Fibers and Fabric, Passover Seder

Last week, we began our study of fibers and how they become fabric to clothe us. This study is a continuation of our theme of Living on the Earth. To begin this block, Christ Stitzle, a sheep shearer, visited our school and sheared the sheep. He spoke to the third grade all about his profession and answered many questions the children had. Over the course of the block, the children will process the wool from Birch and Willow from raw wool to yarn. We will then use the yarn to complete a weaving project.


Here the children are picking the wool, removing any large debri, before it is washed. We also had a very special guest, Mrs. Keller, visit and give the third grade a presentation on spinning wool. Mrs. Keller is our gardening teacher’s mother. She wore period clothes from the 1700’s and explained all her garments and how they were made. She discussed why people long ago had so few pieces of clothing and demonstrated how to spin wool yarn as well as told us all the parts of the spinning wheel.  

  We also joined Mrs. Ostfeld’s class and Mrs.Ostfeld’s mother-in-law to experience a Passover Seder. The children sat together at a banquet table and participated in the Seder.      

They ate bitter herbs to remind them of the tears the Hewbrew slaves shed.


They heard about the plagues and let a drop of wine  grape juice fall on their plate for each plague. 


They class enjoyed the experience and had fun joining together to learn more about Jewish culture. 

Of course, we have also had plenty of time to play. Here are a group of students who set up a farmer’s market at recess. There was a lot of trading and bartering going on. 

And there has never been day in our classroom that wasn’t rich with art. Here is a spring time daffodil modeled by a child in the class.   

Linear Measurement and Money  

We worked a great deal with measurement before and now after our break as well. Before break the class finished our study of nonstandard linear measurement by using our cubits to measure the length of Noah’s ark, 300 cubits. We had no idea it would take so long to measure it out! After working hard to finally find 100 cubits, we decided to cut a length of yarn equal to the 100 cubits we had mearesured. Then we stretched it across the field two more times to reach the desired length. It turns out 300 cubits is reeeaally big! The flags marking each end are still up if you get a chance to see them. 



We made the transition to standardized linear measurement by making our own rulers. We mearesured many items in the classroom using these rulers, but soon discovered that a tape measure is a much more handy tool when measuring longer things. 



Once we returned from break we continued our study of money. We discussed the development of money including the concept of bartering. Each member of our class and the other third grade class brought an item form home that they no longer needed. Then we spent about 30 minutes or so trading. We had a lot of fun!  


The class also spent time exploring a jar of coins from all over the world that my husband had collected on an around the world trip. We found many commonalities in these currencies even though they were from many varied countries. We also worked a great with United States of America currency.  

Linear Measurement 

This week we explored the origins of linear measurement and again who people first used their own bodies to measure. We learned about cubits, spans, palms, digits, and feet.  

Then the class got busy measuring all sorts of things in the classroom. I chose which things they would measure, but they needed to choose which unit of measurement to use. It was great to walk around and hear, “Let’s measure the bench using cubits! Wait we need to estimate first!” “No, I don’t want to measure the floor with my cubit. Let’s use our feet.”  


Time & Liquid Measurement 

 As usual, we have been very busy in third grade! Last week, we discussed many different forms of measurement and how those forms of measurement are used and influence our daily lives. We discussed measurement of time, volume, weight, size, and amount. I talked to the class about how I use all these types of measurement every day in my life. We also heard a great folk tale titled Foolish Folk.   
We reviewed telling time to the quarter hour and worked a little more with time to the minute and elapsed time. 

Then we began to explore liquid measurement. I told the class that we would be making hot chocolate with milk, cocoa powder and sugar, but that I was unsure if I had purchased enough milk. No one knew exactly how many cups were contained in a gallon, so we decided we would need to do some measuring to find out. We started with a full gallon jug of water. First, we estimated how many quarts, pints, and cups might be contained in a gallon. Then, we got busy measuring. We poured the water from the gallon jug into a quart sized carton and discovered that the gallon was equal to four quarts. We repeated this process for pints and finally cups. We found that a single gallon jug contained 16 cups. The class was then very glad that I had purchased two gallons of milk, because that meant we would have more than enough for everyone in the class to have a full cup of hot chocolate. 

Then I shared the recipe with the class, but it was only written for one serving. We then got busy multiplying the recipe to make enough cocoa for 32 people. We will circle back to volume measurement later in the school year once the weather warms a little, and we can play with water outside. 


Modern Construction & Measurement 

Last week, the children finished presenting their shelters to the class. Then, we had a visiting speaker come to the class. He is a business man with a great deal of experience with renovation and construction. In fact, he even converted a barn into the home I grew up in, because he also happens to be my dad. He talked to the class about hand tools and power tools and why a person might choose either or both kinds of tools to use. He discussed why a person might choose to build a new building or renovate an old one. He also talked about all the steps that go into building a modern building from plans to inspection and the importance of making a building that is energy efficient.  


He led the class in a Main Lesson book drawing and communicated to the class how important measurement is to any building process and demonstrated the use of several measurement tools.  

That provided a bridge into our next block which focuses on measurement. We will review telling time and then jump into volume, weight, linear measurement, and money. 

Shelter Presentations 

Last week the children brought their model shelters to school and were able to share all their hard work with the entire school. Beginning on Wednesday of last week, each child had a few minutes to present their work and research to the class. They talked about where the shelter they modeled was from, what kind of people lived in that shelter, and how it was traditionally constructed among many other details.  

On Friday, parents from both third grade classes visited our classrooms and got to view the models made by all the third graders. Parent communicated that even though each child made a different shelter, they all had the same trials in building it. The children learned about a traditional shelter, but also learned about perseverance,  trial and error, disappointment, and untimately how sweet success is after working hard. After the parent visit concluded, first through fifth grades came and took a look as well.  I will attempt to create a digital file with pictures of each child and their shelter to share with you. 

We also learned about the construction of log cabins and modeled our own with bees wax.