Activities & Lesson Plans - 3rd & 4th Grade Newsletter 5/17/10 - Music For Kids

Grade: 3rd-4th

May 17, 2010 | Grades 3&4

In This Issue: Kids Rock, 2009 Baby Names, An Apple Tree in Space

KindiefestRock 'n' Roll the CradleMusic for kids is becoming a family affair. Musicians are writing and performing songs that both kids and parents can enjoy. They Might be Giants and Dan Zanes, of the Del Fuegos, are producing kindie rock. The genre is growing, and exciting new talent continues to crop up.  
Activity Ideas - Language Arts
Kindie rockers write catchy tunes about kids' interests and concerns, including bullying, being stuck in the outfield, and new haircuts.

  • A lot of songs are written as narratives. What is a narrative?  A narrative tells a story or shares an experience.
  • Decide what you want to write a song about. Do you have a funny anecdote that you'd like to share? 
  • Once you decide on your topic, be sure to include details, creative words and clever descriptions to make your narrative more interesting or entertaining.
  • Throughout the process, ask yourself "Will my fans be able to relate to my song?"
  • Think about what you'd like to accomplish with your song. Do you want to share an insight or simply make someone laugh? 
  • Review the lyrics you've written. You may want to revise your draft to get your point across.
Bonus: Select a tune for your song and perform it for your family or friends.
Learning Tips: Using Anecdotes, Details and Experiences

Big Baby Names
What's in a name? In 2009, vampires ruled the roost—think Twilight's Edward Cullen. Social Security recently released Most Popular Baby Names for 2009, with some old favorites at the top (Jacob has been up there for 11 years). The annual list typically reflects pop culture icons of the times; though usually they don't crack the top 10.

Activity Ideas - Math
Remind your child that names that move up the list are moving closer to No. 1. It may help to have a visual; write down the top 5 on the baby list or make up your own.  
  • If the name Edward moved up 11 spots to No. 137 on the list, what was its original ranking? No. 148.  137 + 11 = 148
  • Cullen rose to No. 485 on the list. The named jumped 297 spots, from what number? No. 782485 + 297 = 782
  • Miley slipped 61 spots to No. 189. What was Miley's number before the big drop? No. 128 189 - 61 = 128  
  • The name Alvin had the largest drop among boys, falling 133 spots to No. 570. From which number did Alvin fall?  No. 437570 - 133 = 437
  • More parents are naming their babies after President Obama. Barack moved up the list to No. 1,993. In 2007 it was No. 12,535. How many points did it jump from 2007 to 2009? 10,542 points12,535 - 1,993 = 10,542
  • Check your calculations for each problem to be sure that your answers are correct. We will do the first one for you: To confirm Edward's original ranking, subtract 11 (the number of spots that Edward moved) from your answer (No. 148). 
Learning Tips: Check Precise Calculations Using Context
Names Then and Now:  Wolfram|Alpha Name Directory

A Tree in Space
The apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to discover the laws of gravity is now hanging out in zero gravity. Astronaut Piers Sellers carried a sliver of wood from Newton's tree into space. The 4-inch piece is traveling on NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis, which launched on May 14 on what will be its final voyage.

Activity Ideas - Math & Science
Define gravity: the force that pulls on every object on the Earth.
  • Use a binder for this activity or a slanted surface.
  • Find two marbles of similar size. Position both at the top, holding them in place with a ruler. 
  • Lift the ruler so they both start rolling at the same time.
  • Write down what you observed. (i.e., the marbles traveled at about the same speed)
  • Now find two marbles of very different sizes. Ideally, one will be much larger and heavier.
  • Do you think one marble will travel faster than the other? Why?
  • Test your hypothesis. As before, place both marbles next to one another at the top of the binder's slope. Release them at the same time. 
  • Make note of which fell the fastest. Repeat this two more times to confirm your results.
  • Come up with a conclusion based on your results. 
Conclusion: Objects that weigh a lot fall at the same speed as objects that weigh just a little. Why?  The force of gravity pulls on heavy and light objects equally.
Bonus: How much would you weigh on the moon? Crunch the numbers

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