Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween Science at CIS

Third graders and Fourth graders teamed up yesterday to experiment with dry ice.  The photos say it all--it was great fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Today students enjoyed learning how to fill the colored bags with JUST ONE breath of air due to Bernoulli's Principle.
Here’s the quick and simple answer. The long bag quickly inflates because air from the atmosphere is drawn into the bag along with the stream of air from your lungs.
For you science enthusiasts out there, here’s a more technical explanation. In 1738, Daniel Bernoulli concluded that a fast-moving stream of air is surrounded by an area of low atmospheric pressure. In fact, the faster the stream of air moves, the more the air pressure drops around the moving air. When you blow into the bag, higher-pressure air in the atmosphere forces its way into the area of low pressure created by the stream of air moving into the bag from your lungs. In other words, air in the atmosphere is drawn into the long bag at the same time that you are blowing into it. (

Mrs. Grant & Mrs. Olson @ Science in the Rockies Summer 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

Great Day in Fourth Grade

The essential question for our recent Language Arts unit was "How can we use science to explain how things work?"  Our reading selections have focused on force, motion, inertia, gravity, and centripetal force.  We read about the George Ferris inventing the FerrisWheel which everyone really enjoyed--We were especially amazed that 40 to 60 people could ride on a single car.  Each ride was fifty cents, and about 1.5 million people rode the wheel during the World's Fair.

Today we explored some of the science concepts.  We did experiments about inertia and centripetal force.  Mrs. Grant pulled the tablecloth out from under the dishes, and Ms. Scott did too. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Grant's 4th graders have been learning about how their brains work and how they can take control of their learning.  We've been learning how by practicing and reviewing, we can grow new dendrites and strengthen the networks in our brain!  Our pictures show our class making a model of a neuron--the pull and peel licorice are the dendrites!!  Also included is the information we have been learning about the brain!  We are also using Khan Academy's LearnStorm activities to jump start our learning for the 4th grade year.

How can you take control of your learning?
Every time you come to school, you bring your most powerful tool with you!  Your brain is your power tool!  Learning about how your brain works can help you get smarter!

When sensory information (things you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, imagine) enters your brain, it has two routes it can take.  It can go to the prefrontal cortex (the thinking brain) or it can go to the lower, automatic brain (the reactive brain).  The reactive brain reacts to information instinctively rather than by thinking.  When it goes to the reactive brain, it is like “going in one ear and out the other.”  This is the part of the brain that makes you blurt out, daydream or space off, or act inappropriately.

The goal is to get the information you are learning into the thinking brain.  You can control that!  When you are in a bad mood, feeling frustrated, angry, sad, or stressed by negative emotions, the brain filters the information you are learning into the reactive brain.   

When you are calm and in control and have a positive attitude, you can better control what information makes it into your brain.  

The first part data passes through when entering the brain is the reticular activating system (RAS).  We will refer to it as the gatekeeper.  You will learn more if you let the information you want to through the gate.   

Now if it gets through the gatekeeper, it travels to the limbic system which is your emotional core.  Let’s say that you have a bad morning.  You don’t want to get up, and you have a fight with your mom.  Or maybe one of your siblings made you mad, or you forgot your homework, and so on.  Your brain gets stressed and closes off the pathways to your thinking brain.  Unless you get yourself in a positive frame of mind, you will have trouble learning that day.

What you can do to help get learning to the thinking brain?
*Make sure you are getting exercise and are well-rested
*Develop awareness of--and some control--over your emotions.
*Take deep breaths
*Clear your mind
*Think about taking control of your brain
*Positive self-talk
*Think calm and control
*Let go of things that you can’t control.
*Think of a good feeling, and try to get to that place in your mind.
*Don’t give up.  You can turn things around to become calm and focused and get data to your thinking brain.

It is a quite a route to your thinking brain.  Next is the hippocampus.  Once data gets here, the brain links the new input to both memories of your past and things you already know that are stored in your long-term memory.  This is why teachers try to find out what you already know and try to connect it with new information--to make that connection!

If the data makes it this far, it is in your thinking brain!!  Here is where you do all of your best thinking and problem solving.  And here is where it can be coded into long-term memories and knowledge.

Do you think that some people are just smart and others are not and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That is not true!  There are things you can do to become smarter.  Nerve cells are called neurons.  Neurons send messages to other neurons through branches called axons and dendrites.  When you review and practice something you’ve learned, dendrites actually grow between neurons.  Just think--you can control growing dendrites in your brain!  Every time you review or practice or use what you know to solve problems or create something,, it makes the network stronger, just like muscles become stronger when you exercise them.  And that makes the memory stay in your brain.  Practice makes permanent.

Another important part of your brain is dopamine.  This is a neurotransmitter.  Neurotransmitters help carry information from neuron to neuron like a current of electricity.  Neurotransmitters are like the wires that connect the network.

Your brain releases extra dopamine when you feel good.  When an experience is positive, it boost dopamine.  This also helps you be alert and more focused.  Certain activities, such as interacting with friends, laughing, physical activity, listening to someone read to you, listening to music, and acting kindly increases dopamine levels.  Experiencing pride at accomplishing something also boosts dopamine.  It will increase your learning power if you do some things that make you feel good.

What can you do to improve learning and grow dendrites?
*Take brain breaks every so often.
*Get moving when you are on the playground.
*Practice and review often.
*Your teacher knows about the brain--so listen to her advice!
*Be kind to one another--help boost dopamine

Take control of your learning--and use your power tool to grow some dendrites!

neuron dendrites diagram.jpg

Monday, August 20, 2018

First Week of School - Mrs. Grant's 4th Grade 2018

It was a great first week of school!!  Here we are on the first day completing our "We're Back Snack" math activity and having some free time getting to know our classroom!

Kilee brought her pet mouse to visit!

Mrs. Grant's 22nd First Day of School & Mrs. Olson's 4th First Day of School
Ready for a Great Year!

Monday, May 14, 2018


What a great day in 4th grade!  My parents came to help with our annual classroom auction (for the 19th year!).  It was a lot of fun.  Students worked hard to earn classroom bucks all year.  They earn money for returning their Friday Folders, doing extra bonus work at home and school, being responsible, doing extra reading, and making other good choices during the year.  Everyone got a lot of great loot!  I collect things all year as well as receive donations from parents and others and a grant from the Chadron Public Schools Foundation helps to purchase items.  It is such a great math and life-skill learning experience.  Thanks to all the parents who helped today or sent items and treats!

Settling Up!

Marilyn & Devan finding out how much Devan spent!

Noah with his "Big Bucks!"