Nature’s Recyclers . Expert Eyes . Spelling . Pascal’s Triangle

This week, we welcomed MacKenzie from The Ecology Center into our class for Nature’s Recyclers, a workshop focused on understanding waste streams in our city and the effect composting has on the overall system. With magnifying glasses in hand, we dug through a sample of soil to find some of the invertebrates involved in the process, including worms, pillbugs, and slugs. Moving forward, we will be restarting our compost program, and using our kitchen waste and leaves to improve our soil.

Our Expert Eyes walks continued as we welcomed Theresa Angelini from Angelini and Associates to the class. She, along with others in her firm, was responsible for many of the renovations that transformed our building into the school it is today. Together we examined blueprints of the school in various stages of its evolution and talked about some of the things that the firm considered including colors, angles of walls, plumbing, and carpet. How people move through and feel in the space were themes that continued throughout the conversation.
Hearing how Theresa thought about and experienced the space helped reveal some of the hidden details that shape our own experience. One thing to notice next time you enter the building is the placement of the wall you see upon entering. Rather than being perpendicular to the door, it is placed at an angle, directing you toward Karen’s office.
Shawn Severance, from County Farm Park, also took us on a walk through our grounds with a focus on Ecosystem Restoration. She began with a story, “Sky Woman Falling,” from Braiding Sweetgrass about the creation of the world and then she shared some of her experiences growing up with nature. We then walked around our playground, taking notice of the non-native species, evidence of wildlife (crow’s nests and woodchuck burrows) and chokecherry.
Taking a historical view of the property, Shawn shared photos of the property over time where we noted changes in the landscape as well as the size and flow of the creek nearby. Moving forward, we will continue these explorations and begin some work at County Farm Park, with Shawn, helping with shrubs in the nearby floodplain.
In spelling, we spent some time looking at which suffixes may force a change in the join. Right now, the students have hypothesized that suffixes that begin with a vowel will force a change at the join if the base ends in a “silent e.” We will test that further in the coming weeks.

In math, we worked on our Singapore books and played with patterns including Fibonacci’s Sequence and Pascal’s Triangle, where the students worked individually and with partners to uncover patterns in the triangle.

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