Rock On – 5th Grade! Guest Speakers, Experiments, and Field Trips Enhance Learning in Grade 5!

While grade 5 students were learning about early man (hominids),  they were concurrently studying the geology of the earth, working with clay, and expanding their understanding of numbers.  They read about movement of tectonic plates, earthquakes, and volcanoes.    Students carried out a number of experiments examining the properties of rocks and minerals, effects of weathering, and volcanic explosions.  Even Mother Earth, herself, cooperated by demonstrating her power this past month!

Mrs. Heather Rheault, guest artist, was the first visitor to our class.  She gave students tips on rolling out clay and forming coiled and pinched pots in much the same way that early man made theirs.  Students cut out various shapes and stamps for imprinting.  Mud at its finest!  

Our second guest speaker, Dr. Alexei Kudriashov (Founder, chairman and CFO of Sperasoft, a computer game development company) using a powerpoint presentation spoke to the class about technology, specifically the technological rise in Silicon Valley.  (Silica the major mineral found in sand and a major component in the making of computer chips) How far man has come!  

Our final guest speaker for this unit, Mr. Joel Rheault, General Manager of Olympias Mine, brought in a collection of rocks and minerals that are found in the mine in Halkidiki. He explained about the four major minerals found in these rock, pointed out how to identify these minerals and then let each student choose a rock to keep.  Needless to say, students were dazzled by the brilliance of their gifts. Rock On, Mr. Rheault!

Grade 5 students were also fortunate to go on three field trips these past two months which tied in closely to what they had been studying in history, science, math, and art.  At the museum Center for Byzantine Culture Justinianus, students saw first hand how historians restore books, archaeologists repair pots, and artists repair icons.  Their final trip to Petralona Cave in Halkidiki was the highlight event.  They saw tools and weapons used by early man, bones of rhinos, bear, hyena. They stood in awe of the stalactites and stalagmites, cave coral, and the spot where the earliest human remains were found in Greece (anywhere from 250,000 to 600,000 years ago).  Spellbinding Speleology!

Mrs. Varsakopoulos’s 5th grade class is now off to explore organisms, Mesopotamia, the settlement of the United States, and of course- algebra!