4th Grade - Mr. Harding's Class

April 13, 2015


            We finished our science work with electricity magnets and energy, although we’ll be returning frequently to the discussion of energy transformations. By now you’ll have seen your child’s work on a quiz on those topics. Since then we’ve spent our scant science time scheming up some testable, scientific questions and designing experiments to answer them. We ran these experiments (designed last week) today. Your child’s homework for this week (in addition to a bit of math) is to scheme up, design, run and record another such household experiment at home. You’ll see a “mini-lab report template” attached. Kids have used this template three times now this year and have seen many examples of work that students have done in years past. So there is no question that they can do it. I’m told that having this for homework is great but requires a bit of parental cheerleading at least and often a bit of handholding. Good to [plan it early in the week and ask for help (or class thermometers, other tools, etc). Sometimes just thinking of the testable question is the hard part so I’ll list some here below:


Which of dad’s different shoe soles has greater friction?

            Which piano key sounds the longest lasting note?

Which brand of trash bag can hold more bricks before tearing?

            How much does doubling the yeast affect the height a loaf rises?

Are snow fleas attracted to sugar?

The main thing: In planning the experiment, one has to decide how to CHANGE ONLY ONE THING, and so be careful to keep shoe size and floor surface the same, or the type of bricks or the weight/amount of dough.

When at all possible: We do several trials of each condition, because we understand that there may be effects and variations we hadn’t anticipated. When possible we record data from three trials (of each treatment) and find the median or mean.

Do it, but don’t worry about it: It is the first time doing this for homework. Get something done and record what you all do. But if it takes to long, or you couldn’t measure the result, etc, just record what you did, what happened, and what you learned.

            Did I mention that we finished the “Smarter Balanced” testing? The best I can say is that the kids did their best and it could have been worse.

            By this Friday we should be finished with our opinion essays (the culmination of several weeks of lessons and planning/rehearsing). After vacation we’ll complete this unit by looking more closely at the persuasive essay – a close cousin of the opinion essay we’ve been working on these past three weeks. Also we’ll be beginning a Life Science unit broadly exploring plant and animal adaptations, supported by Ms. Blodget, a Tin Mt Teacher. And then, not right away, another round of book clubs mixed with 5th and 6th graders.


            Reading 30 minutes (at least) nightly

            Math – 2 double sided pages (Due Friday)

            Science experiment report – see above and attached page (Due Friday)


Stay in touch!


Mr Harding