Maps is such a great arc for exploring math!
The Rubber Band has taken the concepts of longitude and latitude literally and have been adventuring into the world to find the measurement of a minute of longitude. They spent all of last Thursday converting a coordinate from degrees, minutes, and seconds to decimal degrees after learning that the measurement changes depending on where you are located on the earth.
The Coyotes and the Phantoms worked together today exploring arrays and how they help illuminate the concept of area.
They are also exploring topography using legos. The Coyotes created their own topographical maps indicating level by which color they were using.
I liked these four photos below, collected – they tell a sweet story that these Phantoms took the week before spring break to Bernal Hill:
When you follow a map, you should consult a friend.
Sometimes you take the unmarked trail.
Often you must sit and consider the landscape before constructing your own map.
And it’s pretty great when you find where you’re supposed to go.
This week a few of the Phantoms took a trip to Golden Gate Park with a route of interesting places to see throughout the park. They planned out their journey at school and then did the trip in person, finding that small detours along the way made for great stories and added more depth to their understanding of place.
The Coyotes took a trip around the city to visit all of their houses. They did major show and tell of their homes and got special treats from their families. Each Coyote took charge of the map when it was their turn to take the rest of the group to their house!
And from today, a glorious sunny Community Friday:
The Coyotes have been busy! They spent part of their day planning for their home visit field trip tomorrow by looking at a map of San Francisco and plotting their course by car to each of their houses.
They’ve been watching this video and having dance parties to get their wiggles out and to become familiar with the locations of the fifty states in the US. They are playing a game called Stack the States and have been doing research in books while playing so they can answer all the questions.
They are working with square blocks and rulers to explore area and perimeter with some of the Phantoms.
The Coyotes are writing fantasy stories based on maps of their own creation! They started by looking at maps from fantasy stories and different images of the world, and then began drawing their own fantastical maps of their own made-up worlds.
There was the hum of focused activity in the school today as the Brightworks kids continued in their exploration of Maps. Here’s a few highlights:
The Sand Leopards drew maps of the different systems in the body and created games out of the different processes that happen in a human body. They had to do the research to be anatomically correct and create realistic rules to represent what happens inside the body to not only create a good experience for the game players but also teach the roadblocks and winding paths of the anatomical figure. At the end of the day they played their games and shared with the rest of the band.
The Rubber Band created their own Lego topography landscape using different colors for different layers to represent altitude. They charted their 3D landscapes in two dimensions from an aerial view on graph paper, which proved to be frustrating for them all! After many mistakes, nearly all students created a blocky, 2-D topography. Christie reports that they will tweak these rough maps into rounded, realistic topographical representations.
This week flew by! So many amazing things happened – we explored the city, our surroundings, details on charting our whereabouts. The kids went out into the world so often, the school was quiet most of the school day every day this week. There are fantasy map stories popping up, getting lost in the woods, explorations of gentrification, treasure to be found, and countries to visit.
Today was Community Friday and there was a wonderful sense of togetherness and yes, community, as we all took the day to do art projects, mapping of the school, hearing stories about adventures, and writing tales of made-up places. We started the day with the snicker-snak of the Vorpol sword in Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky and the twists and turns of a child’s mind of the Neverland as described in Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. After circle, we broke into literature circles and had some time to talk about the first chapters in our seven small groups of readers, each reading a separate book.
The rest of the day was spent telling stories
writing fantasy based on maps
painting and collaging time capsules
building map stands
continuing work on the go-cart
designing treasure hunts in the school
and enjoying Community Lunch prepared by our fearless director Ellen and her family.
We celebrated Mackenzie, Henry, and Thea’s birthdays today as well. After lunch and during dessert, we heard from Elaine and Stan, two writers who wrote a book about civil rights issues in the San Francisco Bay Area. They tied in Fairness, which we just finished, and Maps, which they just started. It was great to see the kids engaging with them and answering questions since they were familiar with the names of historical figures as well as the issues brought up. The kids were incredible listeners! Market Day closed out this Friday, and we said goodbye for a week of spring break.
See you in a week!
We read a section from Roald Dahl’s book The BFG as another way to think about the Maps arc, then it was off to exploration today!
The Phantoms went up to Potrero Park to make treasure maps for each other using map legends.
The Sand Leopards also made treasure maps for each other after practicing making maps in the morning.
The Rubber Band is making a price map for coffee, kale, and comic books in different neighborhoods. They started gathering data for 15 places in the city to compare different prices in different neighborhoods.
The Coyotes started looking at the elements of story in preparation for writing their own stories during the arc. They also visited Korea and got stamps for the country in their passport books.
Today marked the first day of the Maps arc! What is a map? Why are maps important? Do we only use maps for directions? Are paper maps obsolete in this day of GPS and Google maps? What can you learn about the mapmaker from his or her map?
This morning, Gever brought us in for a story about Juan Ponce de Leon and his search for the Fountain of Youth, and his journey to fill in the blank spaces on the map. He sent us off with that mission: to fill in the blank spaces.
The Sand Leopards took a leaf out of the Coyotes’ book and took a journey across the city on a treasure hunt. They followed a map that took them to Dolores Park and beyond, and eventually to Lili’s house, where they ate foods from different countries and explored the world map.
The Coyotes made passports for the country of United Brightworks to get ready for all the adventures that this arc is going to take them on. Their first journey was to India, where they read about the culture and learned about the country!
The Phantoms explored the different elements of maps and how to read them and orient themselves on one.
The Rubber Band headed out into the world with paper maps. Christie loaded her band into her car and blindfolded them, then drove them to a mystery spot in San Francisco. Their task was to use their paper map to both find a place to eat lunch and chart the quickest way back to Brightworks. Though most of them were able to orient themselves with street names and found their way back based on the route they come to school – not the quickest – they were able to get back and map out their path back at school. Their adventure brought up the question: Are paper maps obsolete? We’ll have to check their blogs for their pros and cons (sfbrightworks.org/students/[student's name] – isaac, madison, henry, max, quinn).
Hooray for maps!