What’s New with the Beta Crew?!

Loco about Levers!

Last week we experimented and learned a great deal about the many types of force.

This week? All about the super amazing workhorse known as the LEVER!

This clever little tool has amazing strength- and we tested it out.

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Did you know that this simple machine is made up of a bar (arm) and a support called a fulcrum?  The Betas do!

They tried many different scenarios- moving the fulcrum closer and farther away from the load- how does that change the effort needed to lift the load??

What did Asher need to do to the fulcrum in order to balance his dinosaurs??

Who would have thought we could incorporate the action of the lever into a super cool art project?

We made our very own Jumping Jacks!

The jumping-jack is a toy whose origins date back thousands of years. The jointed jumping-jack figure is a cross between a puppet and a paper doll. The figures are generally made from wood and their limbs are jointed and tied to a pull string. When the string is pulled and released, the arms and legs move up and down.

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This activity incorporates both the fulcrum and the arm.  And when we apply effort (force) to the string, our load moves!

Next time you are in the hall, we encourage you to give them a try!


Do you think you could balance on a lever?

These brave souls tried our Bongo board!

Be careful boys! :)

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Levers used as Defense

Archimedes put the lever to use defending the ancient Greek city of Syracuse.  He build a catapulta machine that can lift things and send them flying!  In this case it threw massive boulders at the invading Roman forces.  Thanks to Archimedes’ weapons, the city of Syracuse avoided capture for almost a year.

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Ours only shot cotton balls, but boy could we shoot them far!  Watch out Alphas, Gammas and Deltas- we are prepared to defend ourselves if need be! ;)

Can you find the fulcrum on our catapult?  How about the arm?  Load?  Effort?


Got a few extra minutes this week?  Check out this fun little website.  It has simple activities about simple machines.  And it might help your child come up with some ideas for finding levers around the house (hint, hint!)


The kids enjoyed this video on the lever and may like to view it again! It also gives great examples of everyday levers.


Joke: What game needs a rock, paper, and a lever?

Ha!  We aren’t going to tell you the answer here!  Come ask Ms. Kelly & Ms. Courtney on Tuesday!  If you know the answer, whisper it in our ear!

Mad about Math

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These measuring maniacs have it going on.  The can measure in customary, as well as metric units, using a variety of measuring tools.  They can even plot their results on a line plot!  Way to go Beta team!


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We continue with our practice and learning of Math Pentathlon games.

This week we officially started RAMROD.  This game not only involves addition and measurement, but loads and loads of strategy.  Ms. Kelly continually lost to the Betas, but she would like to blame it on the fact that she couldn’t concentrate fully with other Betas needing help!

If you would like to learn more about RAMROD or sign your kiddo up for the tournament in the spring, visit last week’s blog post!

Loony for Language Arts


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Reading and writing are integrated in all parts of our day- from the moment we walk into the room and write about our Beta of the Week, during our morning meeting- correcting all of Ms. Courtney’s and Ms. Kelly’s mistakes on the News and Announcements, in math- reading and writing word problems, to theme- reading about something new, trying it, and reflecting on what we learned.

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Educator is Lucy McCormick Calkins, the visionary founding director of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (and one of our language arts heroes) states that-

“…children ought to be given a “voice,” encouraged to discover and refine their own personal writing style, as they compose “stories that matter.”

Calkins is a “constructivist,” believing that children should generate their own texts, using material from their own lives. Her belief in self-expression as a key to learning extends to reading: children develop a passion for reading when they are given freedom to choose books that are meaningful to them.

In Beta, we not only want to teach the kids about the writing process, we want them to write in authentic ways- giving them the freedom to create fiction, nonfiction, poems, comics, reflections throughout the day.  This freedom gets them exited to write, so they want to write more!  And we see fantastic things happening here!


 Please Pass the Peace and the Pie

In honor of Civil Rights Week and Martin Luther King Jr.

“We celebrate by sharing stories, recipes, and encouraging conversations that bring us together. Join the peace movement and invite someone to the table.”

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How would you feel if you were judged by the color of your skin?

What about your hair?

What if you had blond hair, and having blonde hair was looked upon as the wrong color? The inferior color?  What if your teachers only gave new glue sticks and the best seats, and positive attention to brunets? What if the blonde children couldn’t use our cozy pillows in the Beta library?  And what if the brunets were told not to interact with those blonde children, even if they were friends?

How does that make you feel?

Ask your kiddo how our experiment made them feel?  Is it ok to exclude someone because they are different from you?


Learn more about the movement here http://peacethroughpie.org/about-us/

Coming Up

January 19th- MLK Day- no school

January 22nd- Shipe Park Day

January 24th- Skate FUNdraiser

Filed January 16th, 2015.