Dry Ice, Printing Buddies & Function Machines

Hello, division 4 families!

I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend! Here are some highlights from our fun time together on Thursday.

The students finished their Math-Art challenge of designing a “Function Machine”. The creative invitation was for each student to design a one-step, two-step, three-step or four-step “input-output” table and then illustrate a silly machine that would perform the function rule. For example, in “The Number Cruncher 5000” above, when a number 80 is inputted, it gets divided by 10 to make 8. Then that 8 is added with 6 to output 14.

Students had fun noticing the patterns created in some of their tables too. Here are some wonderful examples of student work:


In Science, we are exploring states of matter (solid, liquid, gas). So it was a special treat for us to make predictions and ask question about dry ice, and then observe some live in class as an example of sublimation, which is when a solid turns directly into a gas (without becoming a liquid first).

Reviewing science lab safety rules, students understood that dry ice (a frozen, solid form of carbon dioxide) should only be used in a well-ventilated area because it sublimates into a gas our body expels when we breath out. Too much carbon dioxide in the air can cause humans to asphyxiate. How fortunate then for humans that carbon dioxide (or CO₂) is the main source of food for plants—plants turn carbon dioxide into sugars (carbohydrates) through the process of photosynthesis.

“Gas! Gas! Gas!”

As well, students learned they should not directly touch the dry ice because at -78.5 degrees Celsius, it could cause frostbite (or a cold “burn”). However, as students experienced for themselves, the “smoky”, “steamy” puffs of gas that came off of the dry ice when it was covered in warm water were fine to touch. The gas felt slightly cooler than room temperature. In fact, this was a great example of what fog! (See the photo and graphic below to extend learning…)

Thanks to the handful of science-loving Div. 4 students who stayed after school to help me melt the rest of the dry ice! It took longer than we predicted—but it was worth the time! My son (above) joined in too, and felt lucky to be doing something so fun surrounded by the cool, big kids.

Division 4 students also enjoyed more time with their kindergarten buddies on Thursday. They read stories aloud, drew pictures with them, and helped them learn to follow correct printing procedures. This printing skills review was important for the older students to reinforce proper technique to form beautifully legible letters.

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