• April News Week 3

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 4/17/2017 5:00:00 AM

    What Will We Learn?

    Last week students wrapped up their Mars colonization projects. I enjoyed watching the students apply their knowledge of the harsh Mars environment as they designed their own colony. Check out our Twitter for photos of student work!


    (A few students are still working due to field trips, testing, etc. Their colonies will be coming home soon! )


    This week the students will participate in a seminar flex day. These flex days are designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the topics and/or activities that they are passionate about. Exploration days also enable the students to identify new interests and personal strengths. Students may select activities from various subject areas such as science, social studies, math, writing, technology, and even foreign languages. During this time students may also complete any unfinished challenge packets, projects, or assignments. Any unfinished Mars colonization projects should be completed as well!


    Important Dates/Reminders

    Spring GIEP Meetings- Please remember to sign up for your child's Spring GIEP Meeting. These meetings will be held on May 17th, May 19th, and May 25th. If these dates do not fit your schedule, please contact me to arrange another day or time.


    PSSA Testing- This is just a reminder that there will not be seminar groups from 4/25/17 through 4/27/17 as third graders will be participating in PSSA assessments, and I will be administering PSSA assessments on those days. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for understanding!

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  • April News Week 1

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 4/1/2017 7:00:00 AM

    During your child’s next seminar session we will complete our Mars colonization projects and begin focusing on independent study options. Students have worked diligently on posters, travel brochures, and 3D models. I am so impressed with the level of thought, creativity, and imagination that the students have invested in their projects. Students have worked hard to take many objects that would have ended up in the trash can or recycling bin, and create an entire colony. Ask your child about their Mars creation. They can’t wait to share the details with you! (Some buildings may need additional working time as they missed class due to field trips and special school activities.)


    **I want to remind parents and students that we will not have seminar groups April 3-6 as I will be responsible for administering PSSA assessments, and third grade students across the district will be participating in them. I will meet with your child on the next corresponding cycle day to continue with their work!



    Independent Study Options- As students wrap up their Mars colonization projects, they will have some extra time to work on an independent study option of their choice. During their independent study time, the students will have the opportunity to explore any topic that ignites their curiosity and passion for learning. Throughout the year students have used coding to design their own games, explored mysteries of the world, engaged in creative writing topics, used technology to create a presentation on a favorite topic, and even planned their own inventions. I am looking forward to giving students some extra time in this area to see the wonderful ideas they come up with!

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  • March News 3/17/17

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 3/17/2017 5:00:00 AM

    Mission To Mars

    This week the students will continue with their Mars colonization projects. Students are working hard to create a colony on Mars that can sustain human life. Students have selected to share this information with their crew members in a variety of creative ways. Some students have opted to create travel brochures that will entice humans to visit the red planet. Other students have decided to create a 3-D model using recycled items such as egg cartons, cardboard, paper towel rolls, and newspaper. I will also provide additional materials such as clay, plastic cups, tooth picks, construction paper, foil, and straws. If you have items at home that your child wishes to utilize, you may send them in this week as we begin creating!


    Winter Writing Contest

    I am so excited to announce the results of the Winter Writing Contest. Many seminar students worked vigorously each week to create their final piece. These students impressed me with both their writing abilities, and their passion and enthusiasm for creative writing. It was a very difficulty decision for the judges, as all of the pieces were worthy of winning!


    First Place Winner- Anika Ray- 3rd Grade /LS

    Runner Up- Andrew Guerrini 3rd Grade/LH


     Once again, I am so proud of the many participants, and their incredible passion for creative writing. Keep up the great work!

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  • March Week 2

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 3/4/2017 6:30:00 AM

    This week we will merge social studies and science, as the students begin their Mars colonization projects. The students will use their prior knowledge of the colonization process, combined with their knowledge of the harsh Mars environment, to create a community on the red planet that can sustain human life. The students must consider critical factors such as food, water, oxygen, and protection from dangers like dust storms, radiation, and extreme weather conditions. The students will also create recreational/entertainment options that utilize the natural resources of Mars. These include ideas like zip lining as a practical and exciting way to cross deep canyons, or skiing on the frosty, dusty surface of Mars.


    After the students plan their community on Mars, they may choose to create a book, detailed poster/map, travel guide, or 3-D model to showcase their ideas. We will be collecting various items such as empty cereal boxes, egg cartons, shirt boxes, clear plastic cups, 2-liter bottles, water bottles, plastic lids, coffee cans, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, card board, rocks, pebbles, marbles, small toy people, etc.The students may use these recycled materials for their model. If you have any of these items at home and no longer need them, please begin sending them to your child’s school as soon as possible.

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  • February Week 3

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 2/15/2017 6:00:00 AM

    Seminar Students will participate in a Hoop Glider Engineering activity. Throughout this activity, students will have the opportunity to explore being an engineer by designing and building a hoop glider, testing it through trial runs, and adjusting one variable at a time to improve the performance of their prototype. Students will create their glider using one straw, one index card, scotch tape, and scissors, once again reinforcing the concept of limited resources.  This activity will also introduce students to scientific concepts such as gravity, lift, thrust, and drag. These Hoop Gliders may look peculiar, but they fly surprisingly well! Check out our Twitter page for more photos!

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  • February Week 2

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 2/6/2017 5:00:00 AM

    This week the students will have the opportunity to participate in a STEM challenge. Flex days are built into our Mission to Mars simulation to provide a “change of scenery” and to expose students to topics in which they have expressed interest. During our most recent student-interest survey, students indicated that they would enjoy opportunities for building, creating, and competition!

    During this week's challenge each engineering team will attempt to build the tallest free-standing structure possible with only the materials provided. Free-standing means that the structure cannot be held, taped, or wedged between tables. This activity will reinforce real-world skills and concepts such as design, problem-solving, team work, and project planning. Just like real engineers, our seminar students will have to create their tower with limited resources and surprise setbacks! This activity will help students recognize the planning and constraints that real engineers face. It will also help them to embrace team work and cooperation.

    The remaining class time will be used for students to work on their current independent study options such as coding, green screen newscasts, biographies, everyday mysteries, etc.

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  • February Week 1

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 2/1/2017 5:00:00 AM

    Mission to Mars: This week the students will have the opportunity to present their Perils of the Journey project to their classmates. At the beginning of our mission order, the students were invited to research how microgravity and extended space travel may negatively impact the human body. From there, mission specialists selected one problem that they wanted to investigate more thoroughly. Students selected topics such as muscle atrophy, loss of bone density, exposure to increased radiation, and even negative impacts on mental health. The mission specialists worked hard to investigate their selected problem and understand why it occurs. They also developed a plan to address possible prevention methods. Next, the students selected a creative way to teach this information to their crew members. Students have worked on projects such as green screen newscasts, comic strips, posters, and game boards to present this information!

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  • January Week 2

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 1/9/2017 5:00:00 AM

    Mission to Mars: This week the students began their new mission order, Perils of the Journey. Microgravity and extended space travel can cause many challenges to the human body. These challenges include issues such as muscle atrophy, loss of bone density, and even negative psychological effects. The crew's mission is to research these challenges, and to devise a plan that will safeguard the health of the astronauts during an extended voyage to Mars. Ask your child about the peril they are investigating!


    Ask your child some of the questions below to generate conversations regarding their current mission.


    Can you tell me more about your new mission order, Perils of the Journey?

    What is microgravity?

    Why should astronauts exercise on Mars?

    What are some challenges that are caused by extended space travel and/or microgravity?

    How do you think scientists could address these issues?

    What is your biggest concern regarding extended space travel? Why?

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  • Mission to Mars December Week 2

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 12/10/2016 5:00:00 AM

    Over the past few weeks the students have been researching different ways to provide food, water, and oxygen on an extended voyage to Mars. The students have explored various options such as hydroponic greenhouses, prepackaged supplies, ESA's MELiSSA system, suspended animation, and recycling on Mars. This week we will review the information that we have learned, and the students will devise a final plan to provide life-support raw materials for our mission to Mars!


    Check out our Twitter for upcoming pictures!

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  • Mission to Mars December Week 1

    Posted by Shana Havanas at 12/1/2016 10:00:00 PM

    Mission to Mars

    Next week we will take a break from our Human Factor Mission Order to participate in a Mars rover creation project. The best part about this project is that it is edible! Just like real engineers, the students will be given a set amount of supplies that are available for use. These include items such as graham crackers, frosting, marshmallows, straws, toothpicks, and much more! The students will sketch and label their diagram, and then begin building with their inventory. At the end of our session together, the students should be able to explain each part of their independently designed rover. (Ex: Maybe the bendable straw is a rock-abrasion tool, or the graham cracker is a solar panel!)


    Check out our Twitter for upcoming pictures!


    Winter Writing Contest

    Students will have the opportunity to compete in a K-3 Seminar Winter Writing Contest. The purpose of this competition is to cultivate a passion for creative writing. Participation in this competition is completely optional. Students who choose to participate will work on their creative writing pieces during their independent study time. Their piece must be submitted to me by January 20th, although this date could change depending on weather. Many students have already started their stories, and their enthusiasm for writing is contagious! Ask your child about the topic of their winter writing piece!




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