Excelsior! In science this month, we began by discussing volcanoes and earthquakes. The pressure from the mantle pushes up molten rock to create volcanoes, and the vibration between the faults create earthquakes. We talked about how volcanoes and earthquakes are destructive, but can also have benefits to environments in the long run. To simulate volcanoes we used baking soda and vinegar to create CO2 pressure in a bottle, much like pressure in a magma chamber to create the explosion. We studied the weathering and erosion of rocks in a simulated environment to see what erodes more. The students helped simulate wind and water over rocks, soil, and sand to see which erodes the most quickly. At the end of the month, we began to study what resources are and which ones are renewable or not. The knowledge is important towards the conservation of Earth.

In social studies, we have been studying the theme of the United States through the lens of revolution leading to the independent nation of the USA. We followed the expansion of the western frontier from the Louisiana Purchase and the movement of settlers. Next, we looked at their Civil War, a dispute greatly motivated by the use of slavery. The next theme followed how immigrants can become citizens, the rights of US citizens, and their duties to help their communities. Overall, the students learned how small groups and individuals can make great change for the good of their communities.

Our journal class this month included some interesting narratives! The students wrote myths about how turtles got their shells. This borrowed storytelling traditions telling how specific animals got certain features. They followed the simple idea that first they didn’t have shells, a problem occurred then they sought to get something to protect them, then after much searching they found a shell. One week, we discussed dreams. The students had a lot of great stories about their dreams and a good ability to recall them. It was amazing to see the variety of stories and details from their dreams as they put them into their dream journal. After a discussion about Dr.Suess and rhyme schemes, the students went forth to create their own rhyme poems!

Our research has continued with the Roman civilization. We looked at the daily life of a Roman commoner including the roles of people in the family, education, work, hygiene, leisure, and religion. Building upon the idea of leisure, we took a lesson to discuss the entertainment and large activities set up for the people of Rome. The famous Circus Maximus, which included chariot races, and the Colosseum which had exciting gladiator fights and mock battles helped to keep the citizens content. We watched a small video displaying the grandeur of the Colosseum arena with a match between two gladiators. We looked at the Roman language of Latin and Greek and how influential they were on each other and literature. The students learned about Roman numerals and how to convert them with the modern Arabic numeral system. We had a lot of fun this month!