Happy 2019, and welcome back! I hope your winter break was enjoyable! In first grade, we didn’t waste any time as we jumped right into our new topic. We will use what we learned about states of matter as we explore chemical engineering! No, I didn’t send your children off to college -- we’re really learning all about chemical engineering right in our classroom! Last week, the first graders were introduced to the new topic through a picture book called Michelle’s MVP Award. We learned that an engineer is someone who uses what they know about math, science, and creativity to design objects and processes to solve problems. The objects and processes that they design are called technology.
This week, we continued our chemical engineering unit with much excitement. We started with some brand-name Playdoh. The first graders had to explain why this was high-quality play dough based on the texture and ease of use. Then the first graders were given a piece of low quality play dough. I had made this batch using a process from our chemical engineering guidebook. The first graders had to again describe the texture and usage, which was quite different! This was grainy, lumpy, gooey, and it broke apart and stuck to our hands all at the same time. The goal of our unit is to improve the play dough process that resulted in this gloppy mess!
Later in the week, the first graders worked on understanding what the play dough materials do when mixed together. Each group of lab partners made 5 mixtures, using a tablespoon to measure. We had: flour with water, flour with salt, water with salt, 2 flours with one water, and 2 waters with one salt. The first graders felt and saw how flour makes the mixture more dry / thick, salt makes the mixture grainy (but more of the salt dissolved when extra water was added), and water makes the mixture more liquidy.
We celebrated the completion of our second Take10 chart with a fruit party! Congratulations first graders! Ask your first grader what fruit we had for this party.
Tu B’Shvat, a holiday when we celebrate the trees, is quickly approaching. As has become a Tu B’Shvat tradition in first grade, we will be purchasing a tree in Israel. If you would like your first grader to help purchase our tree, please send $1 to me at school. This is completely optional, and I will only ask this once. Thank you!
Have a great weekend!
-Miss Deena Tanenbaum