“You have died of dysentery”. If you immediately thought of Oregon Trail, you are right! This week, your readers began their study of Westward Movement, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the times I played Oregon Trail when I was a child. Although we did not play this game at The Cooper School this week, we did follow the adventures of a boy named Francis Tucket on his journey to Oregon. This historical fiction novel allowed us to analyze the setting, develop a milieu of this time in history, and interpret what the tension in the novel tells us about this time period. 5th Graders noticed that this was a dangerous time with threats from the environment and other people. We looked hard at the different points of view in the conflict between white settlers and the Native Americans. Being able to analyze both sides helped us gain empathy and understanding. Ask your child what their favorite part of this book is so far!
Did you know that there is a sum of 180 degrees in the angles of a triangle? What about 8,640 degrees in a 50-gon? This week, your geometry experts drew, measured, and studied various polygons and the sum of their interior angles. After several days of hard work, we sat back and looked for patterns. Your mathematicians noticed that there was a formula to figure out the degrees in any polygon as long as you know how many sides that polygon has! Take the number of sides, subtract 2, and then multiply by 180. It was an exciting discovery! Ask your child to explain why this is true.
As we move into our second trimester, we are turning our attention to the idea of gratitude. Studies have shown that the happiest people are those that show gratitude for what they have and who they have. As a whole school, we began the week by defining what gratitude is and listing several things we are grateful for. Then, in our individual classrooms, students reflected on specific people, places, and things they are grateful for. In the coming weeks we will discuss how to show gratitude and how to receive gratitude.