Posts Tagged ‘IB’

Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Fifteen Elementary School science enthusiasts shared their passion for science at the first Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair, sponsored by the Academic Excellence Student Council members.

Students completed projects and experiments at home, as well as created displays explaining their experiments or inventions. On Friday morning, other Elementary School students and parents toured the exhibit to meet the scientists. Our scientists taught everyone about acids and bases, centrifugal force, and many other concepts. There was even a homemade Galilean telescope!

Thanks to the Student Council and our scientists for a great event!

Cell Analogies

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

You probably can remember learning about the cell: its functions and various components with words like vacuoles, endoplasmic reticullum, mitochondria. But imaging having not only to learn the cell and its functions in the language of biology, but teaching someone else who has a completely different background from you. Finding common ground that you can both can connect to becomes incredibly important — and challenging.

Middle School Science teacher, John Pedersen, gave his Gr 7 students this exact challenge: apply their knowledge of the cell and its functions and their creativity to develop cell models and displays that will allow them to connect with someone who meets the following descriptions:

Coral Shores
Age 22
Coral grew up in a tiny beach town in Hawaii. She spent most of hers days surfing, collecting seashells and spending time on the beach.

Harvey Swashbuckle
Age 20
Harvey grew up just about everywhere. His parents were archaelogists who studied shipwrecks and were constantly on the go traveling. Harvey grew a strong interest in all things pirate.

Brittany Cinema
Age: 21
Brittany grew up in the Hollywood Hills. Brittany is a rich girl who is quite detached from anything not dealing with fame. Brittany’s mother is a famous movie producer, and her mother’s love for movies can be found with Brittany.

Charlie Barndoor
Age 19
Charlie grew up on a farm in Indiana. Charlie spends almost all his free time tending to his parents farm. Charlie’s main interests are riding his tractor and tending to his animals on the farm.

Cindy R. Ella
Age 20
Cindy grew up in Anaheim California where she had a season pass for Disneyland every year of her life. She visited the park on most every weekend basking in the wonder of the magic castle waiting to meet her Price Charming. She attends Walt Disney University where her favorite class is “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Shaniqa Sanger
Age 21
Shaniqa grew up watching reality shows like American Idol, The X-Factor and the Voice where she dreams of the day when she will be a contestant on the Voice where she hopes to be picked by Lusher.

The following are photos of our students and their cell displays. Well done Grade 6!

Gaining Personal Perspectives on Migration

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Gr 4′s current unit of inquiry is based on migration and how throughout time, people have migrated causing change to themselves and indigenous populations. They learn about the factors that cause people to migrate, the many migration routes that have developed throughout history, and affects of migration on the emigrants and the indigenous population.

In order to learn about personal experience with migration, the classes met with and interviewed students at the Learning Lab on the 4th floor of the Boise Public Library. Children and adults new to the United States come to the Learning Lab (LL) for a variety of reasons. Some want to hone their English skills. Other want to learn how to read or complete their GEDs.

Lila Cabrera, a former Riverstone Spanish teacher, who now works at the LL, introduced us to her students when we first arrived. The groups were split into teams, and then the 4th graders traveled to “stations” to interview the Learning Lab students from a variety of countries: Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Russian, Somalia, and Nigeria. The questions covered a gamut of topics. “Why did you leave your country?” Do you miss your friends and family? “Do you have any special wedding traditions, and if so, what are they?” “What are some of the things that you first thought were strange about life in Boise?” Some of our 4th graders learned how to write their numbers and alphabet in Farsi, or how to say hello in Yuruba, a Nigerian language.

The time flew. Students on both sides benefited, having had the chance to share over two hours together. A woman from Mexico remarked, “I haven’t spoken this much English since coming to the Lab!”  Another person commented, “I can’t believe how bright these kids are! Are they really only in 4th grade? They are so perceptive and adept at asking good questions!” What a great time we had!

In the afternoon, after a lunch at Julia Davis Park, Gr 4 went on a walking tour of the downtown area. The students began their journey at the Rediscovered Bookstore (where they picked up another copy of their guide book, Ethnic Landmarks: Ten Historic Places that Define the City of Trees). They visited the old Chinese quarter, the Basque Block and the Star Hotel, the German Turnverein building, the Assay Building, the Spanish Village, and the O’Farrell Building on Fort Street. Students took notes and learned a great deal more about their city.

Thanks to Ms. Fitz and Mrs. Clayton for organizing this great field trip!


Photography Contest Winners

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Elementary School Student Council Outdoor Education Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Spring Break Photo Contest!

Students in every division, parents and teachers submitted over 100 pictures. Judged categories included: Scenery, Wildlife, People, Black and White; in conjunction with the Big Break Birding “Contest” there was also a Birds category.

Students on the Outdoor Education Committee as well as Riverstone Art teachers judged pictures with composition, focus, and story in mind; photographs can be viewed in the Elementary School. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this such a fun, community oriented event!!

1. Water Source (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
2. African Sun – Liebich Family
3. Tree in Central Park – Sophie B (Gr 5)

1. Soccer at Sunset (California) – Andy Johnson
2. Flys (Tanzania) – Carly L (Gr 10)
3. Peruvian Vendor – Natalie P (Gr 10)

1. Iguana (Mexico) – Susan Cole
2. Vicuna (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
3. Cheetah (Tanzania) – Liebich Family

Black and White
1. Child (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
2. Leaf (Hawaii) – Laura F (Gr 2)
3. Migration (Tanzania) – Liebich Family

1. Heron (Mexico) – Susan Cole
2. Secretary Bird (Tanzania) – Liebich Family
3. Parrot (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)

**Best in Show was Natalie P’s Child in Black in White.

The Intoxicating Realm of the Mystery Novel

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The following post appeared on Ms. Fitzharris’ Grade 4 blog this morning:

Over the past month, our class has been delving into the mystery genre. Each child has chosen and read at least one mystery since we began the mini-unit after Spring Break. We’ve talked about alibis, red herrings, suspects, and how a mystery’s plot tends to evolve. After mapping out an elaborate plan for them to write an essay explaining all of this, I realized (by the look on their faces) that what each and every one of them wanted to do was to write their own mystery and have their classmates solve their crimes or problems. So that’s what they’ve been working on over the last week or so. Last Friday, I brought in old fedoras, trench coats and a few other props and had each student pose for a picture. When they complete their mystery, they’ll type it up and we’ll post them outside the classroom along with the photo of them wearing their detective garb. We’ll keep you posted!

Not One Unclaimed Sock, Glove, or Hat after 3 Day Yurt Trip!

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The following blog entry is a letter that Ben Brock, our Director of Outdoor Education, wrote to Grade 8 parents last week.

“I didn’t want to wait too much longer to let you all know what a great time I had working with the Grade 8 class last week. From pre-trip responsibilities, to on-the-fly decision making, to trip wrap-up and gear return, this group of students proved that, even with a wide range of outdoor backgrounds, they are up for whatever challenges I throw at them. We enjoyed a wonderfully mild and sunny Wednesday, made the most of soggy conditions on Thursday, and tromped out victoriously on Friday. I’m always happy when, even though it’s not expected, a few hardy souls sleep in a snowcave. I’m even happier when we clean the yurt after all is said and done and have (GASP!!) not one unclaimed sock, glove, hat, etc! Very impressive!

Next stop: 5 days in Hell’s Canyon!!

Some lessons learned along the way (from student activity booklets, which will serve as preparation aids for this group of students when they go winter camping in Grade 10 as well as for next year’s Grade 8 class.)

  • “My base layers are my favorite piece of outdoor gear.”
  • “People will help you when you need it but you need to be willing to help as well.”
  • “I’d bring another water bottle next time.”
  • “Don’t overpack and don’t underpack!”
  • “Snowcaves can keep you warm.”
  • “Drink water!”

As always, thank you for entrusting us with your children’s safety.”

A special thank you to our two Grade 10 Outdoor Leadership students, Mikayla and Quinn, for their help and guidance during the trip!

Perimeters in the Real World

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

In Grade 4, yesterday’s math lesson on perimeter challenged the students to calculate the perimeter of their classroom. Armed with tape measures and meter sticks, the students found the task to be more difficult than they thought it would be, having to account for window and door measurements. In the end, the class came up with a “rough estimate” and learned a lot in the process–not only about determining perimeter, but how to work successfully in a group.

Slow Is Smooth and Smooth Is Fast: An Adventure in Rain & Snow

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
The following was an email sent from Ben Brock, our Director of Outdoor Education, to parents of our Grade 10 students last week.
Dear Parents, 
Just wanted to say that despite some of the most challenging conditions I’ve ever led a trip in, I had a wonderful time with the Grade 10 class these last few days.  
As we climbed up Bogus and it continued to rain even as we pulled into the Nordic Center, we knew we were in for a “treat.”  After making the decision to send one group directly to the yurt to get it heated up, the other group proceeded to our campsite as planned to give it our best shot.By about 2:00pm, however, it was clear that, despite our best efforts, a night in snow caves and tents was just not in the cards. You’ve all seen pictures of the resulting evening that we (all 32 of us!!) spent “drying out” in the yurt.  
Luckily Thursday brought us clearer skies and we were able to travel back to our campsite, about a 35-minute snowshoe from the yurt, and spend the day completing our unfinished snow caves, analyzing a pretty uniquely saturated snowpack and generally enjoying the temporary lack of rain. We headed back to the yurt for dinner, built another snow cave for good measure, and even had four hearty souls decide to sleep out under the “stars” even with snow in the forecast.  
This morning, as the rain returned, we spent about an hour talking through some of the challenges we faced and how we overcame them, and about how some backcountry concepts such as “summit fever,” and the “halo effect” can be avoided (ask your kids…). We also talked about how, when things get tough, and decisions are made quickly, mistakes become more likely (in our urgency to get moving and have as much time as possible to get camps constructed food went to the yurt). A saying I introduced to them is “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”  A few extra minutes double-checking our sleds would have saved significant amount of time and energy. 
In all, many good lessons were learned on this trip, as is often the case when you find yourself in trying circumstances. It wasn’t the trip we envisioned when we put it on the calendar in July, but it was well worth it.  
Thank you all for trusting me with the safety of your children.
And finally, none of it would have been possible without Lisa Armstrong and Tami Dougherty; they are incredibly caring and competent…and fun! I’d go on a trip with them anytime!

Middle School Science Bowl Team: Smarts and Sportsmanship Combined

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Congratulations to Riverstone’s Middle School Science Bowl team! The The Free Radicals placed 2nd in the Idaho Regional Middle School Science Bowl this past Saturday.

The team met Astronaut Barbara Morgan and competed through 11 tough rounds of competition, ultimately meeting Treasure Valley Math and Science Center in the final round. Christina U received recognition as one of five top competitors as voted by the coaches.

The Free Radicals were also honored with the tournament Sportsmanship award as chosen by the coaches and volunteers who ran the event. The award included a new buzzer system that could be used by the team during practice. The team generously donated their buzzer to another team who did not have one. Wow!

Special thanks to our coaches, parents Kim Liebich and Tom Mahoney. Thank you also to Micron Foundation and Hewlett-Packard for sponsoring this great event.

Should 4th Graders Go to Snow School?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

At the end of their four week session at Bogus Basin’s Snow School, Grade 4 teacher, Jennifer Clayton, asked her students to write a five paragraph essay addressing the question, “Should 4th Grade go to Snow School?” Here are a few excerpts from their papers:

“All 4th graders should go to Snow School because it is good exercise, good learning and great thinking.”

“You learn how to make a shelter and how to survive alone in the wild.”

“You learn how to think like an animal.”

“Fourth graders get to belly slide, play games and have fun! Belly sliding happens on steep hills.”

“They will track snow shoe hares and spiders, but the spiders are very tricky.”

“Kids get to learn awesome things like how to make snow blocks and how to make an igloo.”

“They will get great exercise. Stomping around in the snow and up steep hills will really hurt their legs. But their legs become stronger.”

“Fourth graders should go to Snow School because they will get outside and still learn.”

So…have our 4th graders convinced you that they should go to Snow School??