March Highlights from Heartworks Williston

March was a special time of learning as the themes were “Teacher Choice” this month.

The children taught by Sarah and Amy had a classroom full of feathered friends!  They brought the theme of Birds to life by welcoming some special guests, a pair of parakeets named Sunshine and Ray.  Thank you to Leah for bringing them in to visit the children, it was thrilling! The children also created wonderful bird feeders and set them up outside with window; with a field guide near the window to help identify any visitors.  The class built a life-sized nest, which was a favorite place to play.  There were many creative art projects and songs to help highlight the featured flying creatures.  

The children with Erica learned all about Construction in March.  They learned about blueprints and how to design structures before construction begins.  They learned about the tools and vehicles and special safety equipment that are used.  They built several different kinds of structures throughout the month with multiple kinds of materials.  Certainly the highlight of the month was when Anna’s parents Jacquie and Nate Dagesse brought in an excavator for the children to explore, climb aboard and were able watch a demonstration right up close!  Not even the rain could keep them away from that experience.  

Going and Growing Green was the theme for the friends taught by Georgia last month.  They learned about taking care of our environment by delving deeper into recycling and composting, and they talked about it impacts living things on the Earth.  They discussed what plants need in order to grow and how to support their needs.  

The friends with Amy engaged in Light and Color Exploration.  They discussed the different types of light including natural light such as fire and sunlight versus light crafted by humans like flashlights and electricity.  They made a shadow puppet theater and explored light refraction which is what makes colors.   

Cassie and her friends studied “Life on the Farm” during the month of March.  They explored animals that live on farms and went beyond to discover the process of raising crops.  They discussed the importance of farms in our everyday life.  It was such a nice unit that raised the children’s awareness and appreciation for where our food comes from. 

Maria took the children on an excursion to Egypt.  They learned a lot about the climate and culture of this African country.  They were completely engaged in building pyramids out of various materials, and they enthusiastically explored hieroglyphics.  They also learned about King Tut!  The children were able to compare Egypt to the other cultures that they have learned about already this year.  For the children, the world is becoming ever smaller with each new nation that they visit.  They are learning that various ways of life are acceptable and exciting!   

Leah led students on an exploration of Dinosaurs and Paleontology.  They were introduced to the concept of paleontology discovering fossils and learning about dinosaurs.  The children made their own fossils and dug for dinosaurs in the sand table.  They learned about specific dinosaurs including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Pteranodon, and the Brachiosaurus.  They learned where on earth they lived, what they ate and how big they were.  There were wonderful opportunities to measure.  It took the whole hallway to measure the size of the Brachiosaurus, and they estimated and found out how many of their shoes could fit inside a Tyrannosaurus Rex footprint!

The friends with Caila ventured north to Canada this month.  They learned about the culture and geography of the large country.  From the language, provinces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the igloos up north - there was a lot to learn!  The children connected their studies to their former lessons about Kenya, so they were able to compare similarities and differences between the two nations.  How wonderful to learn to appreciate different cultures; becoming familiar with various regions cultivates a sense of acceptance and respect.  

STEAM

Science: 
Children discovered the wonder of oxidation as they doused pennies in vinegar and observed how they turned green over time.  They learned that this is how the Statue of Liberty got to be the color that she is today. Students planted bean seeds in clear cups and have been documenting their observations in their plant journals.  One class was visited by Farmer Corey from Shelburne Farms who “planted” grass seed on paper towels with the children.  Some children conducted magical color chemical reactions which were enthralling!

Technology:
Children used flashlights to change the size and shape of shadows, they created static electricity and connected it to how this energy can be channeled.  Students learned about the different tools used in planting and cultivating plants.  One class even went further in how to enjoy the harvest that comes from some plants, by using a popcorn machine to pop dried corn kernels!

Engineering:
Some children engineered flowers this past month, labeling all the parts and identifying their function in helping to support the structure.  Children also engineered volcanoes this month.  One Wednesday paper triangles were placed before the children and they were challenged to use them as the building material to engineer a structure as tall as possible.  

Art:
Colorful “stained glass” window decorations were created to celebrate the beauty of all the colors.  Children also used water colors to paint and then sprinkled kosher salt on top to watch the effect the salt had on the pigment.  There was open-ended art exploration with various materials and “carte blanche” to design a masterpiece.  The life cycle of a butterfly was dramatically represented as well this month.

Math:
Given an egg carton and a wooden cylinder block, children were asked to create a balance scale. Once they experimented with different ways to carry out the challenge, and succeeded at designing a functional scale, the children used it to measure and compare the weight of various objects.  While baking Blueberry Cobbler, a class used the measuring cups to explore fractions.  They determined that 4/4=1; exciting discoveries!


St. Patrick’s Day

What fun was had on St. Patrick’s Day when we arrived at school to discover the mischief that the leprechauns had left in their wake!  The classes were prepared for their visit, making traps in hopes to catch one to see one in person, and to no avail; no one was able to secure a leprechaun, they are too tricky!  We look forward to trying again next year!