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Discovery Lab Highlights at Solana Ranch

Updated: Sep 21, 2023


Kinder (Picture #1): Beebot Habitat - Students learn all about what an animal needs in their habitat, then create food, water and shelter that they program a Beebot to go into.

First Grade (Picture #2): Animal Biomimicry - Students learn about animals and their adaptations. They then create a protective "poncho" inspired by protective parts of different animals.

Second Grade (Picture #3): Engineering a Cargo Boat - Students learn about different materials and decide which would be best to build a cargo boat. They test the boat (powered with a Sphero motor) in the water to determine how much cargo it can carry.

Third Grade (Picture #4): Engineer a Hybrid Animal - Students learn about inheritance and adaptations and design (and 3D print) an hybrid animal that can survive in a new environment.

Fourth Grade (Picture #5): Solar Energy Device - Students learn about renewable energy and create a device that has a motor powered by a solar panel.

Fifth Grade (Picture #6-7): Engineer a Rocket - Students build a rocket to defy gravity. They create fins digitally and use a Carvey machine to carve them. They test different levels of water and air pressure to determine the straightest, highest and fastest rockets.

Sixth Grade (Picture #8): ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) - As part of learning about human impact and what we can do about it, students engineer an underwater ROV and create attachments to connect to the ROV to collect plastic pollution in the water.



Kinder (Picture #1): Draw and shade penquin on snow flurry background

First Grade: Shade and tint ice cream cones

Second Grade (Picture #2): Sunset with buffalo and brush foreshadow, using Native American symbols to tell a story

Third Grade (Picture #3): Year of the Rabbit lanterns with Asian inspired designs and crepe paper streamers

Fourth Grade: Small scale woven wall hangings

Fifth Grade: Tempera Paint Making

Sixth Grade: Ceramic tile Zentangle



Kinder (Picture #1): Kindergarteners are reading the book "Can't You Sleep Little Bear". This book is a good introduction to singing with each other and also helps students practice the difference between their singing voice and speaking voice. I'm very proud of the students who are so brave to sing by themselves in the first month of music

First Grade: First graders are listening, moving to, and playing the music of the Can Can by Jacques Offenbach. This silly and uptempo classical peace is a great introduction to quarter notes and eighth notes (also known as ta and titi). They are able to use movement to learn these notes and also have the chance to play the song using various percussion instruments.

Second Grade: Second graders are reviewing the basics of rhythm with their own compositions. They are going to make their own "Pizza" in music class. Each ingredient has to match a certain rhythm(number of syllables). The class is then going to combine their ingredients to make a pizza. Then, we will perform our pizza composition.

Third Grade (Picture #2): Third graders are starting a unit on songs and games from the island Bali in Indonesia. These songs allow students to practice the pentatonic scale with singing and playing instruments. They also help students learn about a culture that may be different from their own. The song "meong meong" is a cat and mouse chasing game.

Fourth Grade: Fourth graders are reviewing the musical concepts of repeat signs, DC al Fine, and DS al Fine using the piece "Minute Waltz" by Chopin. This fast paced and fun piano piece matches the form of a worksheet that they need to complete. This a great way for me to learn what students know from previous years.

Fifth Grade: Fifth graders are learning the basics of musical form. Form is how music is organized. Students are learning the different parts of the song (chorus, introduction, verse, bridge, interlude, and outro) and listening to various songs. Students even have the chance to pick their own songs to practice finding the forms of songs. So far we've have students choose Bittersweet Symphony and Taylor Swift.

Sixth Grade: Sixth graders are learning a more advanced version of musical form. Form is how music is organized. This more advanced lesson involves music without words. Student will use letter names to figure out the forms of these songs. They are starting with the song "Folk Police" by the Scottish band Peatbog Faeries. Students also should have a chance to pick their own songs to practice form.


Media Center*

Kindergarten: Kindergarteners are learning about book care and how to use the library. They have had fun listening to stories and talking about eh important parts of a book. They have loved checking out books to share with their classmates.

First Grade: In first grade, students are learning how to use the Solana Ranch Library independently, they are learning about our library's organization and how to use their shelf markers to select books from the shelves. We have read many fun stories that are getting us excited to read new and different genres. First graders are learning to challenge themselves with chapter books and practicing how to pick one that is a good fit for them to read independently.

Second Grade: Read Aloud continues to be a highlight for our Second Graders. We start each and every class in the Media Lab with a fun or interesting books. Second Graders are excited to be back and borrowing not just one, but two books this year. Second grade students are beginning to learn how to look for books using alphabetical order on our shelves. They are also learning how to pick "just right" books for independent reading.

Third Grade: Third graders have been excited to return to the library and are excited to check out more challenging books as they have grown as readers. Solana Ranch Third graders have been listening to engaging and fun stories and focusing on the different Genres of Literature. The first skill we are practicing is how fiction books are organized in the library and how to find books on the shelves independently by author. They are loving the independence and satisfaction of finding the book they are looking for on their own.

Fourth Grade: Fourth graders have also been excited to see all of our new books and read ones they have been waiting to check out! Our first two weeks in lab we set our class norms as a group and reviewed our library organization. We also had a special opportunity to kick off their first STREAM unit by reading an engaging book about Rube Goldberg and comparing primary and secondary sources of his creative works.

Fifth Grade: I was very excited to welcome back our fifth graders to the Media Lab! We also focused on setting group norms and reviewing library organization. We began with a special story, "Waiting for the Biblioburro" and learned about how some cultures access books in their communities. It was a great way to kick off LatinX Heritage Month and highlight authors from latin countries. Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the use of our digital catalogue and locating the important information needed to write a proper bibliography.

Sixth Grade: Sixth graders have also begin their first block of classes in the Media Lab. We are also focusing on a quick review of our library organization and setting class norms. After reading aloud about how some of the earliest civilizations shared their stories, students were given a survey to share their hopes and dreams for their last year of Media Lab at Solana Ranch. I will be using the information that is shared to help guide the projects and research that we will focus on throughout the year. The first few weeks in Media Lab we will be focusing on reviewing our digital card catalogue and covering the important digital citizenship skill of identifying credible sources of information. Students are excited to borrow many of the new books that were requested and are now on our shelves! Thank you for shopping at our Book Fair to make this possible!

Discovery Labs are made possible by YOU! To make your donation to the Solana Beach Schools Foundation, visit our home page and click the Donate button.

*Not supported by your donations to the Solana Beach Schools Foundation.

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