Thursday, November 8, 2018

Grade 4 - Timeline of Discovery and Making Observations

As Grade 4 learns about different discoveries throughout time, we decided to place them on a timeline to get a better idea about the concept of time.  We created a timeline along the whole wall of our classroom that is made to scale.  782 cm = 11,018 years because we started our timeline with one of the first major discoveries, agriculture, and ended it in the year 2018.  Since agriculture was discovered in about the year 9000 BC, that makes our timeline 11,018 years long and the scale was determined based on the length of the wall.  This means that 1mm = 1.5 years! It also means that the students lives are only about 6mm on our timeline!  Christopher Columbus sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to discover America for the Europeans was also only a short distance away from the students being born! 

On the other side of the timeline we have the discovery of agriculture and how to make fire.  The discovery that people could use fire (without creating it themselves) would be about 1 km away in about the year 1,400,000 BC!

Grade 4 has also been learning that explorers use many different skills and tools to help them make discoveries.  One important skill for them is observation.  Being able to use their senses to determine details and analyze them is essential for thinkers to find new understandings about our world and science.  To practice this, the students watched the phases of the moon and recorded their observations in pictures, questions and ideas.  They then learned that Pythagoras was curious about and observed the moon in about the year 500 BC.  He determined from the curve in the shadow that the moon was round.  He then predicted that the Earth was also round over two thousand years before it was proved!

The students also started to act like Galileo questioning the principles of gravity.  They found objects of different masses, dropped them at the same time, observed how they acted, and recorded their observations.  


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