Engage! Explore! Excite!

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn
– Benjamin Franklin

Lasting learning is marked with active engagement and exploration and ignites excitement. In first grade we have been immersed in some pretty thrilling activities in both Social Studies and in Science.

Social Studies is brought to life with our Storypath Unit, Families in Their Neighborhoods. We have been hard at work all year creating a detailed imaginary neighborhood. We built homes, roads, a store, a school, and a park. We established our families by creating unique characters with complete biographies. Through our neighborhood and family simulations we come to grasp what it means to be part of a community. We have been tasked with identifying family ideals through creation of family crests and delivering mail efficiently by creating neighborhood maps.

Our most exciting event to date came this past week when encountered a major dilemma! We discovered trash strewn around the entire neighborhood. We needed to solve this problem! How could we do that? We realized that a problem of this magnitude requires input from everyone in the neighborhood so we decided to hold a neighborhood meeting. First we selected leaders for the meeting. We evaluated all our residents and found many with leadership skills and then voted to select who would lead our meeting. The vote resulted in a tie so we had Michael Marlin (Riley K) and Sarah Johnson (Magdalena) as co-leaders. However before our meeting we saw a need to set some ground rules on meeting behaviors and meeting goals. These are the rules and goals we established.


  1. Listen to whoever is talking.
  2. Be quiet when others are talking.
  3. Be respectful!
  4. Let everyone have a turn to speak.


  1. Determine where the trash is coming from.
  2. Decide how we will clean it up.
  3. Decide how we will keep it clean in the future.

Our meeting was filled with great discussion. We determined that the trash was most likely from everyone in neighborhood, as it is appeared everywhere and was no particular type of trash. We decided that building trash cans and picking up the trash together would be the best way to clean up. We decided that we need more garbage trucks and that we should have them come more frequently to keep the neighborhood clean in the future.

Through our great discussions we discovered that rules (and laws) help people get along in community. So we came up with more general rules that will make our neighborhood a great place for everyone. Exploring civics in concrete ways is very exciting!

In Science our study of air and weather is just getting started. What can you discover about air using feathers, straws, balloons, Styrofoam balls, and paper? We discover that air truly is amazing! It can be captured, it can move things, it can make noises occur, and it takes up space. What discoveries!

The exploration continues. We go deeper into our year-long study of salmon. Our study began with a trip to the Mary Olson Farm to see the natural habitat of spawning salmon. More hands-on experience is to be had! On Thursday the salmon eggs arrived. Whoo Hoo! A total of 150 vibrant orange Coho salmon eggs were gently placed in our tank right outside our classroom door.

We’ve already noted something very interesting; if you look closely you can see their eyes peering through the egg casings. We will be tracking their wondrous development in our salmon logs and learning much about our watershed and this amazing indicator species! We will work with our 6th grade buddies to track and care for the salmon until we release them into the wild in May.