Mr. Johnson's Grade 3 Classroom Blog



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  • Students Writing their Own Fortunately Books
    This week I read the book Fortunately to our class. It is one of my favourite books. We discussed the repeating patterns throughout the book (pages alternated between black and white and colour as well as fortunately and unfortunately). Afterwards, students used Book Creator on the iPad to create their own Fortunately  story.








    Posted Oct 18, 2017, 12:16 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Google Keep
    Today I introduced students to another app in the Google Suite called Google Keep. Google Keep is a note-taking/research tool. It has an iPad and Android app as well as there is a web version and Chrome extension. Today students were exploring a variety of websites about rainforests. When students found an interesting picture or fact they right-clicked on the information and saved it to their Keep. Afterwards they loaded the Google Keep web app to review what they saved (further lessons will come on sorting and categorizing the information).


    Posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:08 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • STEAM: Coding with Dash to Learn about Forces
    Today students participated in another coding activity with our robot Dash. This time, a ball launcher was mounted on top of Dash. Dash and the launcher can both be coded on the iPad using the Blocky App. The goal was to code Dash to navigate around obstacles on a hundred's mat and then fire the launcher towards a stack of cups.

    First we discussed the forces we saw during our outdoor learning last week (see blog post here). Students identified muscular forces, gravity and friction from the photos we took.

    Then students were introduced to Dash with the launcher accessory. They were shown how to code the amount of pushing force Dash could apply to the launcher through the app (from 0 to 100%). The stronger the force, the greater the speed and distance the ball travelled. We also discussed the friction of the carpet that slowed Dash down (compared with the smooth tiled floor).



    Next students were given the task below.

    Students worked on this task in partners and we discussed learning skills such as: Self-Regulation, Collaboration and Responsibility

    Students were also given a grid to help plan out their code. They were told that each square corresponded to 20 cm of movement in the Blocky Coding App. Students then tested their code using Dash and the launcher. They were given up to 3 attempts to try their code. Between each attempt students modified their code based on their observations from the previous test. 


    Students testing out their code:

    Afterwards, students drew a labelled diagram of the STEAM activity in their science notebooks.

    Posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:36 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Deep Thinking Connections
    Students have been working on making personal connections as they read. Today I used the Yes/No game (the proper name is concept attainment) to teach the differences between a quick connection and a deep thinking connection. 

    Students were presented with YES examples and they had to figure out what made them different from the NOs (I didn't tell them anything else). Each YES example was paired with a NO example. Students had time to discuss their predictions as to what made the YES group different from the NO group.


    Afterwards, students were presented a series of TESTERS where they decided whether the connection belonged in the YES or NO group. Then, students revealed what they thought made the YES group different from the NO group.
    They said the YES group:
    -were stronger, deeper connections
    -had lots more detailed
    -usually included feelings 
    -explains the connection more

    We discussed that these deeper connections are the ones that lead to increased understanding when we are reading instead of just quick connections.
    Posted Oct 10, 2017, 12:12 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Finding Forces Around Us
    On Friday we went for a walk in our schoolyard looking for evidence of forces. We discussed that we can observe forces in action when we see objects moving.

    Below: A force (muscular) is used to make the stump wobble or open the top of the recycling bin.
    Above: We discussed that electricity and gas engines can be used to make objects move as well.

    Below:  A student is pushing another student on the swing. Students were discussing how gravity pulls them down the slide.
    Above: A student used muscular force to pull themselves to the top of the climbing wall. We wondered what force keeps a person in their seat on a swing or in a roller coaster when they are doing a loop.

    Our whole class demonstrating the force of gravity:
    Posted Oct 10, 2017, 12:02 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Rounding using Mario Kart Time Trial Data

    Today students got to play SNES Mario Kart. Students raced through the time trials which involved completing 9 laps of the course. Once they had their total time, they used mental math to convert it into seconds. For example, their total time might be 1 minute and 26 seconds which converts to 86 seconds.

    There time was then recorded on a Google Sheet. When every student had raced and recorded their time, each student was sent a copy of all of the times via Google Sheets and Google Classroom. Students then were tasked with rounding each time to the nearest group of ten.



    Posted Oct 6, 2017, 12:23 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Teaching Rounding using Coding and Dash the Robot
    This week students learned how to round to the nearest group of 10.

    This rounding lesson incorporated Dash the Robot and the iPad coding app Blocky.

    First, we created a number line together across the classroom. Each line across the classroom (made by the floor tiles) represented 2 units. We marked ever group of 10 on our number line up to 110. Each group of 10 was designated as a charging station for Dash. Students also marked the digits that ended with a 5 (e.g. 25) with a yellow stick. We practised driving Dash along the number line. Student identified the number on the line which Dash stopped (e.g. 33) and the closest charging station it would round to (e.g. 30). 

    We also drove Dash so he landed on a digit ending in 5 (for example 45). We decided that Dash would round to the 50 charging station even though it was at an equal distance to the 40 charging station. Better to keep going forwards on your journey then double back if it is the same distance (the rules of rounding).

    Next students were given the challenge below:

    In groups of 2, students coded dash to move along the number line. Experienced coders were paired up with less experienced coders. Some of the codes ended up being quite elaborate!

    Finally students tested their code. When Dash stopped, students identified the number he stopped at. Students recorded that number and the number of the closest charging station (rounding) using a Google Form which gathered all of the data onto a spreadsheet.


    Posted Oct 6, 2017, 12:07 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Number Visuals
    Today students watched a video about Brain-Crossing. The video suggests that the most powerful math learning happens when we think about numbers as symbols while also visualizing and drawing the numbers.

    Next, students looked at the drawing below. They were asked what number did each drawing represent  (they visually represent the numbers from 1 to 21) and what did see when they looked at that number.

    Finally students worked in groups and talked about what they saw in the number and were asked to colour code their math thinking. Many students broke down the number into factors (for example 12 as 3 groups of 4). Others saw shapes in the numbers (for example 9 looks likes 1 large triangle or 3 smaller triangles joined together).
    Posted Oct 3, 2017, 11:43 AM by Patrick Johnson
  • Terry Fox Video
    This is the video I showed the class this past week about Terry Fox (it is produced by ESPN and provides an interesting perspective). We had a very good discussion about the video. Our guiding questions were:
    What kept Terry Fox motivated to keep running?
    What would you say to Terry Fox?
    Posted Oct 1, 2017, 5:48 PM by Patrick Johnson
  • Dash Bulldozer Challenge
    This week students applied their coding knowledge to program Dash to complete a specific task. The task was to code Dash to remove as many balls as possible from a hundred's mat.

    This activity linked to the curriculum and learning skills in many ways:
    • Students worked together to complete the task, often troubleshooting together when their code didn't work as expected (LS- Collaboration)
    • Programming movement on a grid (Geometry)
    • Angles (Geometry)
    • Every 20cm students programmed Dash to travel, it would move one square on the grid (Measurement)
    • Friction-The carpet slowed the distance Dash travelled so in fact each square measured less than 20 cm(Science-Forces)
    First students were shown the task below:.

    We also discussed the following social goals when working with a partner:
    • Taking turns
    • Listening and appreciating each other's ideas
    • Problem solving the task together

    Next students were shown the layout of the balls on the mat.

    Then students were given grid paper that showed the layout of the balls on the mat. They were told that if they programmed Dash to move 20cm, that was the equivalent of moving one square on the grid. Students planned a route for Dash on the grid paper before coding their route on the iPad app.

    Posted Sep 30, 2017, 10:20 AM by Patrick Johnson
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