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“Letter R is for Recycling Week” is Next!

Hello all,

“Letter Q is for Question Week” was … great!¬†ūüôā¬† Compared to Letter P¬† last week, Letter Q‚Äôs share box was definitely not¬†as full.¬† The letter Q share box contained such Q items as quails, Q-Tips, ‚Äúquicksand‚ÄĚ, and even a queen!¬† Speaking of queen,¬†the most famous race car of all ‚Äď Lightning McQueen –¬†made his way into the share box this week!

Throughout the mornings at the beginning of the week, the students worked on their letter Q identification activities.¬† The older¬†students worked diligently while some of the younger students worked quickly.¬† Either way, the students did a great job.¬† The hard work continued into the afternoons where the students created a surprisingly long letter Q list.¬† The students all chuckled when someone suggested ‚ÄúQuetzal‚ÄĚ for the list, thinking that the student was mispronouncing the word pretzel.¬† Fortunately, the teachers were there to affirm the student‚Äôs addition to the list and show a picture of a Quetzal!¬† Here is the letter Q¬† bird known as a Quetzal – it is quite beautiful!



Also, in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, the students brainstormed a list of questions that they wanted to “investigate” later in the week.¬† The Monday students voted and picked one question from the question list to investigate on Wednesday and one question to investigate on¬†Friday.¬† The Tuesday students picked one question from their question list to investigate on Thursday.¬†¬†Keep reading through the entry to learn what questions they asked and explored each day this week!

On Wednesday morning, the question on everyone’s mind was…




The students began their morning with a read aloud of Marcus Pfister’s classic story, The Rainbow Fish.¬† After listening to the story, the students began thinking about the question by making a list of things they knew about fish.¬† Here is what they came up with.



The teachers began the discussion about breathing underwater by taking a closer look at the way that humans (people) breathe.¬† The¬†students were asked to take a deep breath in and observe what happened.¬† They all noted that their chests and bellies got bigger.¬† When asked why this happened, some of the¬†older students explained that they were full of air.¬† They were right!¬† Using a Human Body book brought to the school by Dr. Greenwald, the students learned about the organs inside their bodies called lungs.¬† The students thought it was silly that they could “puff up” so easily!¬† They were equally excited to learn that they could deflate quickly too by exhaling (or let the air out of their lungs!)¬† The teachers showed the students a balloon to¬†demonstrate what happens when they exhale!¬† The air from inside their lungs went out of the teacher’s mouth and into the balloon!¬† The students learned that even though it is invisible, air is all around us and it is what we breathe in to stay alive.

When asked if we can take a deep breath of air in while swimming underwater, the students quickly¬†said, “Nooooo!”¬†¬†The¬†students enrolled in swim lessons¬†were particularly sure that this was not a good idea!¬† One student explained that if you try to breathe in underwater, you get water in your¬†mouth and¬†nose, not air.¬† The¬†teachers explained that this was because people are not meant to breathe underwater, only on land.¬† The students wondered why fish can breathe so easily underwater if people cannot.¬† The teacher noted that fish¬†have special body parts called gills that help them take in water and filter (or pull out) the right amount of air for them to be able to breathe!¬† A technology presentation on Wednesday afternoon that involved¬†close up photographs of fish helped the students see¬†that gills are underneath the glip flap¬†(or little slit) on the side of a fish’s face.¬†¬†¬†See for yourself below!



To help remember this fact, the students created the following art project!  Take a look at those shiny, glittery gills!


What great scientific exploration the students did on Wednesday!¬† The¬†“Letter Q¬†is for¬†Question Week”¬†questioning continued on Thursday as the students took on another animal question…




To start the discussion, the students created a list of all animals they knew that were awake in the nighttime.  Here is what they came up with.


The teachers introduced the word NOCTURNAL and explained that this word describes any animal that is active (awake) at night and sleeping during the daytime.  The students listened to another Marcus Pfister story, The Sleepy Owl, to learn more about this interesting sleep pattern.  After the story ended, the teachers asked the students if they were nocturnal like the owl.  The room quickly filled with laughter.  They all agreed that they were NOT nocturnal.  Quickly the discussion led to more questions including,


“How do these nocturnal¬†animals see things in the nighttime when it is so dark outside?”


The teachers explained that like the fish who can breathe underwater, nocturnal animals, like owls,¬†also have special body parts that help them see things even when it is dark outside.¬† The size, color, and parts of¬†an owl’s eyes are and work quite differently¬†than the eyes of a human.¬† To help reinforce this idea, the students created the following owl puppet art project.¬† They used special glow-in-the-dark paint around the eyes of the owl to help them remember the answer to their excellent question!



On Friday, the students moved away from an animal question and wanted to learn about humans!  One student who is the sibling of a PPA Alum who had recently lost a tooth asked,


“Why do our teeth fall out?”¬†


Fortunately, Todd Parr’s book, Parts, was on hand to help shed some light on this excellent question!¬† In the story, a little boy begins to get very worried as his body begins to “fall apart!”¬†¬†For instance, he finds some¬†belly button fuzz and worries that like a teddy bear maybe¬†“his stuffing is¬†coming out?!?”¬† The students had a great giggle during the story.¬† When asked about the little boy’s teeth, the students became a little concerned – why do teeth fall out?¬† The teachers showed a photograph of a baby with a few teeth in¬†his mouth.¬† The teachers explained that these teeth are called, “baby teeth” because they come out of the gums when¬†children are babies.¬† The¬†teachers then showed¬†the photograph of an adult and explained that these are “grown up teeth”.¬† When asked to compare the size of baby teeth to grown-up teeth, the students noticed that the baby teeth were tiny and the grown-up teeth were big.¬† The teachers explained that not only were the grown-up teeth bigger, they were also stronger!¬† The students were asked why they were stronger and given the hint “think of what babies eat and what grownups eat”.¬† Do you know why?

The teachers also asked the students to think about size again but not of teeth this time – the size of the mouths.¬† Which one was bigger – a baby mouth or a grown-up mouth?¬† The students learned that this is the main reason why humans first set of teeth (baby teeth) fall out!¬† Adult teeth are too big to fit inside the mouth of a baby!¬† There is not enough room!¬† As a child grows, so does his mouth.¬† As he grows, the gums holding the baby teeth in place begin to stretch out and the teeth become loose or “wiggly”.¬† After a while, the tooth will be “pushed” out of its place because the adult tooth will be ready to come up from inside the gums!¬† A technology presentation helped show how this all happens and also get to the bottom of a few other oral-hygiene questions including:¬† “Why do we have to brush our teeth?”¬†and “Why do we have to go to the dentist?”

Here is the silly morning work art project from Friday’s question, “Why do our teeth fall out?”



The students had a blast learning about their own bodies!¬† One student said that he felt like a shark with all those teeth!¬† ūüôā

The students clearly had a great time exploring and investigating these questions during “Letter Q is for Questions Week”.¬†¬†It may be the end¬†of Letter¬†Q week but that does not mean the questions have to stop!¬† As we get ready for Letter R week,¬†¬†Remember to keep asking questions and keep learning!¬† Enjoy the weekend!



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