Space, Native Americans, and Teen Safety

by Natalie Jackson
Our first Deep Dive of the year saw 4th graders invent products to make astronauts' lives easier in space, while 2nd graders embraced Native American lore, and 6th grade tackled teen safety.
4th grade’s Deep Dive was truly out of this world! Students have been working on their space unit for several weeks now with the fourth grade teachers and the Specialists. We have been sending astronauts to space since the first successful rocket launch in 1961. As the years went by humans began spending more time in space for longer explorations; these longer explorations began creating several everyday challenges for the humans aboard.

Ms. Cristina Knodel, our Computer Science & Technology Integration Specialist, and Ms. Deb Landon, our Science Specialist, teamed up to form the perfect "NASA" duo working together -- they led 4th grade’s Deep Dive in Makerspace. Ms. Landon and Ms. Knodel posed the following challenge to our students: 
Identify a physical, mental, or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration within our Sun’s solar system and propose a solution.

Students worked in teams to identify a problem and create a working solution to that problem. They were also able to choose how they wanted to solve the problem by picking a "station" that allowed them to work with tools about which they were passionate (sewing, 3D printing, video production, cardboard design, or robotics). 
The students created games, places for astronauts to hold their art supplies in space, a bracelet that recorded messages, and so much more. Makerspace allows students to use Design Thinking, which is a non-linear process using a cognitive and empathetic approach to problem solving, to be creative and come up with solutions to real world problems. 4th grade will finish their unit on space exploration at the end of October when they will be building and launching bottle rockets on the field! 

Second Grade Deep Dive into Native American Tales
Do you want know what a Native American “Trickster” does? Ask a JCDS second grader! Second grade Deep Dive is all about Native American “Trickster” Tales. Throughout these stories students have learned about elements of tradition and how certain aspects of Native American culture came to be.

With the Literacy and Library Specialist, Ms. Jen Currie, second grade students broke down the literary elements of the book Traditional Stories of the Northwest Coast Nations. 
Students then worked with Ms. Currie and their classmates to create a "story mountain" to plan the parts of the story which included: setting, character, problem(s), climax, problem solved, and lesson(s) learned. Following this process, students can better visualize the steps that go into creating the plot of a story; helping them in the next portion of the Literacy Deep Dive, writing their own trickster-inspired tale.

As the students undertook the writing process, they took the themes and concepts learned from the Native American stories they read and applied those to their group story and they were able to come up with something great! 

Leading up to this Deep Dive, second grade completed a unit on Native Americans in Global studies. 
“We have learned all the tribes in the United States and what location they are in. We learned about traditions and customs that are tribe specific. For example, the Northwest tribes, the Chinook, lived in long-houses, did a lot of fishing and hunting, and they told stories by creating totem poles” said JCDS second grade teacher, Ms. Beth Roberts.
Of course you can’t learn about totem poles and not create one yourself! To complete their unit, second graders colored totem pole print outs, made a 3D totem pole, and designed their own using various animal designs! 

6th Graders Deep Dive into Teen Safety
Sixth graders spent their Deep Dive week addressing what it means to be a responsible digital citizen with our School Counselor Ms. Liz McNairy who has been trained to facilitate this course from the Monique Burr Foundation for Children and Teen Safety Matters. This lesson emphasizes the importance of character development and social responsibility among students as they navigate the online world.

This course is taught in an environment intended to allow students to feel comfortable discussing questions about internet safety. They learned the rights and responsibilities of being a good digital citizen, which is someone who uses technology in a safe, responsible, and respectful way. Students were also taught how social awareness relates to digital safety and how to avoid digital risks from peers, themselves, and others. 
“It is important for us to discuss these situations and scenarios so that students can be prepared for their future. As children grow older they become more responsible for their time and actions, and we want them to be able to recognize and respond to potential digital dangers they may encounter and help them to, hopefully, avoid these” said Ms. McNairy.