Raising Butterflies

We learned about butterflies this spring and raised butterflies so students could witness their miraculous life cycle change up close. A special thanks to the PTO for the funds to purchase our butterfly kits!  We raised Painted Lady butterflies. They arrived as caterpillars in little jars on May 6th. The jar contained the food the caterpillars eat. For about a week they were busy eating and growing! They shed their exoskeletons several times while growing.

On May 11 our caterpillars started their transformation to the next stage of their life cycle.  Each caterpillar attached itself with a sticky substance to the lid of the jar.  They then hung in a “j” position and shed their exoskeleton one last time. This revealed the chrysalis that is underneath. Now the caterpillars were pupas. Their bodies changed to liquid inside the chrysalis and then reformed as a butterfly.


On Friday, May 20 our first butterfly emerged. When we returned to school on Monday we found 9 butterflies in our habitat. They drank a nectar substance while we observed them for a day and a half.

Today, May 24th, we released our butterflies into the Brecknock Butterfly Garden. Each butterfly flew off to explore and will hopefully return to enjoy the flowers we have planted.



Butterfly Garden

This month we planted the Third Grade Butterfly Garden at Brecknock. This project aligned with our Performance Task for Module 6 where students are asked to educate the community on what we can do to help Monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed which is the sole source of food for their caterpillars.  Milkweed is harder and harder to find in nature since humans are building and expanding. Monarchs also migrate all the way to Mexico each year for the winter and need to drink nectar from flowers to give them the energy they need for this long trip. The Brecknock Butterfly Garden has both milkweed and high-nectar producing annuals to help Monarch butterflies. We got donations of angelonia and marigolds from the Garden Spot High School Plant Science Class. All third graders helped to plant the flowers and spread mulch. Our class also created some educational cards which we “planted” in the garden so that visitors can learn a bit about butterflies when visiting the garden. We hope this garden will be home to the butterflies we are releasing as well as many other wild butterflies!



Agriculture Awareness Field Trip

Yesterday we got to enjoy our long awaited, rescheduled Agriculture Awareness Field Trip. Our students rotated through 7 stations to learn from the Garden Spot FFA and Agriculture students. We learned a lot and pet some really cute farm animals!

 We learned about PA Wildlife at our first station.

 Next we learned how milk gets from the Udder to the Glass and played a game.


 We got a hay ride pulled by a tractor.


 We learned how to care for small and large animals like turkeys, rabbits, horses and goats. We even got to pet the goats and rabbit!

 At the Stream Study station we learned Brubaker Park has a healthy stream based on the types of water bugs and critters that were found in it.


 At the Plant Science station we started growing a marigold seed in a plastic glove green house.

 The Pollution and Recycling station taught us about what materials can be recycled.

 What a great afternoon of learning!


Author Share

After weeks of working on Narrative Writing, today we had an “Author Share.” Every learner wrote an imaginative narrative piece and either published their writing as a book with illustrations or a typed story.  Today learners paired up and proudly read their story/book to two partners, listened to their partners’ books, and discussed their books (favorite part, most difficult part to write/draw, what might happen in a sequel, etc.). Hopefully your third grader will share their story/book with you at home. You may also want to glance at the first draft and see how the story was revised and edited before being published.



Artificial Intelligence

Today Mr. Soper (an Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist) taught a tech lesson to our class. He introduced us to the idea of AI (Artificial Intelligence). He showed us how to use a site called Scroobly. Learners got to make a cartoon drawing and then record themselves dancing. The cartoon drawing then mimicked their dance moves.  Check out this slide show to see directions on how to use Scroobly and scroll through our finished AI cartoons.





Heat Matter Experiments

During this month’s inquiry lessons we explored how states of matter can change if you add or remove heat.

First we learned how to read a thermometer. We did a temperature exploration where we measured the temperature of a cup of water. We added ice cubes and watched the temperature drop. Then I poured in hot water and we watched the temperature rise.

Next, we predicted what would happen if we put liquid (water and fruit punch) in the fridge and freezer.  Then we observed and recorded our results.  We predicted that the liquid in the freezer would change to a solid, so we poured juice into dixie cups with popsicle sticks in the hopes of making popsicles. We were excited to eat our results!

Finally, we experimented with adding heat to solids to see if they change their state of matter.  We used a double boiler to add heat to an ice marshmallow, some gummy bears, and some chocolate.  All three solids melted to liquid.  Then we melted some more chocolate and put it in pumpkin shaped molds.  We removed the chocolate from the heat and the chocolate returned to a solid state for us to enjoy. Yum!



Matter Experiments

We are learning about Matter during Inquiry. We have done 2 cool experiments so far.

Mixing Solid and Liquid

Students experimented with adding drops of liquid (vinegar) to solids (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda). They used a pipette (dropper) to drop a little liquid at a time. We took time to observe and record what happened.  The most exciting step was watching the gas bubbles created when the vinegar was added to the baking soda.


Balloon Blow-Up

Our next experiment was to see if we could harness the gas created by mixing vinegar and baking soda and use it to inflate a balloon.  It worked! We tied off the balloon and noticed that the gas was very dense because the balloon dropped quickly to the floor compared to a balloon filled with air. We repeated the experiment a second time using more baking soda and inflated the second balloon slightly bigger!

 Before: The vinegar is in the bottle, the baking soda is dangling in the balloon.

 After: When we tilted the balloon up the baking soda fell into the vinegar and a gas was created that blew up the balloon.

 For our second try we put more baking soda in the balloon.

 The balloon inflated even more!


Thanksgiving Escape Room

Today for math learners worked in groups on a Thanksgiving themed Escape Room.  The “Thanksgiving Thwarter” (an evil villain) locked the turkey, pies, and side dishes in the oven and they had to solve clues to unlock all 5 locks.  Only two groups rescued dinner in the one-hour time limit. Applying math skills in a problem solving setting can be harder than you think.  Also, working together well and communicating can be a challenge if everyone is passionate about their own idea.  As the year goes on we will have other escape room activities for learners to practice their collaboration and math skills in a fun way.  Hopefully your Thanksgiving feast is delicious and not burned.  If it is, blame the Thanksgiving Thwarter!




Stockings for Soldiers

“Because Brecknock Cares” the third-grade classes made crafts to contribute to the Keystone Military Families Stockings for Soldiers campaign. All craft supplies were donated by Art of Recycle. The third graders made washcloth teddy bears that will brighten a soldier’s day and can then be dismantled and used as a washcloth, something many soldiers say they need.  The finished crafts were donated to be placed in stockings that Keystone Military Families will distribute to soldiers serving all over the world.



Let the Multiplication Begin!

Today we started our Multiplication unit.  Students will learn about the concepts of multiplication and how to use skip counting, repeated addition, multiple groups and arrays (diagrams of rows and columns) to solve multiplication problems.  A few learners have already started memorizing multiplication facts while others have worked on reviewing addition and subtraction, but everyone will begin Multiplication Math Racers on Monday 11/1.  Today we listened to this book during math class to kick off our unit.

The main character loves to count and doesn’t think she needs to memorize her multiplication facts. After a crazy dream where she tries to count everything and realizes it takes too long, she is convinced to learn multiplication.

All the children seem so excited to begin this new learning! They will be setting monthly goals for how far they hope to progress with their math facts. Thank you in advance for all the time you will set aside to help your third grader practice flashcards and meet these goals!

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