All posts by Lower El Downstairs

The Magic of Music in May

Music is a vibrant, joyful thread that is woven through every aspect of our children’s lives. Throughout the month of May in Music class, we have focused on celebrating its universal beauty and value by recognizing and appreciating its richly varied facets.
For our young learners in Casa, rhythmic movement is a natural and resonant way to actively and physically engage in Music. We have particularly enjoyed practising walking carefully on a tightrope while listening to a steady beat, using both body and mind to keep our balance.
The shared appreciation of Music has also played a central role in our classes this month. In Casa, the children have enjoyed sharing songs with one another, with children performing with bravura in front of their classmates. Many of them shared songs that were familiar and/or funny, and it is always wonderful to observe the children respond so positively to their peers as they perform.
In Lower Elementary, we have likewise focused on appreciating Music, with the children sharing original songs and performances with their classmates. These opportunities for creative expression are especially important for the imaginative Elementary child, and we have had some innovative interpretations of songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” as well as the sharing of original songs with instrumental accompaniment! We have also reached back into history and learned to respond to and appreciate the work of classical composers such as Franz Joseph Haydn, by doing associative drawing as we listened to his music. 
Interactive, collaborative activities such as drum circles are particularly enjoyed by the budding young musicians in Upper Elementary. This month, we have really enjoyed playing “Call and Response” games with the Cuban conga drums. In the process of doing so, the students actively explored  various tones to draw out the best sound from these rhythmic instruments. 
It has been wonderful to explore the richness of Music in so many ways throughout the month of May, and all of the children are now excited to focus their energies on rehearsing for our end-of-year concert in June!

Get to the Point: Geography Fieldwork in MYP

Earlier this month, the Middle Years students tried their hand at Geography Fieldwork. Fieldwork is an important component of the subject, as it allows budding geographers to not only collect data and run tests, but to also engage with the world around them.

As we had just completed a unit about coastlines, we traveled to Starfish Point to observe the coast and what is being done to protect the coastline. We made sure to pack a directional compass, meter sticks, a mathematical compass, and cameras.

The first task for the budding geographers was determine if longshore drift was occurring at Starfish Point. Longshore drift is a process that can change shorelines and cause erosion. Waves and prevailing winds can draw sand away from beaches – something we don’t want to see at Starfish Point! As an experiment, we threw a bunch of corks into the water. The corks would act as giant granules of sand for us to observe. What we saw was that longshore drift does occur at Starfish Point; the corks were carried by the direction of the waves quickly along the shore line. This showed us that the waves pull sand back out with them, and repeat this process as the waves move down the coast. 

The second task the Grade 7s had to do was determine if the groynes (rigid structures built from an ocean shore that interrupts water flow and limits the movement of sediment) in place on the beach were stopping the longshore drift from eroding the beach away. Before the Fieldwork, Kai and Seane had predicted that if the groynes were doing their job, then there should be a build-up of sand along one side of the groynes. By taking measurements on both sides of the groynes, and the students’ prediction was correct! The results showed that, yes, there was a bigger build-up of sand on the north side of groynes, which means they were stopping the sand from being dragged back into the ocean.
The day was a success, and a great experience for the Middle Years students to see coastal processes at work, as well as test out some practical skills. Well done, Grade 7s!


Exploration and Inspiration at the S.T.E.M. Fair

This year, Montessori By The Sea will be hosting its very first S.T.E.M. fair!

The S.T.E.M. fair is focused cultivating and deepening the Elementary and Middle Years students’ interest in and zest for innovation and discovery, by sharing and showcasing their work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Enthused by the opportunity to display their work, the Upper Elementary East students have honed in on producing collaborative projects focusing on a diverse range of topics, including probability, food webs and biomes, and air experiments. These independently-researched and produced projects will be on display with pride on Wednesday, May 30th.

Thank you to Ms. Taylor, MYP teacher, for organizing the event and inspiring all the students.

If you are able to make the fair, it would provide a wonderful opportunity to interact with the students and learn about topics involving science, technology, engineering and math. We look forward to seeing you all at the fair, and to learning from the students as they share their knowledge.