What a stellar month we have had! The solar system study was packed with fun and exciting activities, songs, table stations and art! It is so fun to watch our Branchers grow and learn each month. They are growing in their knowledge, independence, and skills! This month we also had fun practicing our swimming skills at Juniper. The Branchers that joined for swim did a wonderful job challenging themselves in the water!
As we BLASTED OFF into outer space we started with learning about our solar system and the name and order of the planets in our solar system. Our Branchers quickly learned all the words to our new planet song and tons of facts about the planets. Branches learned new vocabulary such as orbit, star, supernova, satellite, and the names of all the dwarf planets. They are well on their way to becoming space scientists.
This month Brachers also got to pretend to be astronauts in our newly converted Space Station. There they got to practice new vocabulary, dress up as astronauts, and use the computer to complete their research. Branchers also had the chance to play at other stations such as our space sensory station complete with glow in the dark stars, moon rocks, and astronaut figurines. The Branchers did a great job building rocket ships and visiting far away planets.
No month in the Branch classroom would be complete without ART! We got the month started with self portraits and name flags. This month we did star shaped self portraits and each Brancher got to pick their favorite planet to paint for their name flag. The Branchers continue to progress not only in their fine motor skills as they draw themselves but also in how clearly they are writing their name! They have grown so much! For the name flags after they each picked their favorite planet we used paint and a marble to mix the colors of their planet. They turned out beautiful and we love how they share a little bit about themselves in every flag.
The Branchers also got to learn about the life cycle of a star. Did you know that stars in the sky explode causing a bright and beautiful show of colors before it slowly fades away? This is called a SUPERNOVA! As a class, we researched fun facts and interesting information about Supernovas and found many incredible photographs. The Branchers were so intrigued by the beautiful bursting wonders that we decided to create our very own! By using liquid watercolors and salt, we created some super beautiful Supernovas!
In the Branch classroom we love practicing our math skills! Whether we are patterning, measuring, or counting. There are numbers everywhere! So this month we learned about moon phases and practiced our fractions! We discussed as a whole group how the moon always stays the same, but as we look up into the night sky, the phase (or the size/shape) of the moon changes throughout the month. We discovered the four basic phases of the moon: Crescent moon (or banana moon as the Branchers like to call it.) Half moon, gibbous moon and, of course, the Full moon. As a morning circle activity, we put our math skills to the test as we added the different phases of the moon together. The Branchers learned two half-moons create a full moon and four crescent (quarter) moons create a full moon. With that concept set in place, our next mission was to put our information down on paper… literally! We started by making DIY puffy paint using shaving cream, glue, and glow in the dark paint! Each Brancher then cut out five moons, two crescents, two half, and one full. Then they used puffy paint to paint each moon before gluing the moons onto the black paper provided. It is incredible to witness the scissor skill progress each Brancher has made!
Zoom Zoom Zoom next we are headed to the Moon! Next up on our space adventure was exploring how we get up into outer space. We learned about different types of space vehicles: Satellites, Rovers, and Rocketships. Branchers had the opportunity to check out google earth and see how far away satellites in space can take pictures of Earth. We got to find Big Ben in London, we looked at Antarctica, and even found Growing Tree! It is amazing to see all the details in these photographs. Next we talked about Curiosity, a Mars Rover. We talked about how a rover was similar to a car but it can be driven by remote control. We also talked about the different parts that make up a rover. Lastly, we discussed rocket ships and how they fly up into outer space. The Branchers then had a chance to make their very own rocketship using straw power to blast off!
The hands-on learning didn’t stop there! We try to incorporate food into each learning unit. This month we used marshmallows to make constellations! We learned that constellations are pictures in the night sky. Each Brancher then had a chance to make their very own constellation! They then used glue to place their marshmallows onto their night sky. After all the marshmallows were placed they connected the “stars” to form their constellation. Then they each named their constellation. Finally after they were done creating each Brancher was able to taste test a marshmallow. Our taste testing didn’t stop there! Branchers also got to do some astronaut food tasting (MREs)! While up in outer space astronauts have to get pretty creative with their food! The Branchers thought the astronaut ice cream was a hit! And they even enjoyed the macaroni and cheese!
Time is just flying by! Just like that, August is here. Our final month with our Branchers. Although this month is bittersweet, we are so honored, privileged, and grateful to have been able to spend this entire school year with each and everyone of your children. They have all grown so much this year. We have witnessed growth in independence such as zipping their coats, folding their blankets, and matching their shoes. We have also seen their friendships grow, their empathy for others, and mindfulness flourish. They are truly blossoming and without a doubt we know they are ready to move up to the Blossom classroom. We are so excited for their next grand adventure. But until then we will make every day in the Branch classroom count and continue to make memories together! For August we have many fun adventures and activities planned in the Branch classroom as we explore Geology. We are going to have a ROCK’n good time!
Lastly, thank you for allowing us to be such a big piece of their little lives. Our hearts are full!
- Miss Gracen and Miss Heather