Lego Engineering: WeDo Robotics

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Second graders are always excited to explore our Lego Engineering WeDo Robotics science unit each spring. Over the last week, we have built five different robots: dancing birds that tweet, a monkey that drums, a  crocodile that opens and closes its mouth, lion that sits up, eats and roars, a goalie who guards the goal and a kicker that kicks a ball. It has been an exciting experience as we have learned the importance how engineering teams work together to achieve success.

Our learning targets have been:

  • build a robot and program it to move and make sounds
  • work as a team to problem-solve and revise our building plans
  • learn how robots are used to help solve problems

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A Simple Gift

The video above is a project created by our first Africa Bridge Kid’s Team 7 years ago. It reminds us what we all have in common with each other: the joy of music, dance, laughter, and love. When we focus on this it creates a lot of positive emotion and is a simple gift for us all!

The Africa Bridge Kid’s Team

The Africa Bridge Reading Challenge starts this week. Be sure to show the information packet to your parents and get started by asking for sponsors for your reading. Keep track of your reading and be proud that you are making a difference in the lives of the students in Tanzania!

We had the opening assembly last Friday. The Africa Bridge Kid’s Team helped introduce the project to the second and third graders. Ana Rau and Sharon Brabenac were here from the Africa Bridge staff. They thanked Stafford students for helping build over 317 desks for the students last year. This year we will help the Kisondella secondary school get the desks they need for their classrooms. We will also build our friendship by sending them words of love and hope with our Flat Stanley Project.  We will make and send Flat Stafford Students to Tanzania!

Africa Bridge Kid’s Team leads the opening assembly for the second-grade reading challenge project.

We are starting our traveling book bags this week. Each bag has a book about life in Africa. Please read it and bring it back the next day. You can count this book on your Africa Bridge reading contract. Together we are reading a book called A Life Like Mine. We will discuss one chapter each week This week is about water. We learned that children around the world often do not have the clean water they need for drinking, cooking, and washing. We also learned that we often waste a lot of water, but can make changes that will help stop that. Let’s make a resolution to stop wasting water!

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Here is our weekly Padlet. Your challenge is to write your answer on your own. Remember: type using home row position, use the words in the question to write a complete sentence, and use correct spelling and punctuation.

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Here Are Our Spring Challenges!

Welcome back from Spring Break! We are ready to start new units of study and new challenges. The first is a writing challenge: write one complete sentence on our own on our weekly Padlets. Be sure to the words in the question to write your answer. The spelling will be correct this way. Watch for correct spelling and punctuation. Ask for someone to edit it before you finish. For enrichment write two sentences and add an image. This is also a keyboarding challenge: keep your fingers on home row.

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The second challenge is our Africa Bridge Reading Challenge: start a new series, read more minutes a day, read more biographies. You choose your goal and get sponsors for your reading. Our goal is to help support the students in our sister schools in Tanzania. We will be reading a book called A Life Like Mine to learn more about life for children around the world as well as books about life in Africa. We want to learn how we can make a difference in the lives of others. What will you do? Write a complete sentence for your answer, check your spelling and punctuation and use home row as you type.


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Africa Bridge Reading Challenge

Second graders will have the opportunity to participate in a special literacy program throughout the month of April.  We call it the Read to Feed/Read to Build Reading Challenge Project. This program is designed to raise money to help support the students from our buddy schools in Tanzania. We will begin by reading a wonderful book called Beatrice’s Goat that tells the story of a little girl whose family receives the gift of a goat.  The goat helps them earn enough money to feed her family and to send Beatrice to school.  The non-profit organization, Africa Bridge, supplies this type of sustainable help in Tanzania to support needy and orphaned children through their cow and potato and avocado co-ops.

Cow Co-op

This reading challenge project is an extension of our Great People in History unit.  We are very excited to know that we, too, can make a difference in people’s lives by making a difference in the life of just one child.  We know that through our donations to Africa Bridge

  • $50 pays for supplies for a child to attend primary school a year
  • $50 pays for veterinary care to help keep livestock co-0ps healthy
  • $150 pays for fees and supplies to send a child to secondary school for a year
  • $250 pays for 500 avocado saplings to begin orchards
  • $500 pays for one family’s membership in a cow co-op
  • $10,000 builds a classroom

Old Classrooms at Pakati Primary School

New Classrooms Build Through Stafford support

Over 375 desks built through Stafford’s support

In second grade we decided we would use our reading skills to help support our friends at our sister schools, Pakati Primary, Katusyo Primary, and our newest sister school Ipyana Primary.  We challenge ourselves to read more and will look for sponsors for our reading.  Watch this video to see the Flat Stanley/Flat Stella friendship letter project we did a few years ago.

Over the past 10 years, together with the efforts of the third graders’ school-wide fundraiser, The Market Place, Stafford students have done great things. Thanks to their efforts

  • More students are attending school
  • Families have more food as a result of the animal cooperatives
  • 3 new classrooms have been built
  • Over 375 new desks were donated
  • Pakati Primary School built one toilet

Our Africa Bridge Kid’s Team will lead our opening assembly on April 6th to kick off our project this year.   John Worcester from Africa Bridge will come to talk to us about the great things that are happening for the students in Tanzania, thanks to the continuing support of the students at Stafford School.  We are excited to see what we do this year! We will be expanding our help to the Kisondela schools.

They need support sending students to school, help rebuilding classrooms and building more desks. We will be looking for sponsors for our reading challenge program starting today.

Llulwe School in the Kisondela Ward

Founder Barry Childs meeting with students

Let’s use our reading skills to make a difference

in the lives of our friends

in Tanzania!

Let’s do it! 

How will you challenge yourself in your reading? More minutes a day? A new series? Books about children around the world? 

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Let’s Explore Greatness: Biographies

What do these people have in common? Florence Nightingale, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai. When you read the stories about their lives, their biographies, you will learn that they have a number of the same character traits that inspired them to do great things: creativity in their work, compassion for others, courage in the face of adversity, determination to succeed, perseverance during hard times, and honesty and integrity in confronting injustice or expressing their beliefs. 

Click here to watch the story of Christopher Columbus that explore the stories of some of these great people. You can listen to and read their stories at home over the next couple of weeks as you prepare to make a choice about a person you would like to research. We can also listen to more stories on BrainPop Jr./Social Studies/Biographies. You read short articles about more great people on Biographies for Kids and World Book Online Great People.  Click on each of the links above to take you right there!

Let’s share what we learn with each other on our Padlet.  Let’s see how much new learning we can add.

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Great People in History


We are looking forward to more nonfiction reading after Spring Break when we will explore the biographies of people in history. We know that we can learn important lessons by understanding the stories of their lives. We are inspired by the personal strengths they have in common:  determination and perseverance, curiosity and creativity, honesty and integrity, respect and responsibility, compassion and courage. They use their skills and talents in the service of others and have changed many people’s lives because of it.

Enjoy watching these videos of some Great People In History projects from former students.  You will be selecting someone to research after we come back from Spring Break. I will send home a list of names and websites where you can explore a number of great people. You will select one person to research and “become” that person in your final oral presentation. As we do our research we will focus on the personal strengths of great people, and show how they have helped make the world a better place.

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What part of the this project do you think you will enjoy the most: reading, writing, speaking?

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Animal Adaptations

In our reading and research about ecosystems this last week we talked about animal adaptations. We learned that adaptations are the physical or behavioral changes an animal makes in order to survive in an ecosystem.

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We also talked about food webs.  Part of our research is about the food chain our animal is in. We are asking questions are its prey and predators and whether our animal is a carnivore (meat eater), an herbivore (plant eater), or an omnivore (animal and plant eater). A food web is a complex network of food chains in an ecosystem.

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Protecting Our Ecosystems

As we continue our study of ecosytems we know that we must pay attention to how we can protect the environment around us. Listen to this song and then add to our Padlet how you and your family are doing your part in helping.

Join us in our effort to protect the Earth! 

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The Rice Rock Museum

We went on our field trip to the Rice Rock Museum this last week to see the wonderful collection of rocks.  This museum is one of the biggest in the Pacific Northwest.  What a great place to explore and be a rock hound. We all came away with a great rock!

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What did you enjoy most at the museum?

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Let’s protect our Earth!

Watch this creative project that teaches all about ecosystems and how we can do our part to protect our home, the Earth.  Thank you to the students at Marryatville School in England who put together this animated video that illustrates perfectly our definition of an ecosystem. Thank you for sharing your learning with the world!

We will work together with you, side by side, to protect our Earth!

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Will you join us in helping protect our Earth?

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We are beginning our study of ecosystems this week. What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem includes all of the living things like plants, animals and organisms in a given area that interact with each other, and also with non-living things like weather, sun, soil, and climate.
meaning of ecosystems

In an ecosystem, each organism has its’ own special role to play. Last week we used Scholastic Study Jams Science: Ecosystems to learn more about ecosystems. We are excited to continue our nonfiction reading and writing about the savanna, rainforest, desert, polar tundra, temperate forest, and ocean. This is a great website to review our learning in science. Click on the link above to review what we learned.

The video above was posted on a class blog by Mrs. N-C and The Terrific Tuis from New Zealand. The scene is from a forest habitat. It is hard not to laugh as you watch the main characters, Squirrel and Eagle lead their daily life in their forest habitat. Their class used this for a creative writing project to help them come up with strong descriptive sentences. What a great way to get inspired and learn about an ecosystem. Thanks for sharing your great idea with others on your class blog!

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What did you learn about the forest ecosystem from the video?

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