Through a variety of audiovisuals, Lower School students document their class experiences.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Field Trip to ¡elé! Magazine

·         (Jose Antonio) One sunny, beautiful, natural morning we had a field trip.  All the fourth grade was going to visit a place that produces a Spanish magazine.  When we arrived, we saw thousands of awesome pictures and drawings of animals.  There were lots of people working on computers and Wacom Pads. It was a wicked trip and an awesome one too. 

·         (Isabel E.) It all started like this:  We got off the bus and onto the front porch, and the first thing that popped into my mind was a sense of peace.  It was surrounded by bamboo, had a rock stone floor, a black metal bench, wooden doors and red walls. (Om…om… quiet. I’m meditating).    

·         (Andres) “Elé” means “Hooray!” 
·         (James) We went on a trip to ¡elé! Magazine and there was a man called Alejandro. He is the editor of the magazine, and he showed us the creative illustrators.  

·         (Liam) The guys (creating the magazine images) had a Wacom Pad, and it was super cool. 
·         (Juan Esteban) My favorite thing was when they showed us that they used se special pads for their drawings.  The pads were connected to the computers, and had special pens that came with them.  They told us that the pads wouldn’t work without the special pen.  

·         (Emilie) Berto showed us about the history of Captain Escudo, and I liked it a lot. He showed us the web page for ¡elé!, and it was really cool! It had this game called Malómetro. It is where you pick which villain you want to fight with Captain Escudo in the next edition.  If you want to check it out, go to It was an amazing trip! 

·         (Esabel E.) When we were done, we had ice cream! 

THANK YOU everyone at ¡elé! ...we love what you do!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Skype Chat with NASA Astronaut Michael Fossum!

(Sebastian) We spoke to an astronaut on a Skype chat. His name was Commander Michael Fossum, and he has been on the International Space Station (ISS) 3 times.  He’s even done space walks.  Did you know that astronauts dehydrate their food (before they launch), and drink their pee to rehydrate it?  But first they purify the water (Whew!).
(Juan Esteban) When we spoke to Commander Fossum (an ex-ISS Commander) on Skype, I discovered many things. One thing I learned was that their food is dehydrated, which means that before the food goes up to space they take all the water out.  Another thing I learned was that they have to put very hot water in the package and let it rest for about 10 – 15 minutes.  I also learned that in case of an evacuation they have to gather all the crew in one place and, if it is possible, they have to locate and fix the leak or fail. If it’s not possible, then they have to leave in the Soyuz capsule.
(Jose Miguel) He also said that when you are in the Soyuz capsule you get so squished because it’s so small.
(Julia) Astronauts have to be careful in space, but they also have fun!

Monday, November 19, 2012

NASA Guest: Get a Leg Up Activity (Microgravity)

(Isabel E.) On November 13th I was in my class when Mr. Lutomski, the risk-manager for the International Space Station (ISS) walked in my classroom!  He was tall, had gray hair cut short, a white shirt, with a green sweater, gray pants and brown shoes.  He showed us 3 videos on how the body reacts after it’s been in space. He talked to us about a syndrome called “chicken legs”, where all the blood from your legs goes up towards your head, since there’s no gravity keeping the blood towards the feet.  Then he told us to do an experiment (I was the test subject).  The test subject had to roll up his or her pants, lie down on their back, and put their legs up for 10 minutes. Since our legs were up against a wall, gravity pulled the blood down (to our heads). Then we had to compare the measurement of our legs before and after, to see if our leg measurements changed. 
(The whole class) Our measurements did change! The circumference of our legs got smaller (for most people) because we got “chicken legs” when the blood left our legs.
(Mariam) These are the steps that we did.  First, we had to stand up for 10 minutes so that most of the blood would go to our feet. Second, we had to put tape on our legs, and the first piece we had to put it a little higher than our knee.  The second piece we had to put below the knee. The third piece of tape we had to put almost on the foot, but not exactly on the foot. The third step was that we had to lie down and put our feet up for 10 minutes.  It felt very good to do this because we did it with a partner, so that they could measure us. It was also awesome because we got to be with someone who works with the ISS!
(Andres) How about you try this at your house? But you must not wear tight jeans or pants that are not easy to pull up, so that the experiment works well (otherwise the blood gets “caught” in your thigh, and the measurements might be wrong).
(Julia) I love space! Maybe someday I will go to the Moon, and it will be just as common as going to New York today!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guest Speaker: Mr. Pablo & UNHCR Systems (Written by Whole Class)

Andres: Dear Dad. When you came in (to the classroom this morning), I knew everyone was like, “Why is Andres’ dad here?”

Isabella M.: Today in class Andres’ father came and taught us about the organization he works for.  His organization is called UNHCR and it is a business that helps people who are refugees.

Julian: UNHCR stands for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Antonio: Refugees are homeless, foodless and helpless people who are helped by this company.

Mariam: Mr. Pablo explained that there are 39,000,000 refugees who need shelter.

Carolina: The number of refugees in the world is 3 times the population of Ecuador.

Juanita: I learned that women need food more urgently because some have babies, and the babies need food. 

Julia: I learned that a refugee’s life is hard because when they escape they only take their families (with them). They don’t take water, food or blankets. So when they are migrating, sometimes they die because of illness, hunger, thirst or isolation.

Juan Esteban: I liked the part when he had us write a list of things we though a refugee camp would need. I never knew that UNHCR existed. I have a question. How do the people know where the refugee camp is?

Andres: The part (of the presentation) that I liked the most was when we dressed up in UNHCR uniforms because I felt like one of the UNHCR workers.
Whole class: Mr. Pablo made a connection between systems (which is our PYP Unit of Inquiry right now) and how UNHCR is organized.
Sebastian: I think that the way Mr. Pablo helps refugees is a good way to help humanity.

Isabel: Thank you for coming and teaching us what actual crises there are in the world. Thank you for teaching us the true meaning of help.  Thank you for teaching us how we can help our community and the world. Thank you for helping us to be grateful for all we have.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Speaker: Ms. Luisa & Water Treatment (Written in Small Groups)

Group #1: N.R.'s mom came and taught us about clean water and dirty water, because she is a water engineer. Since she studies water, she taught us that dirty water can look clean but still have mini-germs in it that can hurt you, so we have to be careful what kind of water we drink. It was exciting seeing slides of different "vacirias" (bacteria).

Group #2: Ms. Luisa had E. B. put a chemical in the dirty water called alum, and it made the dirt in the dirty water get together like magnets sometimes do. She helped us understand how this works by having a bunch of us pretend to "not like" each other and then, after we had alum put on us, we did a big group hug. We also learned that when things come together like this, it's called "coagulation". So, once the dirty water gets in together in balls, it falls to the bottom of a container and then it's easier for the cleaner water to be poured off from the top. N.R. said, "It was my mom that did this (presentation), and I felt proud of her because she did such a good job!"
Group #3: Later E.P. put dirty water in a filter that had sand on top of small rocks, and it let water come out of the bottom. When E.P. put the dirty water in the the top of the filter, it went through the sand and came out as CLEAN water! But it wasn't so clean, because there could still be some germs inside of it. So then we put in another chemical to clean the water, and it was called "chlorine". Still we didn't drink this really clean water, just in case. There could have been "jiaryas" (Giardia)!
Group #4: At the end of the lesson we made a pretend filter that takes salt out of water. We have lots of salty water on our planet, so it's a good invention to learn how to take the salt out so that we can have more to drink. We learned that there's very little clean water on our Earth!  We were also given an activity book to teach us more things, and we especially learned not to waste water! It was a cool lesson.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Apollo 13 & Engineering Design: Thinking Outside of the Box (Literally)

We learned about Apollo 13 and how the Lead Flight Director, Mr. Gene Kranz, helped save the mission. We watched the Apollo 13 movie about the astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and John Swigert. Pablo’s favorite part of the movie was when the astronauts almost ran out of clean oxygen, because he learned how to solve a problem like that in a spacecraft. The solution was to make the air filter from the Service Module fit the air filter in the Lunar Module (they were different shapes), and they called this invention the “mailbox”.

          After that we did an engineering project, just like the “mailbox” design, and we had to make two different shapes fit together. We knew if our individual designs worked when we were able to get a ball to lift up, by blowing into a tube that we made (see picture).  This project helped us learn about Engineering Design. First our teacher gave us a question (make two different shapes fit together), then we drew our ideas, we made our ideas, and then we tested them. If our design didn’t work, and the air didn’t go through the tubes and lift the ball, then we had to try again. Emilio had to keep re-designing his idea like 15 TIMES until it worked, BUT he never gave up…just like when Gene Kranz said that, “failure is not an option!”

At the end of this project we wrote letters to Mr. Kranz and Lauren’s mom is going to mail them for us! We hope he reads our letters and writes us back!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Contact with the International Space Station & NASA Astronaut Don Pettit!


Pablo: Astronaut Pettit didn't always answer our questions correctly, but that was probably because he didn't have the paper (script) in front of him and he couldn't always hear us correctly. But he still did a great job!

Natalie: It was very special that we could speak with an astronaut on the International Space Station because not many people get to do that. Your school might even have to wait at least a year for its turn!

Julie: We were very lucky to get to speak to an astronaut in space. Thank you ARISS!

Emilio: I was the last one, so I was lucky that I at least got to ask my question! We lost the ISS signal after my turn, but Mr. Wayne (the moderator in Canada) answered my question for me :-).

Catalina: I got to ask the first question!

Lauren: At first we had to cross our fingers because we got disconnected, but then the team fixed it really fast and it all worked out!

Eduardo & Allen: Eventhough I didn't get to ask a question, I still enjoyed it all!

Bernarda: This was a GREAT opportunity!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Class Video Chats with NASA Astronaut Nicholas Patrick!


Astronaut Nicholas Patrick taught us lots about ham radios, and he also answered our questions about living on the International Space Station:

Natalie: We asked lots of different questions, and Dr. Patrick explained his answers well. We all learned something!

Pablo: I learned how astronauts sleep in space.

Lauren: It was cool to learn about how astronauts eat and go to the bathroom on the ISS!

Catalina: We learned that it's OK to play with your food in space!

Eduardo: I learned that astronauts take a "shower" with cloths.

Bernarda: It was exciting, and I got to ask TWO questions.

Julie: I learned that when astronauts sit on the toilet, it works like a gentle vacuum.

Thank you Dr. Patrick and Laurent Thomin, at the AWTY International School, for arranging this fabulous exchange!

Using the Smart Board to Show That We Are Thinkers (Written by Everyone)

It was really fun, but hard, making this video for our PYP assembly because we had to do it over a few times in the beginning. Some mistakes that we made on our first try were: looking at the teacher, being a little too silly, accidentally knocking down things during the taping, taking too long, and not having enough light. There are other things in school that we have to do more than once to make them better, like reading slower a second time, proofreading our written work, and re-designing projects that we engineer. It was very fun to make this video and now the other kids in our school know more about using Smart Boards!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pablo's Air Rocket Launches (Digital Storytelling)!


Skype Chat with Ecuadorian NASA Engineer, Ms. Juniper (By B.A. and A.J.)


(B.A) It was interesting Skype chatting with Ms. Juniper because we were talking to a NASA engineer, and an engineer is someone who builds things. Ms. Juniper builds parts for the International Space Station (ISS)! I got to ask her why she chose her job, and she told me that since she was a baby she liked to build things, and she likes to scuba dive in the big tank at the Johnson Space Center. It's a big pool, and inside is a model of the ISS. When I grow up I want to build things too, but I want to build SUPER  big buildings. I went to New York City once and saw the Empire State Building, and that's the kind of engineering that I want to do!

(A.J.) I thought that meeting Ms. Juniper was super cool, because it was my first time meeting an engineer. I got to ask her if the astronaut space suit, that she uses under the water, was comfortable and she said, not so could be better. Ms. Juniper said that it's more comfortable in space because it's not so heavy when there isn't gravity. On Earth it weighs around 300 pounds! If I were to design a new space suit and oxygen tank, I would make it out of aluminum so that the sun would bounce off of it, and then I would put cloth on top to protect it. This would make the suit much lighter. This chat was even more special because Ms. Juniper is also Ecuadorian!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hands-On Math (By the Whole Class)


Lauren: We learn a lot about math by doing Work Places, which are math centers. For our math lesson, we even got to use candy to collect data and then graph which color showed up the most.

Catalina: I played the game called "25 Cents or Bust". This game teaches us how to count money, and the winner has to get as close to 25 cents  as he or she can without going over.

Matthew: We use the scale to see how much things weigh. We chose to weigh the giant red ball, and it weighed the same as 86 ceramic tiles!

Pablo: In the video I helped Emilo on the Smart Board so that he could figure out how to do double-digit addition with a Tic-Tac-Toe game.

Natalie: In the Treasure Game, that the girls were playing, we learn how to do double-digit subtraction.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rocket Launch:Connecting Math with Real-Life Learning (By A.J.)

  On January 23rd my dad came to school and did an experiment with all the class. It was a rocket that went really high, and it worked with a chemical reaction. It had vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) and when they’re put together it made a gas, and that gas made the rocket go up. Our class knows this from other experiments: Eduardo did this reaction with a balloon, Natalie made a volcano, and Pablo did an underwater volcano.
Watching the launch was super exciting! We used two kinds of altitude trackers (one from NASA and the other was homemade) and these were used for measuring the angle that the rocket went up (we’re learning about right angles, right now). After that we used an altitude calculator to figure out how high the rocket went, and we found out that it went almost 9 meters high. That is the length of our classroom!
On the last launch it was funny because my Dad’s hand got sweaty, from being nervous, and it stuck on the top of the rocket. This made the rocket spin, so our launch failed; but, not really, because failures teach us how to do a better job the next time. See the videos below to learn more!

How to make this kind of rocket:
Early US rocket failures:

A Balloon Experiment (By E.B.)