Week 3 Fourth Grade
Machines (Non-fiction, Level 12, Stage 3) by Joy Brewster
If you know anything about fourth grade boys, it probably goes without saying that a book about machines was an instant hit. We loved learning all about machines this week – simple ones, complex ones, big ones, small ones, everyday ones, and once-in-a-lifetime ones too. My favorite moment this week was watching my fourth grader step into the teacher role as his little brother, a first grader, asked him questions about this cool book. We talked about the surveying tools that George Washington used in his work as a surveyor (from last week’s kit), the machines we use every single day to make our lives easier, and the machines that are used only in specialized careers; and I can honestly say that both of my boys were learning something from every single page. What a valuable resource!
The activity I want to highlight this week is the “Investigate Levers” experiment on page 10 in the book and the accompanying writing activities for days 1-5 in the AlphaSkills Guided Lesson. I love it when science experiments suggested in a book are easy, quick, fun, and can be done with supplies that are readily accessible in our stash of school supplies; and that completely describes the “Investigate Levers” activity in this book. In fact, when we read the activity aloud it sounded so fun that my first grader begged to join in too! Additionally, the writing activities (one for each day) add another layer of learning where the student is required to think a little more about the concepts in the book and apply them to everyday life. These are some of our favorite writing prompts from this week: Think about and write an informational paragraph about the uses of an incline plane. Think about and write about the effect on speed and motion by varying weights during the experiment today. Think about and identify in writing three simple machines we read about this week and the uses of each. With each one I saw my fourth grader stretch and grow in different ways.
Who knew that combining reading, language arts, writing, comprehension, critical thinking and science could be so much fun? But that is exactly what AlphaSkills is like for various content areas week in and week out. For more information about the AlphaSkills Read with Sarah curriculum and our family, see the AlphaSkills Blog Introduction.