Thursday, January 28, 2010

Invention Convention

Thursday, April 8th!

Students, here is your chance to create a cool invention or work on a science topic that interests you! You might build a catapult, test your sense of smell, design a toothpick bridge, invent something that helps with a chore…

Students will be introduced to science night this month in enrichment and science classes. Interested students should fill out the form given and return it to school.

A science project may be anything that shows a science idea: demonstration, research, or experiment that tries to answer a question. Science projects will not be judged.

An invention should be something simple that solves a problem or makes life easier in a new way. Inventions will be judged and some students will be chosen to represent Ashford School at the State Invention Convention in May.

Visit the school’s website for more information, or see Mrs. Moran.

Geography Bee

Submitted by Kathy Bryce

The Puget Sound Lowlands are a densely populated region in which U.S. state?

Devin Plourde’s knowledge of the Pacific Northwest helped him clinch the 2010 Geographic Bee championship at Ashford School when he responded, “Washington.” Devin faced tough competition from runner-up Brian Balkus, a fifth grader. Eighth grader Josie Borysevicz placed third.

Both veterans of previous Bees, Devin and Brian knew that Nepal is home to eight of the ten highest mountain peaks in the world, resulting in a tie at the end of the championship round. In an exciting contest, it took seven tiebreaker questions for Devin to be declared the winner.

Other young geographers participating in the Bee included fourth grader Lynn Robinshaw, sixth graders Kolby Courtois and Emma Powers, seventh graders Austin Graveline, Ron LaMonica and Kyle Strogoff, and eighth grader Kelly Phillips.

The Bee is a program of the National Geographic Society for students in grades four through eight. Google is the sponsor of this year’s events. Bee questions address the physical and cultural aspects of both United States and world geography. Eighth grader Devin Plourde has completed a challenging written exam, aiming to qualify for the state Bee in April. Good luck, Devin!

All state winners are eligible to compete for the national championship in Washington, D.C., where the first-place prize is a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Gal├ípagos Islands. “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek will moderate the finals in May. Check local listings for televised dates. You can also test your geography knowledge with the GeoBee Challenge, an online geography quiz at The game poses ten new questions a day.

Mashantucket Pequot Field Trip

Submitted by the Fifth Grade Team

Children were involved in their daily lessons. One youngster studied how each part of the deer is useful to his people. Another youth practiced using a bow and arrow. Yet another learned how to make a corn soup called succotash. If you think that these lessons are not found in a typical classroom in the 21st century, you are probably right. These “children”, statues actually, were a part a Mashantucket Pequot village exhibit and a guided tour called “Through the Eyes of a Pequot Child.” This exhibit gave students from the 21st century an idea of what life was like for the Mashantucket Pequot child in the 16th century.

In October 2009, the Ashford School fifth grade, who had been studying Native Americans as a part of their social studies curriculum, journeyed to the Mashantucket Pequot and Research Center in Connecticut to explore the Mashantucket Pequot culture. In addition to the guided tour of the village mentioned above, they took part in an interactive workshop entitled “Life Without a Supermarket.” What if you were living in the 16th century and there wasn’t a Stop and Shop or a West Farms Mall? How did the Pequots get the materials they needed? This workshop focused on answering these questions. Students broke into four groups. Each group was given a box of artifacts which centered on different aspects of Pequot life; constructing canoes, building houses, enhancing personal appearance, and preparing food. Students examined the materials in the box and using museum displays as guide, determined a possible use for each item. After completing the task, students reported their findings to the rest of the group with guidance from the museum leader.

This field trip enriched the fifth grade Ashford School social studies curriculum.

2nd Grade Science Fun

Submitted by the 2nd grade team

The Ashford School Second Graders are scientists! They are all enjoying a variety of experiences that teach them how to explore, ask questions, observe, compare and contrast, and to conclusions. Ms. Bernardini and Mr. Busse have been working closely with Mrs. Moran to give students many hands on opportunities.

Ms. Bernardini’s class has been learning all about rocks and soil. Students classified rocks and sorted them into groups based on a variety of attributes. Vocabulary words like “luster” and “scratch test” were introduced. Students learned how rocks are formed and the difference between Metamorphic, Sedimentary, and Igneous rock. The second graders in this class also pretended to be soil inspectors and compared loam, sand, clay and silt. The students would tell you that they loved erupting a model volcano, and learning all about the special relationship worms have with soil!

Mr. Busses’ class has learning about Life Cycles. This unit is designed with an emphasis on the life cycle of plants.

The second grade classes will soon switch units, and enjoy sharing their findings with one another. It is so exciting to see our young scientists discover new things. Maybe someday they’ll discover something amazing and teacher other youngsters all about it.