Susie Scientist For The (Learning) Win!

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Susie Scientist visited our first and second graders last week! She brought with her energy sticks, which conduct electricity. Susie talked about how neurons make connections, and how the energy stick helped connect the class.

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Students worked in groups, holding hands with each other and the energy sticks to learn about closed circuits and open circuits. They held hands in a big circle and sure enough, the machine buzzed and lit up!

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What a great way to learn!

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Service Project Update

Last December our First and Second Grade students did chores for family and friends to earn money to purchase toys and fun bandaids to donate to Randall Children's Hospital. It was part of a STEAM-based project based learning assignment that both classes participated in. You can read the original article here

We wanted to give you an update on how the project went. Our students raised $520 to purchase toys and bandaids for kids who had to be in the hospital at Christmas! The students were proud that they earned the money themselves, and they were excited to have the toys delivered to the hospital. 

Teaching kids to serve others like Jesus served each of us is important. It's something we work hard to instill in our students, and we are so proud of our First and Second Graders for their servant's hearts!

Teaching Students to Have a Servant's Heart

Tualatin Valley Academy's first and second grade students are learning about service this Christmas. 

Mrs. Wendt and Mr. Darby are dedicated to Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL is a technique that helps students engage in learning in a dynamic environment. They study real-world problems and work to solve them. The classes have done things like study farming, learn about other careers, and this month, they are learning about serving others. Each learning module combines a variety of STEAM-based teaching techniques to enhance students' learning ranging from crafts to computer projects to engineering to comparing and contrasting related literature and then writing their own version. 

As part of these projects each student and their parents work together on a monthly homework assignment. This month's assignment is all about service. Students are doing chores for family, friends and neighbors to earn money to buy fun bandaids and toys for patients at Randall Children's Hospital. They are learning the value of giving of themselves to help others who need it - helping to brighten someone's day through their own actions and hard work.

The students are excited and eager to earn as much as they can to help the kids at Randall's, and they will be giving a presentation to their class at the end of the project about what they learned by giving of themselves to help others. 

It's an important lesson that will last a lifetime. 

Featured Class: Mrs. Wendt's First and Second Grade

Mrs. Wendt, one of TVA's first and second grade teachers, is taking science to a whole new wacky level this year! Her Wacky Science curriculum, which is taught every Thursday, has first and second graders on the edge of their seats and clamoring for more.

Professor Susie Scientist teaches the class, complete with a lab coat, goggles and wacky white wig. Students perform experiments like watching skittles dissolve and bleed color when placed in water, in the process learning about things like what water solubility is and much more. 

Another project involved water beads, teaching students about how to form a hypothesis. If food coloring was introduced into the water, would the water beads absorb it or would they stay clear? Students journal their findings, combining reading, writing, art and drawing skills with their science lesson. 

Wacky science lessons are woven into the larger curriculum that Mrs. Wendt teaches. For example, the week the class did the water beads experiment, they had read "The Invisible Boy", a story about including others. They talked about how the clear beads disappeared into the water and related it back to the book. This week the class experimented with Mentos and Diet Coke, learning about this week's "word to live by", cooperation. They got to see firsthand how well Mentos and Diet Coke cooperate!

Mrs. Wendt has brought STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) into her classroom in several other ways. She has iPods with educational apps on them for student use. She created STEM bins with things like 3x5 cards and tape for students to build structures out of, or popsicle sticks of various sizes with velcro on the ends for students to create fun new shapes and structures during free play.

First and second graders in Mrs. Wendt's class are sure to sharpen their science skills this year, and they (and Mrs. Wendt) will have a lot of fun in the process!