledge. This makes uniting concepts, units, and areas of study far easier. While many insist that is time to abandon the Common Core and move back to state and local expectations or to reinvent with a new plan, this presents the problem of continuity in education and offering equal and ample opportunity for learning for all students everywhere. I believe it is totally possible to understand and implement the Common Core and still teach with strategies and technique that reach and teach every child. They supply commonality and continuity that benefit every learner.
The first stage of learning is the collection of data. We are all inundated with data - every page we read, every email and text message, everything we hear - in fact, everything that is taken in by all of our senses -- is data. Elementary school students are taught a lot of data. Adults are also inundated with data, but while the students are expected to absorb everything they are taught, adults look for relevance and purpose within the data - they filter the data according to their needs and interests. Management guru, the late Peter Drucker, said that when you give data relevance and purpose, you get information - the second stage of the learning model. Adults seek information. Children dont know what will be relevant and purposeful to their lives, so they absorb all the data they are given. As they mature into adults, a lot of the data they learned in school is laid aside in their brains so that they can focus on what is relevant and purposeful to their lives. For some people, much of this data gets buried deep within their long-term memories and can be recalled - these people become the trivia experts and the Jeopardy contestants. But for most people, much of the data absorbed in school is lost - thats why adults have such a difficult time on the television show.
Fluids: Understanding the dynamics of fluids develops an interest in such fields such as marine studies, chemistry and even biology. 5th grade science projects such as those that target water fluidity or mercury are good to illustrate the various characteristics of the fluids. The shapes that the various fluids would take when in a tube in a tube that is placed on level provides good insight into the characteristic of fluids and therefore how they can be used in daily life. Fluids such as mercury that have a concave shape would be sued differently from water that has convex shape.· Effect of light: A common experiment is that of determining how much light can be focused to provide brighter or more powerful view. The use of the concave lenses in microscopes is an example. Various concave mirrors can be arranged to provide a large beam of light that can be used to observe very minute organisms, or to do laser surgery. This can be easily be done for 5th grade science projects.
Its true, "The weakest ink is more enduring than the strongest memory." I confess; today, I am thankful for that boondoggle assignment which gave me strength and a coping technique I used while waiting in the hospital. My husband had successfully battled congestive heart failure for six years until a sudden and severe infection violently attacked his already weakened heart. After the fourth time in the hospital during a three month period, he was officially put on the heart transplant only eleven days after he was admitted. While he fought for his life, I battled the silence and the waiting. I read magazines and newspapers. I listened and watched people. I prayed. With the attention span of a gnat, I decided to memorize a Bible verse which had caught my eye as a car with a personalized license plate drove by. I was not familiar with the verse, "Rom. 15:13." I counted the number of words in the verse, Romans 15:13, thirty-one words to be exact. "Not too many words; quick to write; at least it would keep my hands busy." I purchased a journal in the hospital gift shop and returned to the intensive care waiting room. I began writing the verse over and over again.
Understanding of elements of energy such as heat: This is a project that is designed to help a child to understand the various forms of energy. A good example is to determine how much heat is required to heat a very cold or hot bean. Place the bean seed in the deep freezer for 10 hours, another bean seed in the refrigerator, another under room temperature and another pre-heated for 2 hours. Cook all the seeds in a microwave for about 5 minutes and determine their levels hardness. The one that remains harder would be because it needs more heat to cook it. Therefore energy is transferred from one form to another.
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