We will be starting 2nd grade Insights a few weeks into the school year. First, all the second grade students will have their reading skills assessed and then the second grade teachers need to have some time to become more familiar with their students' academic strengths.

April 13,

We have finished our problem solving unit. Now we need to learn how to program Ozobots! It will be a good challenge for us.

I am so pleased by the performers in the play. They are such brave actors to perform in front of 100 friends and family members. They do so well at sharing their lines and remembering where they need to be and where the microphone needs to be. I took a CAST photo and will be distributing one to each performer. I am so proud of them all.

We will be performing the play which we wrote in early March.
The dates are: March 6 and March 9. for the Clever Gazelles.
For The 3 Bees and the Big, Bad Bear, the performances are March 3 and March 7.

All performances start at 8:45 in the elementary school lunchroom. Visitors need to sign in at the elementary office. Please refrain from signing in before 8:30. The office is very busy during at the beginning of the school day. We are looking forward to seeing our friends and families at our shows.

Nov. 7,
We are looking about adaptations of birds. We have have a chance to find out why some birds have very different feet than other types of birds. We will each be creating a powerpoint to share what we have learned. This will take a few weeks but it will be worth the wait.

We have been working on math problem solving with stories from Bedtime Math. It is a great and free website.
We have received our letters from our penpals and will be writing back to them. Our pen pal school is in Virginia, not too far from Washington, DC. They live in a large suburb. 60 school buildings!

We have been working on our designing our pinball games. We have learned a lot about controlling the movement of the ball by where we place bumpers and cups on the playing field. This connects with some of our 2nd grade Iowa Core Science requirements.

April 20
The play went great! I am so proud of the kids. Monday is our next and last show! I will be giving the performers a CAST photo on Tuesday

March 25

2nd grade play performance dates are April 8 and April 11. We will be performing from 8:40-9:00 in the elementary school lunchroom.
Please help your child memorize his/her lines and know when it is his/her turn to talk in the play.

Costumes are a chance for your second grader to show his/her imagination. Wearing simple comfortable clothes works out well. Here are some ideas. Pinterest and other websites have many more.
Narrators can wear nice clothes since they start and end the play.
Moldy Locks wears typical clothes for a second grader.
Wolves are encouraged to wear clothes that are black or grey in color. Sweatshirts and sweatpants work great.
Pigs are encouraged to wear clothes that are pink, black, or white in color. Sweatshirts and sweatpants work great.
Pig’s friends can be an animal of the child’s choice. A costume would be clothes of the color of the animal.
Police officers probably want to wear dark colored clothes such as blue or black. They may make a badge or bring toy handcuffs. Guns or items that look like guns are not permitted.

Here is a copy of the script.

Feb. 1
We have finished our study of bird adaptations. I think exploring the owl pellets, which is something owl spit up, was so interesting. There were so many little bones to see.
We thank Iowa STEM for providing all the wonderful materials for us to learn with.
Now we are starting a writing unit. We are going to write our version of The 3 Little Pigs. There are 14 students in our class so our version will have 14 characters.
Eventually we will perform our play for family, friends, and classmates two mornings. More information will be sent home once our play is written.

Jan. 19
We are studying bird adaptations. As part of our studies, we dissected owl pellets. Owls spit up the parts of animals they can't eat such as fur and bones. The owl pellets we used were heated and sanitized before they were sent to us.
See what we saw.


An owl pellet. i put it on a scotch tape dispenser to help show the size of the pellet. There are many, many small bones inside.

Dec. 29
We are learning about birds. We are learning about their adaptations through hands on experiments.
During one of our last days of school, State Senator Rita Hart came to our class. She was at Camanche Elementary to visit my Lego Leaguers and Jr. Lego Leaguers. They shared their composting and recycling research with her since she is working on revising Iowa's Bottle bill. The second graders have class between my third and fourth graders so State Senator Hart watched the students in their STEM work and visited with them about what a State Senator does. The students were generally good audience members.
2nd graders.jpg

Nov. 28
We are working on logic elimination grids. The students solved ones that were created by professionals and then, even more fun, the students created their own for others to solve.

Oct. 20
We are finishing our seeds unit. We learned why seeds travel away from the parent tree and the common ways seeds travel. It was fun to see the variety of seeds the students brought in for us to guess. Thank you for your help in that matter.

Oct. 2

We are done with our pinball unit. We designed some great pinball boards and tested them out. Some were better designed games than others.
Now we are learning about seeds and how they travel along with why they travel. I am encouraging students to bring seeds to school so we can examine them with our digital microscope.

The microscope connects to my computer and projects what is on the school to my smartboard so we can all see the seed at the same time. Learning how to focus a microscope is rather tricky. Using a digital microscope avoids that situation. The students can pay attention to what they need to see instead of trying to work the microscope correctly.

August 24, 2015
Please feel free to see the projects created by some of last year's second graders. We will be creating some lovely projects this year also. We may have a different topic, though.

Our first unit involves making pinball machines. We will be following the engineering design process of: setting goals, building knowledge, designing something to solve the problem, building a prototype, testing the prototype, and revising to better meet the performance criteria.



April, 2015

Here's the powerpoints we have been working on. The students had to research the information from an online encyclopedia to answer specific questions about their country. Then we learned how to create a powerpoint and import pictures. Now you can see the results.

South Korea
Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic
United Kingdom

Feb. 26, 2015




Jan. 20
Some photos of what the children created. They had 3 challenges where they had to build something. They needed to build an invention to rescue a lego person out of a well. The students could incorporate 2 gears in a simple machine. The students could use 2 simple machines to build a complex machine. When they have met all 3 challenges, they can start the advanced challenge. In the final challenge, the students write a story incorporating all 6 simple machines. Then the author needs to build all six machines and tell us the story.

Dec. 1

Here's our inclined planes. We had to get something from the desk/table level up to the top of the books using an inclined plane. The groups
planned, tested, and revised. The kids did well.

Nov. 26
Exciting news for our class! I was awarded a grant from Toshiba so I could purchase some more motors and materials for this very unit! So if you know anyone who works at Toshiba please tell them thank you!!
Here is a portion of the grant application where I explain what we are going to do and how it fits in with the Iowa Core requirements.

It is always nice when a corporation or business awards my program money or materials so I can provide even more enriching and challenging opportunities to my students. The school district doesn't have the funds to purchase many of the items I use in my units. My allotted $75 for classroom supplies wouldn't even pay for one grade's materials and I teach 5 grades in Insights.

Nov. 22
A fun website for this unit is
We are studying the 6 simple machines such as levers, pulleys, etc. We will learn about them and construct them from the many legos I have in my classroom.

Aug. 28, 2014

We are exploring engineering principals. The students are trying to design a pinball game where the players can earn scores within a limited range of points. On this day we were trying to figure out how to make the ball go to our sticky notes.

100_2860 3.JPG


transpiration website regarding plants giving off water

Here are the space items power points created by the students. I was very pleased with their work. The power points play best on Chrome.

When students completed the planet powerpoint, they could choose a country to research and create a country powerpoint.

Now we are using technology to research the other planets in our solar system. We will be gathering information from books and websites. Then we will be preparing a powerpoint which can be posted on this site. username: 0936cames pass: mbaea9


A fun website for this unit is