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Update on our "ancient technologies" unit

Dear 5V parents,

Today your children completed the first of eight days of fast-paced research and model building in connection with the ancient technology and civilization that each has chosen for their unit focus.  From Greek chariots to Chinese flamethrowers, they are researching quite a broad array of topics.

I am taking my class through a quite structured process of research report writing.  Today we started using a graphic organizer for note-taking called a "gathering grid".  It should prove a good tool for keeping their research on track, and keeping their notes organized.  Late in the week we will get into the actual report writing process, including the separate steps of writing a thesis statement, making an outline (with topic sentences), and completing the first draft.

To give you a better idea of this approach to report writing, I'm attaching a few pages from the guide-book I'm using, intended for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.

Given that we only meet for classes for three days next week, we will have to move quickly, which could mean that quite a bit of unit work will need to be taken home for homework.

In fact, tonight's homework assignment involves them starting a new blog entry in which they will track the progress of the model-building part of the unit project.  The blog entry is to begin with your child's "unit focus statement" (which each student wrote today), followed by the photo of their initial sketch of the model they intend to build (the one I e-mailed to most of you yesterday).  Below the photo they are to add text describing the details of the sketch and how they made decisions about which materials to use for their models.

For the next few days we will be adding further sections to this same blog entry to ultimately construct a complete daily log of the building and presentation of their model.

By next Wednesday, with completed report and model in hand, the students will give brief presentations to their peers about what they have discovered regarding their chosen ancient technology and how it relates to modern technologies.  I plan on making videos of these presentations and make them privately available to you.

That's a brief report on some of today's learning in 5V.

Best regards,

Dan Vimont


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