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Upper El (1/25-29): Waves & Energy

This week we explored two different categories of writers and how that might help each student work through their stories. We also moved forward on our Science Fair reports and continued our unit on Radiant Energy by learning about waves!

Some writers like to plan out every detail of their story before they start writing, and we call them Architects. Others like to get into the writing with just a general idea of where they're going and use that flow to figure out and discover the rest of their story. We call them, Gardeners.

We talked about the pros and cons of each approach and how we all use a little of both. Depending on which way students feel they lean, I created mini-milestones that they can aim for throughout the week. If they are a Gardener, they will be finishing their writing earlier to have more time for editing. Our Architects will spend more time planning before they put their first sentence to the page.

This week, we also made another change in our afternoons to stay focused and productive when we have free time for writing. We've created a designated brainstorming and discussion area for students to plan out their stories and get help and ideas from friends. This leaves the other areas for more focused work. Our brainstorming area was a hit, and we'll make some adjustments to make it even better for the future.

Our Science Fair reports are coming along, and we should have them finished by early next week in time to start putting boards together!

For our new Unit on Radiant Energy, we talked about how waves transfer energy and not matter. Then, we explored the difference between light waves and other waves, like sound.

The final lesson on waves involved a demonstration. Students broke up into pairs, each holding one end of a rope. One student held the rope steady, while the other created a single wave in the rope. We talked about wavelength. Then, they each tried to make two or three waves in the rope. Again, we talked about how the wavelength was decreasing as the number of waves increased.

Finally, they tried to make as many waves in the rope as they could. They were moving their arms furiously and as fast as they could to get a few more waves! Again, our wavelength decreased. Then I asked, "what required more energy?" With panting breaths, it was obvious that to create more waves, and to have a lower wavelength, required more energy! Therefore, waves with the lowest wavelength carry the most energy.

Next week we'll dive into the speed of light and how fast that is!

Friday, we got some extra creek time in, which was great. I was able to take that stellar picture of the action... not my best work, but they are in the picture somewhere and they were having fun!

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