Tag Archives: inquiry

How does the bat light work?

More learning in sound and light today. We spent lots of time in the dark today!

We learned that light travels in a straight line. We also learned that light can be stopped (ABSORBED) by some materials. I.e. the bat symbol

We also learned that light can reflect off shiny surfaces and pass through some surfaces.


We used prisms to learn that light is made up of many colours!

Introducing our Science Unit on Sound

On Friday we experimented with making sound and tried to answer the following four questions:

1) How is sound produced?

2) How are low and high sounds made?

3) How does the shape and material of an object affect the sound it produces?

4) In what ways does sound affect our life?

At the end of the unit, we will revisit these questions.

Here’s what our room sounded like. YIKES!!!

Today we learned that sound is vibrations and that you can hear, feel, and even, see sound!

We learned new vocabulary such as vocal cords, sound waves, and molecules.

Calculating how much toxic waste is in Hamilton’s Randle Reef

Last week in math, we finally found the solution to a tough problem we have been working through in steps.

As a result of our inquiry on clean water, students have been asking about the Randle Reef project.

Check out our problem:


Last week the students first calculated that the volume of our portable was 140 cubic meters.

We discovered that the toxic waste in the Randle Reef area of Hamilton Bay would fill 4964 portables like ours! YUCK!

This problem was great! We talked about linear measurement (metres), volume (cubic metres), the formula for volume, addition options, subtraction options, multiplication options, and division options. It has even opened the door to decimals and partial numbers which we’ll discuss further next week.

Many students are still using addition and subtraction when solving problems like this, but these big numbers are beginning to help them see why multiplication and division might be more efficient.

Of course with such large numbers, students are allowed to use a calculator once they understand which mathematical operation to use and understand how it will help them to solve the problem.

Class Trip

We had a fantastic trip yesterday to Green Ventures Echo House and to the Hamilton Steam and Technology Meuseum.  Thank you to all of our parents for the financial contributions that make these trips possible. The kids (and I) learn so much!

When we returned at the end of the day and I asked the students to rate the trip and what they learned with a show of fingers 1-10, almost all students gave the trip a rating of 8 or higher. I would say that is a success.

I took lots of photos, but I was only with one fifth of our entire group of 66 students so I am missing many faces from our class.  Also, many of the other classes students are in my photos because the groups were mixed and I need to check if they have a media consent.

Here are a few photos of some things we learned about and of some of the literature we saw on our trip.  Ask your child to tell you about some of these photos.

I am going to put a bag in the tank of my toilet to use less water. Students: What idea did you take away from our trip? What change will you make in your life to help conserve and preserve water?

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Inquiry on Water


Over the past few weeks, we have been building up our inquiry program to dive into our research on clean water.

We have learned about asking good questions. These are “thick” questions that require deep thought and research to formulate an answer. This is different from a “thin” question that leads to one, easy to find, simple answer.

We have talked about all the places we can find information:

  • Books
  • Charts
  • Maps
  • Magazine
  • Experts
  • Online/internet/Web – use different tools (Expert Space, Britanica School, Learn 360, etc.), be careful when using Google
  • Newspapers

We’ve talked about how to break our questions down into smaller sub questions and how to choose good search terms to help us get to those answers. As well…

How do we search?

  • What do you really need to know?
  • What are the key words?
  • Can you say it in a different way? (Where does our water come from? OR What is our water source?)
  • Try searching with many different words (e.g. dog OR puppy)
  • Try using the advanced search to say what you don’t want (NOT…)
  • Use the advanced search to write in the EXACT PHRASE you want or…
  • Put your EXACT PHRASE in quotations in the search bar
  • Use an asterisk to look for variations of a word e.g. Discover* will look at discover, discovery, discovered

Today, students refined their questions and many began the research process. Below is the list of questions that our class came up with. Each student has chosen one to look further into. Help your child at home by looking into video and news clips related to their question. This is a good way to do home reading. Many of our students need lots of support on learning how to take notes. This is a great thing to help them with at home. Any research done at home will be welcome at school.


Class 4A – Our Inquiry Questions

Where does our water come from?

Where does the water people use come from in other parts of our country or the world?

Why is there not enough water for everyone in some places?

Why can’t everyone get clean water?

What happens to us if we can’t get enough water?

How did the bacteria (in the Hamilton boil water video) get into the water?

Can the bacteria in the water spread?

What happens if people use water that has bacteria in it?

Will there be a solution to the problem with the infested water?

What is the Randle Reef Project?

How do we know the water in the sink is healthy water?

What are the effects of dirty water on land and animal resources?

What are the effects of the dirty water on the animals in the Cootes Paradise Marsh?

Is there anywhere else in Canada that has had a problem with unclean water? What’s being done?

If most of the world is made up of water, why is there not clean water for everyone?


The Inquiry Process


Wonderful Trip Today

We had a wonderful trip today. Although cold, it was busy, fun, and full of great learning! Can’t wait to see what we do with all of our new findings in tomorrow’s discussion. We will discuss which questions from our previous inquiries have been answered and discuss what new questions we have. A special thank you to our volunteers for helping make this trip possible.

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