2C Personal Health Inquires

For the past couple of weeks, the children in Grade 2 have been inquiring into a topic related to health that they are personally interested in. They began their inquiry by documenting what they already know about their topic. Then they wrote down questions and wonderings about their topic as well as where they will look to find answers and what materials or tools they might need along the way.

The children’s topics range from learning about lice to organizing a healthy picnic to studying viruses and looking deeper into germs. After researching on the Internet, in books, on youtube, interviewing experts and watching some Brainpop Junior videos, many of the children have devised more questions that have popped up during their research.

Here are some examples…

What is RNA?
What is DNA?
How do you catch viruses?
How long can viruses live outside?
Why is my heart rate slower than my friend’s?
Why do we need food?
How does the heart actually beat and move?
How fast does the heart go?
Could somehow salt be in plants?
Why are vegetables healthy for you?
What else can we do at the Healthy Picnic that includes eating?
Why when I eat lots of sugar why it make cavity?
I wonder why blood is moving?
Why is some time junk food bad?
What is the life cycle of a louse?
I wonder how the digestive system works and why the digestive system is yucky.
Why lices lay eggs in the hair?
How can I clean neatly and no germs anymore?

Every few sessions the children reflect on what they have done so far by thinking about the following:

As the children work through the inquiry cycle, they are devising new questions, thinking about their thinking, looking for and conducting experiments to collect data, asking experts (i.e. nurse, teacher, kitchen staff) for advice and help, taking notes, drawing diagrams, making observations, taking photos to document their progress, reflecting and more.

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.

Interesting things that the children have learned through their inquiry:

Lice don’t jump.
When you eat food tiny bits of food get stuck in your teeth.
You should floss your teeth.
I didn’t know that all types of fruits are good.
Lice have six legs and claws and 2 eyes.
They suck blood.
Lice can’t fly.
I learned that the lices eggs are yellow or white.
Cutting your hair won’t get rid of lice.
I learned from Kei. She said you can see a video about food groups in Brainpop.

Looking for Information to Our Support Inquiries

We are inquiring into how different sources of information help people make healthy choices. This week, the students practiced gathering information from experts, parent surveys, and recipes, as well as collecting their own data to help them make informed choices that affect their health and the way they feel.

Our visit from the dental experts was an opportunity for students to learn more about how we care for our teeth. We learned from the dentists that not only is brushing and flossing our teeth important for good oral hygiene, but that what we eat and drink also has an effect on our teeth and gums.

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.

Here is a little bit about what the children learned.

“I didn’t know that you have to press into the gums a little bit, when I floss my teeth. Once I did it and then blood was coming out and I thought that isn”t how you floss.

The children were part of a little experiment.

“Cup A looked good, but it was bad. Cup B looked bad but it was better than A.”

Why was cup A better?

“Because the magic powder was lemon it tastes like CC Lemon. Sugar was a lot but the lemon powder was more stronger and it changed the taste.”

“We should only be eating four packets of sugar a day.”

We visited the ICJC to learn about the importance of nutrition and exercise with Miss Shirley. In preparation for our visit with the nutritionist, we have been reading about vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and we are learning to look at nutrition labels to help us understand what nutrients are in the different foods that we eat. Miss Shirley told us about different nutrients, like calcium, that aid in our linear growth. We learned that calcium can be found in milk, cheese, konbu, hijiki, and nori. We also did some burpees. Miss Shirley says that this is a great weight-bearing exercise for children to strengthen their bones and muscles.

After our visit with Miss Shirley, we decided to create our own healthy pasta recipe. We are going to be sure to include vegetables that have calcium as well as other vitamins and minerals.

We shared our present knowledge about what a recipe looks like and built off of each other’s knowledge. Then we shared the information we gained from each other as a class. We decided that the first thing we would do was to create a list of ingredients.

This is what we have so far…

red peppers
chile pepper
olive oil

For Math, the children had the opportunity to estimate and find the actual weight of some of the foods on the list. This gave them some information about how much of each ingredient we might want to use and what that will look like. We also looked at recipes with similar ingredients to what we had chosen.

Click on the photo below to see more pictures in Flickr.

For this week’s Home Learning, the children interviewed their parents to gather information about health. After all, their parents are experts about taking care of them and ensuring that they have a healthy lifestyle. On Friday, the children shared the information that they collected from their parents.

Afterwards, they were asked, “What did you notice about the answers to your questions, when you shared them with your classmates?”

“Some of the answers were different.”
“The parents didn’t think the same thing.”

“Why do you think this happened?”

“Because everyone’s parents are different.”
“Your mom and dad come from different places…like countries.”

“Were their answers similar?”


“Can you give me an example?”

“Most parents said that second graders should sleep 11 hours…but some said 10 or 8 or 9 or 12.”

Here is another example about how experts have different perspectives.
The children asked their parents, “Why do we need to sleep?”

Here are the parents answers. (The children recorded the answers in note form.)

-Rest and grow
-To help the body recover and to have energy
-Help our body grow and our brains work better
-Grow and repair
-Get ready for tomorrow to work hard
-Grow and get energy
-To rest your brain
-To relax
-To rest to improve memory and to restore energy

What did our high school visitor’s tell us about how sleep helps us?

-Help us grow
-Gives us energy

This led us to a discussion of how experts can help us gain information for our unit inquiries.

“We could go to the nurse to see how fast or slow our hearts are beating.”

“I could go to the science lab to learn about salt and sugar to learn from the teachers.”

“We can go to the canteen, and we could say what recipes are really healthy?

“If I want an answer for how many different types of lice there are, I could ask the nurse?”

Meditation and Well-being

On Thursday this week, the children went to the Loft to learn about meditation as part of our unit relating to “Lifestyle choices that people make can affect their health.” We have been talking about balance, making good choices and also the many different ways we can relax, so we can improve our emotional well-being.

Miss Ethel was our teacher for the session. She brought flowers for harmony and candles for calm, and the room was dimly lit and quiet. She taught the children several different ways to meditate.

Miss Ethel asked, “Why do we meditate?”
The children replied…
“To relax…to have peace…to rest…to calm down”

Miss Ethel explained that we do meditation to help all different parts of our life…to have better communication, to be happy, to concentrate and more.
First, the Miss Ethel asked the children to sit with their eyes closed. As they sat in quiet, she asked them to say the following sentences in their heads:
I am a lovely person.
I am a beautiful person.
I love myself exactly as I am.

Then Miss Ethel told the children to think to themselves.
My toes are smiling.
My ankles are smiling.
My knees are smiling.
My eyes are smiling.
My hair is smiling.
My forehead is smiling.

She said that this is a helpful five minute meditation exercise to use anytime someone says something hurtful to you.

Second, Miss Ethel taught us Balloon Meditation. She asked the children to close their eyes again and breathe in and out through their nose. As they breathed in, she asked them to imagine that their stomach was a balloon, and they were filling it with air. As they breathed out, she asked them to imagine that the balloon had a hole in it, and the air was leaking out, releasing their stress and worries.

For the next short meditation exercise, the children closed their eyes and slowly touched their thumbs to each of their fingers one at a time beginning with their index finger. As they did this, they repeated, “Peace begins with me.”

Miss Ethel asked the children the following questions:

What do you hear? “I hear music next door…wind…”
What do you feel? “Sleepy…happy…relaxed…”
What do you see? “I saw someone at the sea at sunset…”

The student’s last meditation exercise, involved them standing in the sun outdoors with their hands open and facing forward and their arms at their sides.

2C meditation

The next day, we decided to try some more meditation in class, including meditating while listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.

Later we reflected on these new meditation experiences.
“I felt relaxed and really sleepy.”
“Just in my mind I saw a circle full of patterns that were moving.”
“I felt peace inside me.”
“I felt like I was inside a bath.”
“I was sitting on a lawn chair that was blue and white striped, and I saw water that was really shiny
because the sun.”
“I feel relaxed. Relaxed feels like calm.”
“I felt calm because you are not really moving around and being crazy.”
“It was just dark with a little red.”
“I saw black and four circles that are blue.”
“I saw lots of flowers. There were lots of colors. They were not the same colors.”
“I saw yellow and red patches everywhere.”
“I saw that I was a jellyfish moving through the ocean.”
“I feel like I was a dolphin in the water jumping up and down and following a boat.”
“I saw that I was surfing on the water.”
“I saw that I was sleeping in beautiful waves, and I was listening to the rhythm of the ocean.”
“I heard the sound of the sea.”

Haru Ga Kita

On Friday afternoon, 2C will be visiting the senior home. We have decided to sing “Haru Ga Kita”, which is a very simple Japanese song about spring. To learn the song, listen to the video below to practice the melody. The song is written in Kanji and Hirigana on the video, and the Romaji lyrics are below the video. I think the seniors will love to hear you sing the song!

Haru Ga Kita

Haru ga kita
Haru ga kita
Doko ni kita

Yama ni kita
Sato ni kita
Noni mo kita

Hana ga saku
Hana ga saku
Doko ni saku

Yama ni saku
Sato ni saku
No ni mo saku

Tori ga naku
Tori ga naku
Doko de naku

Yama de naku
Sato de naku
No de mo naku

Haru ga kita
Haru ga kita
Doko ni kita

Yama ni kita
Sato ni kita
No ni mo kita

Microbiologists in the Making 2017

This week, we visited the High School Science Lab, to observe the germs we collected and see how they had grown. Mr. Lorimer and the lab assistant, Harumi-san, have been helping us all along the way in our investigation. Our Petri dishes are kept in their lab, and they let us know that the germs had grown. Many of the Petrie dishes had more than one colony of germs growing in them, and a couple had nothing.

2C germ observation

Prior to collecting and observing the germs, the children drew pictures of what they thought germs looked like.

We were excited to see so much growth and keen to draw and photograph what we saw as well as take notes and look at our germs through the microscope. It was interesting to note the different types of germs growing on different surfaces at school and which surfaces had more germs than others.

We learned that individual germs (bacteria, molds, viruses) cannot be seen with the naked eye. What we see in the Petrie dishes, even using the microscope, are actually colonies (thousands of tiny bacteria and mold) all in a group multiplying again and again. None of the colonies are viruses, as viruses need living tissue to grow and thrive. During our observations, the children noticed that the germ colonies were different colors (i.e. pink, skin color, grey, yellow), shapes (i.e. round, like a finger print, blobs, like a cat’s head), and textures (i.e. smooth, shiny, hairy, furry).

Afterwards, the students reflected aloud:

“It was so tiny.”
“It was multiplying because I saw two round germs that was connected. First, the bigger germ was going to make a baby.”
“I thought the germs were gigantic.”
“At first, I thought that germs were only purple and green, but then I noticed that they were all sorts of colors. Actually, none of the germs were purple and green.”
“I saw a teeny tiny bubble inside them.”
“My germs were a skin color.”
“My germs were orange and white.”

Here are some of our wonderings… It is important to note that some of these wonderings happened as we were walking to the lab.

“I wonder if these germs are good germs.”
“Do they have eyes?”
“Can germs hear?”
“I wonder if they can walk.”
“I wonder why there is lots of colors of germs.”

Here are some of our predictions for next week’s germ observation:

“I think the germs will get bigger.”
“I predict the germs are going to get bigger and maybe split.”
“I predict germs will be bigger and bigger and bigger.”
“They are going to grow.”
“I predict that they are going to get bigger and change colors.”
“I predict that its going to be huge and theirs going to be more germs.”