What the Water Taught Us

dump no waste

Dear Families,

Last week while pumping water through PVC pipes we watched as it went down a storm drain in the parking lot. This led to us developing some new “wonderings” such as:

What is a storm drain?

Where does the water go?

What is pollution?

How does pollution change the water?

Who needs clean water?

So we started our week with a new investigation. We began with a trip back to the parking lot to investigate the drain. That’s when some of the children noticed that the drain was stamped with fish prints with the words “DUMP NO WASTE – DRAINS TO WATERWAYS”.. This led to more questions. We went back to class and talked about water pollution, the plants and animals that live in or near water as well as the different ways that water can be polluted. After watching a video on stormwater pollution, we went  back to the parking lot to further investigate. Baker does a good job keeping our facilities clean, but we did  find a few small patches of oil and a slight amount of trash. We also noticed a pipe about halfway down the drain, which led to our adventure to see where the storm drain enters the lake by the Bahai Temple.

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While there, we made drawings of all the plants, animals, and insects we could see that were dependent on the water. We saw ducks, geese, other birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, ants, and plants (in the water).

what do we see

The next day, we talked about our journey to the canal,  the animals we observed, specifically concentrating on  birds and where they build their nests. Ducks and geese, for example, build nests next to water. We were then prompted to create an experiment: How do pollutants harm animals? For this experiment, we placed three hard boiled eggs in a bowl and covered them with cooking oil and observed the eggs. After 5 minutes, I removed one egg and removed the excess oil from the shell and then peeled the egg. I then repeated this after 15 minutes and 30 minutes. At the end, we could see how some oil had soaked through the egg shell. We then had a discussion about how the oil might harm the baby bird. Next week, we will conduct some experiments to see if we can find a solution to clean the water with filters.


reflecting pool

While at the Bahai, we looked at the aesthetic forms of water that give humans enjoyment; namely the water fountains and reflecting pools. We also had the pleasure of learning a bit about the water system that connects the fountains from a security guard. This kind person explained to us that all the fountains are connected by a tunnel that circle the temple. The water is then cleaned and recycled back to all the fountains. Additionally, there are wind instruments that turn the fountains down if the wind is blowing too strong.

We have also continued our exploration of self and identity that began with our self-portraits. One part of this study is about observation and recording exactly what we observe and reflecting on the changes we see over time. What do I actually see when I look in the mirror? Who am I? We read the book Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers (illustrated beautifully by his son Christopher Myers) and came up with a long list of each of our different personas (daughter, son, student, runner, singer, etc.). Stop by and see the self-portraits hanging in the hall (yours are there as well). We also made individual books about all the things each student likes and can accomplish on their own (ride a bike, dance, etc.). On a final note, we have begun to introduce formal handwriting. The first two letters we covered are “L,l”, and “T,t”. In this activity, children not only practice how to hold a pencil and use their  helping hand to steady the paper, but also learn the proper strokes to write each letter. In addition, we connect the sound each letter makes as we write. When practicing these sounds with your child, be careful not so say “tuh” for T, or “luh” for L because you are adding the Uh sound. We will also be making an alphabet as we go along to connect to our theme of water. Thus, L is for lake (or ladybug) and T is for turtle.

In math, we have introduced the number line and have learned to play the Bunny Hop game, counting up  and back from 20. We also use the number line as I tell word stories to the children. For instance, the students  each have a number line in front of them and follow along with a story as it is told. Thus, I might say, “Ms. Makagon had 5 pieces of candy” and the students will move their finger to 5. “Ms. Naden-Johns ate two pieces of candy” and students will count back to two. Finally I will say, “Now how many pieces of candy does Ms. Makagon have?” and the children answer. The stories will become more detailed and new math vocabulary will be introduced as we progress through the year.