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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our PYP Unit: Being Media Smart

Our “Being Media Smart” PYP Unit (By I.G., A.B., J.B. and M.D.C.): Hello people from planet Earth! We are reporting from planet Mars. In planet Mars, we use a lot of technological skills and journalism. We also broadcast the Mars Incorporated (M.I.) News. Broadcasting is when you tell a story or the latest news to people all around Mars. Sometimes on planet Mars, we watch commercials for advertising, and advertising is when you try to sell a product or when you’re trying to get people to buy your brand. Sometimes we read the M.I. News, and that’s called journalism, and journalism is when you write an article about the news going around town.  That’s what we do in planet Mars!
TC-TV Field Trip (By A.C., E.P., M.M. and. D.G): Hello, once again, audience! We are going to talk about TC-TV! At TC-TV we had lots of fun. First they said, “one group at a time’, and the other class was first. We stayed outside doing class work and playing games. When we were inside, the tour guide showed us a news studio, and they informed us that they move furniture and the walls when they change shows. Where they film, the stage also has to be lit up. They also showed us the sound studio. It had lots of computers and screens, and the director was telling the people on stage what to do. Seeing these new and unusual things was extraordinary and we learned a lot.
¡Elé! Magazine Field Trip (By E.B., B.A., A. C. G. and D. G): When we went to ¡elé! Magazine, it was our second filed trip of the school year. We were so excited! We wanted to do everything in there, but we needed to calm down or they wouldn’t let us in because there were special things in there.  We saw how the computer graphics specialists draw on the computer with special software. We saw how they draw the cartoon enemies of Captain Emblem (“Capitan Escudo”). We also saw a video of how they create the magazine, and we learned that new technology is used for all the interesting things that they do.
Guest Speaker: Mr. Lawrence Informs us About FONAG (By N.R., E.L., A.S. and M. P): Mr. Lawrence came to our class to give us a presentation and show us how FONAG works. FONAG stands for “Fondo para la Protección del Agua” and is in Quito, Ecuador. We learned that FONAG is an organization that helps protect watersheds around Quito, where people get their water from. They teach people how to not contaminate the water, and how to conserve it.  Did you know that if you add extra money to your water bill, then you can donate it to support FONAG? So, you should give more money to FONAG! For more information, see:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

PYP- Being Media Smart Unit - "Broadcasting" videos

For a formative assessment in our PYP Unit on Being Media Smart, students created "broadcasts" regarding the following topics at our school: the Varsity boy's volleyball team, the Junior Varsity girl's volleyball team, the school cafeteria and the recycling program. Take a look...

Varsity Boy's Volleyball Team:


Junior Varsity Girl's Volleyball Team:

Good Food vs. Bad Food:


Monday, November 11, 2013

World Space Week: Mr. Alfonso Murillo, Boeing Consultant for ISS (By A. C. G)

      For World Space Week we got to Skype chat with Mr. Alfonso Murillo. At first I didn't understand
him because the Internet wasn't working very much. It sounded like, "Shhhhhhhh". But then it sounded better. Mr. Murillo started by asking us questions, and he figured out that we were very smart (when it came to space science). It was very cool! He told us about mathematics, and that he liked to work with electric things. It was very fun.

      Teacher note: Mr. Murillo was a senior consultant for the Boeing Company in Huntsville, where NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is located. Boeing was the Prime contractor for the International Space Station, and is responsible for its operation. Mr. Murillo's main areas of interest are with regard to electrical power systems, math modeling and computer simulations.


World Space Week: Skyp Chat with Michael Lutomski (By M. P. , M. M., E. P., E. B and M.S.)

“Ring, ring, ring”. Suddenly Mr. Lutomski started to talk. “Hello!”, and Ms. Margot said, “Say 'hi' everyone”. Mr. Lutomski worked for NASA for a long time, and for the last 10 years he was the Risk-Manager for the International Space Station (ISS). He’s also very funny. When we talked to him, he was eating breakfast because he was getting ready to go to work. We asked him questions about the ISS, and lots of them were about the new movie “Gravity”.

E. P. reports the following:  If you are a NASA lover, you need to know that this talk was “miraculous, exciting, awesome and even interesting”! I asked him, “Has NASA ever had another critical event like Apollo 13?” He answered, “Yes. Many, many events. But, you know, Apollo 13 was a successful failure because the crew did not die! They almost ran out of air, had a lot of CO2, the environment was getting colder, and like five other bad things happened. We were glad that the crew came back down safely.” Then I said, “Thanks”.
We also found out that the water that astronauts drink on the ISS is “recycled”…think about that for a minute.
His advice for students who want to go into space science one day was to “study hard, not get in trouble, and most importantly to learn math well”. We think that it was so awesome to learn about space exploration that our brains almost exploded. Pooff!


Friday, October 11, 2013

World Space Week: Skype Chat with Ecuadorian NASA Engineer Juniper Jairala! (Written by E.P., M.D.C and B. A)

On October 9th an enthusiastic group of 1st and 4th graders had the opportunity to interview Ecuadorian NASA engineer, Juniper Jairala, via a Skype chat. She answered questions the many of us had, and it was a day that we definitely won’t forget!
M.D.C.’s question was, “How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be an engineer”? She answered that she when she was about 10 years old she wanted to be an astronaut, but knew that she needed to learn more about space and other things first. So she became an engineer. 
   We found out that when she was little, she liked to build with things like Legos and fix things. She and her brother even went through the trash to find materials! Some of us admitted that we do that too J.
                The Skype chat was awesome because we got to know about the many projects that Miss Juniper has done for NASA and the International Space Station, and she also told us about the fiction and non-fiction parts of the movie that is coming called “Gravity”. Our teacher also showed us videos of how Miss Juniper practices, and helps astronauts train, by working in a big pool.
Testing an emergency mask for the ISS
                It was a pleasure to meet Miss Juniper and to get to see her, and we were excited to hear her answers!
Teacher note: Not only is Miss Juniper a great role-model for our girls, she 

is also an example of a well-rounded individual who has a joy for life...
Check out our Juniper on the Discovery Channel!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World Space Week Begins! Skype Chat with Ecuadorian Astronaut Ronnie Nader (written by the whole class)

 On October 4th our class, along with a class of 5th graders, got to Skype chat with Ecuador’s only astronaut, Commander Ronnie Nader. For the start of our celebration of World Space Week (October 4 to 10), seven people in our class got to ask him questions like these:
·         D. G.  asked: Is the next satellite, Krysaor, being launched in November because it’s a good time for weather? The answer was: There were many things were involved in the decision for the launch date, but weather wasn’t one of them. He also said that right now the 24 international satellites are being organized inside the top of the Russian rocket.
·         A.C. asked: What were the challenges of building Krysaor? Astronaut Nader answered: Everything was a challenge. For example, if the measurements were off by just a tenth of a millimeter, then the whole mission could fail!
·         A.C.G. asked: How did you learn how to build satellites? Commander Nader said: He and the team learned how to do this on their own with their education, books, papers, information from the Internet and Commander Nader’s training as an astronaut in Russia!
·         E.L. asked: What do you hope to learn from the new satellite? He said: One thing would be that, by watching the live video camera on board, we could know if a meteorite was approaching; like the one
that surprised everyone in Russia this last year.

       E. B. asked: Is there anything that we can do to prevent Krysaor from hitting an object in space and spinning, like what happened with Pegasus? His answer was: Since debris  going around the Earth are in unstable, descending orbits, there’s not much we can do to prevent these kinds of accidents. 
We were VERY lucky to get to ask our own questions of Ecuador’s only astronaut, and it was a pleasure to Skype with him!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grade 4 Meteorologists (NASA's Weather Data Learning Center Lesson)

Liam reports: In the WDLC Lesson 35 we did lots of stuff. We got images of low and high air pressure areas, and jet streams.  Partners picked a state in the US and bullet pointed four things that they noticed for each satellite image. Then we were suppose to do a presentation. Some people did Word Documents, and others did video. Lots of the class did Prezi for their presentations.

Isa also commented: It was fun filming, telling others about the weather and acting!


Friday, May 17, 2013

ECUAVISA TV Interviews about Pegasus (NEE-01) Satellite

One afternoon in May, our class had an interview with Ecuavisa TV and it was flabbergasting! They asked us about how we use satellite images in the classroom, and they looked at our data. Our assignment that day was to plan a trip for our teacher in South America, and to use a budget to figure out the flight, activities, meals, and the hotel. We looked at images which we downloaded ourselves by using the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency’s ground station, Minotaur, and the HERMES-Delta program. We showed the reporter our thermal images, temperature images, 3D images, etc.  Some of us were interviewed by the reporter, who was a woman with a red dress, brown hair and was tall. 
        When we were interviewed, she asked us questions like if we enjoyed using satellite education for math class. She also asked questions like, “What does this image show us?” We replied that it was a 3D image of South America, and it showed us where clouds were. Some clouds look alike, but they don’t all have rain. We can identify which clouds have rain, by looking at a satellite image about precipitation.  These images also help us to forecast the weather, by the types of clouds that they show like “stratus” or “cumulus”.                                                               

After that they left and said that we were coming up on TV, and we got really excited that we were going to appear on TV sometime soon. This was a great experience!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Satellite Education: Combining NASA & EXA in Math Class (draft by C.V., J.S., I.L. and edited by classmates)

        Ms. Margot told us that she was going to do a class "contest" to find out which group could plan the best trip for her and, her friend, Ms. Lorena. The trip would be for two days, with a budget of $1,200 for the plane, hotel and fun stuff to do. First we would practice by using NASA's Weather Data Learning Center (WDLC), and then we'd use what we learned to do the same thing with the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency's (EXA's) HERMES-Delta program, that helps us to get our own satellite images of South America.
        First we had to do the research (see Video #1 below). Ms. Margot wanted to do new and exciting things on her "trip", but nothing having to do with hunting or fishing (she doesn't like killing things). Although she would take any kind of transportation, she liked planes best because they're faster. So we started planning an interesting trip for her by using We had to figure out what she was going to do, where she was going to stay, and how she was going to get there.


        Then after a few days of getting ideas, Ms. Margot gave us the travel date and we had to see how the weather was, because sometimes this affected the activities we were planning on telling her about (see Video #2 below). One group saw that there was a storm in Arkansas, so they decided to change their place to a part in Louisiana that had less precipitation. They also chose indoor activities to do instead. Sadly, we later found out that this storm devoured the state.


        Finally, after our teams found the best deals and ideas, we gave a presentation to our classmates and Ms. Margot. First we chose a place in the US (leaving from California) and used the WDLC, then we chose a country in South America and used our own satellite downloads from EXA (see Video #3). Ms. Margot says that we're all winners already, but there will be one group who will get a little something extra if they can persuade her the best. So pay attention to how we used clever words and ideas in our presentations!


Teacher note: Not only did students cover many math curriculum standards with this activity (number sense, word problems, estimation, etc), but they also practiced analytical and critical thinking skills. Icing on the cake included learning some geography, language arts and presentation skills along the way...and all while having f-u-n! The teacher was also entertained to no end :-).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Water Unit Presentation Day (By I.L.)

For our Water Unit, all of the kids in the class chose a water issue to research for our summative assessment. Some issues were: water pollution, oil spills, sinkholes and erosion.  Once we decided what to learn about, we had to research about it. Then we took notes and put them on our Power Point presentations. We also researched lab
experiments and wrote up a lab report.Our experiments were about water properties that were connected to our water issues and included: states of water, cohesion/adhesion, density and capillary action. In the end, our Power Point showed what we learned about a water issue, a water property that connected with it, its effects on the environment, world solutions and also what we can do. We talked and talked during our presentation day, and repeated the same thing to different people, but it was still cool to see the adults learning.  I thought it was an awesome day, except that we all finished feeling thirsty! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Satellite Education (By J.A.D., J.M., I.M, J.E.V, and A.Z)

Using HERMES-Delta to answer WDLC questions.
Setting up our live satellite downloads.
Satellite education has many helpful uses. We use satellite education, especially with math, because it helps us calculate many things.  Another way we use satellite education is by downloading LIVE satellite images with the HERMES-Delta program that the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) lets us use. When we download images we analyze them to know if there will be changes in precipitation and/or temperature, so we can try to forecast the weather. We can also use satellite images to help us find the mean, median, mode and range. Sometimes for math we also use the WDLC, which stands for NASA’s online Weather Data Learning Center. The WDLC also has a book of lessons, and we use our own satellite images of South America to help us find the answers. We fourth graders think that satellite education is very important for math and the world, because it can help us to be better prepared.

P.S. HERMES-Delta and the WDLC are really helpful, but not as cool as having fun with our teacher Ms. Margot.

Connecting math concepts with authentic learning.

Water Unit: Science Experiments & Field Trips

Field Trip: The Water Treatment Plant

Density (by I.E., S.N., I.M., J.S. and L.M.Q.): We are going to teach you about density. Density is when molecules stick or don’t stick close to together. Our class did various projects on density, such as an egg experiment. The egg experiment was when we put an egg in fresh water first, and then salty water later to see in which type of water it would float. That has to do with density, because when we put the egg in fresh water it didn’t float because the molecules in the egg were denser than the molecules in the fresh water. But the egg started to float in the salt water because the salt made the water less dense than the egg. Here is another explanation: when you put a ball filled up with air in a pool, it floats because the air is less dense than water. But when you put a ball filled up with nails in a pool, it will sink because the molecules in the nails are denser than the water molecules. So now you know what density is, and if you would like to, go ahead and try these experiments at home!
Surface tension (by A.N., J.M.C., E.S., and M.M.). Surface tension means: When something floats in water, but if you push it down it will sink if the molecules in the object are denser than the water molecules. One day we did an experiment about putting a paper clip in water, but it sank and Ms. Margot said, “If you want to, you can try it by yourselves at Centers Time”. When Jose Miguel tried it, the paper clip floated and it looked like it had a skin on the top of the water. It was very weird because we didn’t see air in the paper clip to help it float. We also tried another experiment that was about putting water drops on top of a penny, and we got the penny to hold about 28 drops. We found out that the water “held on” to the penny because of surface tension and adhesion (when water sticks to other things). That’s how surface tension works.

Field Trip: The Water Museum
Capillary action (by J.C., L.M., J.V. and C. V.). One day we did an experiment about capillary action. The experiment we did was like this:  you get a paper towel, 2 plastic cups, and one cup with water and another one that is empty.  Then we had to twist the paper towel tightly and put it half way in the cup with water, and half way in the empty cup.  Ina few minutes we saw what happened…the wet end got to the dry end, and the empty cup filled up with water! The next morning both of the cups had the same amount of water! Because of adhesion, the water got “sucked up” by the paper!