Student Flipbooks Illustrate Newton’s Laws of Motion

Newton’s Laws of Motion

We stepped into sixth grade recently to find them learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion.

But it wasn’t just any science class. The Kitsune created flipbooks to illustrate their understanding of these universal laws.

The first law of motion is that an object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Kitsune teacher, Jenny, created these incredible posters that illustrated Newton’s laws.

 

Newton’s Second Law of Motion

The second law of motion is that Force (f) = mass (m) x acceleration (a).

 

Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion

The third law of motion is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Science and Rollercoasters

A day earlier, students created a marble roller coaster. They were applying the principles of what they had learned about energy and the laws of motion, specifically, Newton’s 2nd law. Their challenge was to build a roller coaster that would allow the speed of a marble to speed up or slow down using inclines, different materials or textures, and the like.

Persistence of Vision

Before diving into flipbooks, the Kitsune recently spent part of their morning talking about the “persistence of vision” in which students brainstormed some concepts about what this was. Persistence of vision, as it relates to animation and film, includes three main ideas:

  1. optical illusion
  2. the human eye can process 10-12 images per second
  3. the faster the images go, the more they seem to be in motion

That is, the human eye effectively “retains” an image up to a fifteenth of a second. If you “speed up” looking at different images, they will appear to move due to this phenomenon.

To illustrate this, Jenny, had students create and imagine a few drawings of what “running” would look like.

 

They had a chance to see different examples of flipbooks.

 

After they got all inspired, Jenny showed them what a story board looked like.

Their objective: create a 30-page flip book that illustrates the principles of Newton’s Laws of Motion.

Students would also need to write a paragraph explaining the action that happens their flip book, as well as how the action illustrated Newton’s laws of motion.

We’ll update here when we see the final flipbook creations students have created.

All in a day’s work

So many things…all in a day’s work

Sacred geometry, science experiments, and literacy – all in a day’s work. Maybe not even a day’s work, but in the span of an hour and a half, students experienced some incredible learning.

Language Arts

It was mid-morning, and students were well-immersed in their classes.

Teachers create units that complement each other. Today’s activity included vocabulary words that would come up in  science class later in the morning. Students were likely not familiar with them.

all in a day's work

Susan, their teacher, had them study the list of words for two minutes. We love that some kiddos wanted to know why they needed to study and memorize them. Susan had them “sit tight” because they would find out in a few minutes.

At the end of the two minutes, students turned their papers over and had one minute to write down the words they remembered. Afterward, some folks remembered 2, 3, or 5 words, and one student had 15!

Learning strategies

Some students had words from an “A” list, or from a “B” list. The words on each list had different characteristics. Some words were bold, some were in alphabetical order, and more.

Students discussed their strategies for memorization. One student said he memorized words in groups. Another said she put a description with each word. Others mentioned eliminating words that were too long, repeating different words over and over, and some tried writing them down.

all in a day's work

Learning objective

The idea here was that It’s important to try different learning strategies. By doing so, students can figure out what works best for them, and what doesn’t. By sharing ideas, everyone could learn a strategy that maybe they hadn’t tried previously.

Learning games

Next came cutouts of the vocabulary words. Students split into groups of 3 (with 8 vocabulary words each) or 4 (with 6 vocabulary words each) to collaborate and separate their vocabulary into categories. They were allowed to discuss and work together to do so. Susan instructed them not to worry about words they didn’t know, but to work together to see if someone else knew the meaning. If not, they could use deductive reasoning to separate them out.

What a way to learn vocabulary. Students had some fun and challenging approaches to learning new words. They will then relate them back to their science learning, as well as tie their different classes together to touch on the different domains. The lessons on this day emphasized the mental and creative domains.

Art History

Across the hall, another Omega class studied art history and math. It wasn’t just another garden-variety middle school class, however. Their teacher, Mark, was incorporating elements of sacred geometry.

Sacred geometry is an area of intense interest for Mark. In fact, he’s publishing a book on the subject soon.

While in his class, students studied Renaissance paintings and works by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Verocchio, and others.

all in a day's work

Da Vinci and math

While listening to Mark’s lecture, students were quite riveted with the presentation. Mark mentioned how Da Vinci was a great artist, AND used mathematics heavily in his work.

Incredibly, perspective and sacred geometry came into play. The proportions of the human body, for example, represent universal sacred geometry parameters. Da Vinci’s paintings include so much symbolism as well as “hidden” geometry, especially in his human subjects.

For example, one might be able to find evidence of the sacred spiral or even phi ratios in different Da Vinci paintings.

all in a day's work

 

Students had a chance to try their hand at creating their own works of sacred geometry. They used a compass and ruler and made their own golden rectangles, along with sacred spirals.

They also saw examples of how those patterns show in up nature on the most minute scale (such as with tiny seashells) all the way up to a universal scale, such as with spiral galaxies.

 

all in a day's work

The “Eggs-periment”

Back in the science classroom, the Omega group that had become vocabulary masters began delving into their new science unit.all in a day's work

They began an investigation involving the standard egg. They chose to either do an “egg-speriment” or “what about other eggs” for their research.

The eggs-periment involved observing changes in an egg and recording those observations. The latter assignment gave students the opportunity to study an egg-laying creature to investigate.

Both projects required entries into student science journals, presentations, making models, and writing effective science reports.

all in a day's work

Omegans have a rich curriculum

All these interesting subjects, all by the noontime hour! We can only imagine what happened after lunch. All in a day’s work.

Opening the Heart

Opening the Heart

Opening the Heart – Reflection and Centering

At a recent admin meeting, Cynthia shared a centering designed to bring awareness to, and open the heart. Renee asked her to share it on the Director’s Blog for others to enjoy, as well.

Point to yourself

Take a moment to close your eyes and relax into the rhythm of your breath. When you feel more relaxed, go ahead and point to yourself.

Notice where you are pointing. Chances are, you’re pointing toward your heart, or somewhere near your heart chakra.

This is on purpose. We humans point to the heart because we intuitively know our truest selves are not the brain, but the heart. The heart serves as a secondary brain and even has its own magnetic field.opening the heart

What we do with the heart

We do a lot with the heart. We have heart-to-heart conversations. When we’re happy, our heart swells. When we’re sad, we’re heartbroken.

In the presence of beauty, we say we’re heartened. When we like someone, we say that they have a kind heart. A trustworthy, well-meaning person has a heart of gold. Conversely, a cold, unforgiving person has a heart of stone. When we feel bad for someone, we say, “bless their heart.” When we experience surprise, our heart skips a beat.

When we see someone’s heartfelt actions, we know it’s them expressing their truth. Furthermore, we send heart emojis when we mean to send loving thoughts.

Some of us wear our hearts on our sleeve.

Caring for our “heart self”

Our culture values the relentless pursuit of knowledge. We feed the mind. We feed the brain. We spend decades educating ourselves. But how often do we remember to feed the heart? How often do we remember to care for our heart self?

When we focus on the heart, our communications improve. Our relationships flourish. Still, our hope for the world turns rosier, as if we put on rose-colored glasses.

Pink and green

The color pink is the representation of the heart and a symbol of romantic love. On the other hand, the heart chakra is green. It’s the opposite of rose. Green is a color of expansion, growth, openness and unconditional love – love for self and love for others. The heart chakra sits in the center of the chest, not at the heart as many believe.

As a centering, we can do a little care for the heart – the heart itself, and the heart chakra.

opening the heart

A heart-centered breath

This is a practice that you can do at any time: while going about your day, while meditating, while exercising, or wherever.

Sit with your feet flat on the floor, or in a comfortable position. Hands can rest on your lap.

Relax your body. You can keep your eyes open, capped (open half-way) or closed.

Bring your attention to the breath as you breathe through the nose. Feel the cooler air as you inhale, and warmer air as you exhale. Don’t control or regulate your breath. Just observe.

Focus your attention…

Now bring your gentle attention to the rise and fall of the chest. Gently move your attention to the heart. Visualize your breath moving in and out of your heart space, filling it with soft green light and exhaling that same green light into the air around you.

Move into silence for three or four breaths, with each inhale and exhale taking in the easy green light and filling your heart space. Your exhale fills the air with this same light.

If you notice your thoughts wandering, just bring them back to the heart, and the light. Be kind to yourself.

After a few moments, bring your attention back to the breath. When you’re ready, open your eyes if you had them closed or capped.

Solar Power On Our Campus!

Solar Power On Our Campus!

Rainbow Has Solar Power

Have you seen what’s over on the roof of the auditorium? Getting solar power was one of those far-off dreams until…it became reality!

solar power and solar panels

In 2017, an anonymous donor awarded Rainbow the funds to get solar panels installed. These are located on the east side of the auditorium. This donation will help to reduce the school’s reliance on fossil fuels.

In fact, the installation of these solar panels will provide a benefit of 60+ years. The bulk of Rainbow’s utility bills go toward the auditorium. It’s a big space. Heating and cooling can get expensive.

There’s also the environment to consider. Rainbow will reduce its carbon footprint by huge margins. The solar panels help to reduce the school’s utility expenses while helping the planet. In about 30 years, the panel efficiency will go down some, but will still yield significant energy savings.

Interconnection

Over the course of the process, one of our Rainbow parents had been in touch with representatives from Duke and other organizations to get the interconnections turned on. “Interconnection” means how a “distributed generation system, such as solar photovoltaics (PVs), can connect to the grid.” (Source)

A local solar installation company, Sugar Hollow, installed the solar panels late in 2017. The school had to wait until 2018 to turn on the interconnection. This was due to a rebate from Duke Energy, which also helped with significant savings for the school.

When Sugar Hollow installed the solar panels, they felt really connected to the school and what it stands for. Sugar Hollow is a living wage certified company and their philosophy parallels Rainbow’s mission:

At Sugar Hollow Solar, we care deeply about moving our society towards a more sustainable future – not just in the environmental sense but in how it relates to overall quality of life, now.

The panels they used for installation were manufactured in the US, as well. As a company, they work hard to source everything here in the US.

installing solar panels for solar power

The Sugar Hollow team installing solar panels on top of the auditorium.

Because this was the first year that Rainbow started the interconnection process, it took awhile to get the power systems connected, approved and ready to go. When it came time to “flip the switch,” the whole school community was so thrilled and the anticipation was palpable. Rainbow elected to have a school-wide celebration to commemorate the event.

song circle celebration

Students gathered at the auditorium to view the solar panels and have a “solar song circle” – it was RCS’ first song circle of the year.

Sugar Hollow also joined us for that celebration. Now, students will be able to tell exactly what the solar panels are doing moment by moment that demonstrate power output and usage. Check out the Solar Power Resources  section on our website. It has the link to the energy performance of the solar panels.

Since the founding of Sugar Hollow, they have surpassed 1.5 gigawatts hours of energy generation – from the sun! That’s like planting 28,931 trees!! We have so much gratitude for these folks and the work they do!

solar panels at rainbow

Repurpose and Reimagine

Repurpose and Reimagine

Freedom and Creativity

Summer is a time when folks often invite freedom and creativity back into their busy lives. Maybe they pick up a project that has taken a back seat, take a workshop, or reconnect with a lost skill, art or craft. Maybe they learn, read, or try something new. Summer is a great time to nurture the young inventor in each child.

The long days of the season allow more time to drop into open-ended, free and constructivist play. Making time for STEM concepts, for inventing and engineering can tap into imaginations, foster creativity and enhance problem-solving capacities. You can try offering this space to them by spending some time exploring, asking questions, creating and building. Allow for simple invention and engineering projects by providing tools and materials such as items found in a junk drawer, recyclables, or simple office supplies.

Once you have ignited their passion for inventing, try stretching their thinking with various books.

What do you do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada

This is a great book a child’s brilliant idea to bring it to the world. After reading, you can begin by asking what an animal needs to survive. Then you might ask what more the animals need to grow and thrive. Continue the discussion by likening animal growth to “idea growth.” State that our ideas can grow, thrive, survive, and evolve by nurturing them. Follow up with a discussion about the author’s message: stick with your idea, follow it through, persevere and your idea could change the world.

Not a Box

Next time you read with your child, you can try reading Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. This is a fabulous book about a rabbit with a very BIG imagination. After completing the book, you can discuss with your child how imagination and creativity are magical elements of who they are. Talking about different perspectives allows children to see that showing and sharing are part of what makes them unique and special.

Next, lay out a box of recyclables or knickknacks and let your child choose one or more items to repurpose. Ask your child to reimagine how this ordinary object can become extraordinary. Encourage them to use their artistic skills to reimagine it by creating something new. You may also want to extend their learning by inviting them to use the materials and resources to create a 3-D representation of their new invention. Once they have finished, it’s always quite powerful to spend time reflecting about it together.

Implications of Your Work

Children appreciate “thinking outside of the box.” They thrive off of creation and love to deep dive into their own imaginations. They approach STEM activities, such as this one, in the most authentic way when they know that their learning environment is supportive and safe. Children are most creative when the learning environment highlights many perspectives, emphasizes process over product, and failure as opportunity.

Know Thyself

Know Thyself

Rites of passage are important, sacred ceremonies that highlight a transitional period in a person’s life.

In many cultures, tribes and soceities around the world, children engage in various rites of passage. Often these are times when a child is recognized for passing though the threshold toward adulthood. Graduation at Rainbow Community School serves as an integral rite of passage for our graduating Omega Middle Schoolers.

Preparation for this rite officially begins as they join the Omega program. Subtle and more obvious practices support each Omegan’s readiness. For example, each day that middle schoolers pass through a physical threshold. As enter the building, they pass under a wooden panel inscribed with “Know Thyself.” Additionally, their arrival is also marked with a sacred time called Centering; this time is used for grounding, centering, pondering life’s big questions. Lessons, activities and learning experiences throughout the day not only foster a culture of connectedness but support the work of nurturing the child to individuate- to

Know Thyself.

These opportunities, although grounded in the safety of community, encourage personal identity development, person spirituality and ultimately- wholeness. According to decades of research by Dr. Lisa Miller, head of clinical psychology at Columbia’s Teachers College, teens who have the benefit of developing a personal spirituality are 80% less likely to suffer from ongoing and recurring depression and 60% less likely to become substance abusers. To that end, it is reasonable to suggest that spirituality is indeed the cornerstone for mental health and human well-being. Intentional rites of passage are but one way to nourish that health.

To KNOW THYSELF is to answer these questions:
Who am I?
Who are you?
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?

Graduating Omegans write commencement speeches that reflect on their time at Rainbow and acknowledge their gratitude, growth, challenges, hopes and dreams. Each student, as part of the rite, share these speeches publicly. This public sharing is an amazingly brave yet vulnerable challenge.

But more importantly, the words of wisdom spoken by these young adults are nothing less than profound.

They are informed by years of social, emotional and spiritual engagement and learning. They are guided by opportunities to explore life’s big mysteries and ponder personal purpose. They are rooted in a a collective AND personal identity.

If you are curious what happens when soul is invited into the classroom, please click here to listen to Noah Mraz’s graduation speech.

Please also consider:

  • What are the implications of integrating rites of passage, existential questioning and the spiritual domain into your own work with children?
  • What are you already doing that serves the spiritual development of your students? What more can you do?