Crime Scene Investigation

We gasped when we saw the computer lab door covered in yellow caution tape! We wondered what was wrong. Our teacher told us that we will be using the forensic skills that we learned over the last two weeks to solve a crime which occurred in the computer lab.

One of the first skills we learned was to read fingerprints. Did you know that there are four types of fingerprints and no two are the same, like snowflakes? Arch, Loop, Whorl and Composite. We fingerprinted ourselves and analyzed the prints to determine the type.

Next, we practiced observation skills by examining items and identifying how they were the same or different. In groups we were assigned a physical quality, such as, pointy, green, or light-weight. Our assignment was to find and collect objects outside, with that particular attribute. Each group displayed their items. We rotated around to each groups’ objects and tried to identify the characteristic of each set of items. These activities help us become much more observant; a skill needed by forensic scientists.

Fifth grade students analyzing DNA.The crime: a quarter eaten ice cream sandwich. Who took the bite? Well, Mrs. Power’s class was on the job! We separated into groups. We knew the suspects were the 5th grade teachers and assistants. There were many stations of evidence to examine such as… lip prints, hair traces, fingerprints and handwriting samples. Each student had a choice of which area to embark on, but each student worked at all of the stations in the end. Every kid in the class had a sheet to fill out with who they thought the culprit was and the reasons. The evidence revealed that the culprit was … drum roll … Mrs. Angelus!

It was surprising to learn forensic scientists help solve cases which include theft, larson (fire), counterfeit, forgery, robbery and abduction. We had the opportunity to work with an individual who teaches Forensic Science. We spoke with Katie, a staff member at Lincoln Labs, who came to Chickering School to work with students in the science of forensics. Katie said that the average amount of crimes a scientist works on a month is about 2 to 3. The most enthralling assignments, according to Katie, were the ones involving abducted people or stolen items. “You see the person that you’re helping or saving,” said Katie.

She thinks the hardest crimes are the ones when you don’t have much evidence, when people are hiding the evidence or when the evidence is contaminated. It may even take years to find all the evidence. It is also frustrating when you don’t know the motive or why, even if you solve the crime. Katie said that being able to solve the puzzle is why people work night and day non-stop to find the solution. Katie hopes that at least one student will be inspired to be a forensic scientist or a C.S.I. agent.

We thought this science unit was fun, interesting and educational because we learned the scientific method by using it to solve a crime, even if it was a fake one.

Reported by Stephen and Marley

Reading Buddies

A 5th grade boy reads to a younger student.What are Reading Buddies? Good question! Reading Buddies is a program where the older classes meet up with either a kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade class. The younger kids are paired up with an older kid (or maybe two!) and they read together and play educational games each time they meet throughout the year. We alternate meeting in either the older kids’ or the younger kids’ classroom. Reading Buddies are fun for the students because they get to develop relationships outside of their classroom.

We will never forget the time, as kindergartners, we got our first reading buddies! We were doing our work when the teacher said “It looks like our buddies are here!”. We all turned our heads toward the door, and there they were, walking in the room with books in their hands. We were super excited to work with the older kids. We felt very special working with and learning from the 5th graders. It made us feel more mature to be working with the bigger kids; we felt bigger too.

We chatted with some 5th graders to see what their perspective was about Reading Buddies. What do you like about Reading Buddies? Calvin said, he likes to hang out with kindergartners and read to them. Getting to know kindergartners and making a new friend is what William likes. Addie likes watching the younger students learn to read. What’s fun about the program, to Mackenzie, is learning about what genres of books interest little kids.

We also wondered what their favorite books to read with a buddy are. Calvin enjoys reading fairy tales with his buddy. William replied, Are You My Mummy? a Halloween version of Are You My Mother? Reading whatever the kindergartners choose is Addie’s favorite. What Mackenzie loves to read isPiggy and Gerald  by Mo Willems.

We thought it would be interesting to ask what they would like to change about this program. Calvin would like to A kindergarten girl reads with her buddy.increase the amount of time we get to read with our buddies per year. William thought everything about this program is perfect, and there is nothing to change. It’s fun for everyone, and you should not change anything, is what Addie answered. From Mackenzie’s perspective, it all works out and there is nothing to be changed. You could see from the very beginning 5th grade and the kindergartners both love this program.

Then we wanted to see how different the 5th grade perspective was from the teachers’. We asked Mr. Wadness why he does reading buddies. He does it because he wants to give students the opportunity to be a teacher to the younger students. He likes to see the kindergartners look up to the 5th graders when they work together. He also loves watching relationships begin to develop between the 5th graders and kindergartners, and they almost become like brothers and sisters.

Then we asked him how long he has been doing this program. Surprisingly, in his 22 years of teaching, this year is only his second year! Last year he and his class were Reading Buddies with Mrs. Bedell-Healy’s and Mrs. Brannelly’s class. This year with just Mrs. Brannelly’s class. He only participated in the program last year, because in prior years, all of the kindergarten classes were already with buddies

We also wondered what he finds interesting about Reading Buddies. He likes to see the older and younger students bond. He likes to see them read together and build with K’nex. He likes when the students see their buddy in the hallway, they wave and say “Hi”, or give them high fives!

2 buddies reading together.After that we wanted to know what he thinks the students like when they get together to read. He thinks the students like to be a little bit like a brother or sister to each other. He believes it makes them feel good to read and teach each other. He notices that the students like to make stories together and color together. He likes to see the relationships between the older and younger kids continue to grow. He notices that Reading Buddies is a special time for the fifth graders because they feel very responsible.

Then we decided to ask him if there was something he would like to change about Reading Buddies. He said “No”. Why? He and his students had such a great time last year with their Buddies. Although, he did a program in his last school called Special Friends, in which he and his students received a buddy and they went on field trips, read, colored, and played games. He does wish that he, his students, and their buddies could go on field trips together, but unfortunately, there is not enough time. We thought Mr. Wadness’ answers were very interesting, especially compared to the students’.

Reading Buddies helps older and younger students get to know each other and bond. It helps the kindergartners understand what it’s like to be a 5th grader. It also helps them to get used to 5th graders and not be nervous around them. Out of all the activities that are happening throughout the school, Reading Buddies is by far our favorite.

Reported by Kyle, Rico, Will A., and Drew

Welcome to a New Year!

As we approached the gym, we could hear the buzz of excited children and adults. The school was gathering together for our annual back toDesign Cover Winners for the School Directory. school assembly, on Friday, August 30, 2013.

Mrs. Dayal, our new principal, welcomed us back. The fifth graders made two lines to form a bridge for the new kindergarten students to walk under, as they entered the gym, while we sang our Welcome Back song. Next we welcomed the new students in grades 1 – 5, as well as, our new staff members.

The morning announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance were led by Caroline and Jack. Mrs. Dayal talked about the importance of taking risks when we learn trying new things. She took a risk herself, by having us sing a round that we had never done together as a group. The Chickering School Directory’s cover design winners were announced. Following this annoucement, we set our goal for the number of Blue Tickets we would earn this year. Dr. Reinemann reminded us that Blue Tickets are awarded for being caught helping others.

We closed our Welcome Back Assembly by singing This Land Is Your Land.

Reported by Rachel H. and Tommy