Day of Play 2017

Friday, October 6 was our Day of Play/Cardboard Challenge. We hold this event every year at Anastasis!

This year, our theme was “Marble Run.” Our class studied different marble run games that we have in the classroom, and we did some research on gravity. We wanted to know how we could make the best and fastest marble run!

First, we drew some plans and looked at how each person in the classroom thought about building our structure. Then we combined some of the best ideas. We used rulers and tape measures to figure out how high we would need to build the ramps on our structure. Then we started cutting some cardboard pieces to build our structure.

Some of our failures included taping and gluing our ramps to the sides of boxes. That wasn’t working very well. So we watched a couple of videos of people who made marble runs with cardboard, and we noticed they used cardboard notches! We created some of our own notches, and that helped our ramps stay up!


Team Baldwin 2017-18

Photo by Shelly Au

We are Team Baldwin! We are a class of 5-7 year old students who love to build, read, write, draw pictures, sing, and move!

We hope you follow us as we learn this year. This blog is a place for us to share some writing and photos, and we will also be sharing a lot on our class Twitter account,@TeamBaldwin.

Our first day of school this year was Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Hope to connect with you soon!

Learning About Invertebrates

We love that we are able to investigate things that make us more and more curious! We watched a video about vertebrate animals early in March, and then we heard the word “invertebrates.” We didn’t know what that meant, so, of course, we had to investigate!

We learned a LOT about invertebrates! We watched some videos, and we read a lot of different books about invertebrate animals. Did you know most invertebrates are insects? We also learned that many of the invertebrates that are not insects are those that live in the ocean.

Some of our questions:

  • Which creatures are spineless?
  • Are invertebrates slimy?
  • Are all invertebrates small?
  • Is a jellyfish really a fish?
  • How do invertebrates move?
  • How do invertebrates have babies?

We were able to find some answers to our questions through some research, and that’s when we decided we wanted to each choose an invertebrate animal and make an invertebrate costume!

Because we usually like to just start building things, Mrs. Baldwin helped us to think through our design process first. What do we need to know about our invertebrate animals in order to design a costume? What materials should we use to make our costumes look most like our animals? How will we WEAR the costumes so that we can move like the animal we chose?

We started drawing plans after we did some research about all the parts of our invertebrate animal choices. We also shared our costume design plans with our class. Each of us had a chance to present the design, explain what we know about this invertebrate animal, and answer questions.

We also watched some more videos about other types of invertebrate animals, including an octopus moving through a plexiglass maze!

As we worked in our design phase, we thought about what we should know before we started constructing the costumes. We asked a lot of questions about how we would know the costumes would fit us, so we decided to measure our height, length of arms and legs, etc. We partnered up to use rulers and remembered how to line up the ruler with the edge to what we were measuring. Also, we knew we’d need to do some addition when what we were measuring was longer than the ruler. Finally, we did some trouble-shooting to measure the circumference of our heads, because a ruler can’t measure that. We decided to use yarn to measure our heads, and then we measured the yarn.

After we had our own measurements, we learned to measure the materials to help us begin creating the costumes. This was the most exciting part! We were able to share our costumes, even those that weren’t completely finished, with our class and our school community at Anastasis StoryLine (our end of year sharing of our learning journeys).

Block 6-Sharing the Planet-Water

We started our inquiry about water with the statement: Water impacts life on Earth.

We asked questions about the statement and defined the words “impact” and “life.” Questions we asked:

  • Can “life” live without water?
  • Do mountains need water?
  • How does water keep plants/animals/people alive? Why do we need it?
  • How does water get to houses?
  • How does a flood happen?
  • Where does rain come from?
  • How/Why do we filter water?
  • How do we get water from rain/snow?
  • Where do rivers/lakes come from?
  • Does water stay in the same place? How does it “move?”
  • Whats the difference between fresh water and salt water?
  • How can we stop wasting water?

We watched a couple of videos next – one on droughts, one on how to reduce/reuse/recycle. This made us wonder about the water cycle, too! For some of us, this is a review from last year. We learned that water never truly disappears – it only changes its form: liquid, gas, solid. We learned that the cycle has 4 stages: condensation, precipitation, collection, evaporation. (We also noticed that all 4 of those words include the suffix “tion,” and this makes us sing our TION song!)

To help us see water in action, we traveled to the South Platte/Carson Nature Center. We’re very fortunate that this special place is only a few miles from our school. We took sketchbooks and sketched different areas where we stopped to observe the water. In one special area, there were three different areas to observe the river and inlets. The kids sat in small groups and rotated around the three different areas to notice how the water moved differently in each area, what wildlife they noticed in each spot, what was the same/different in each spot.

We were able to see what we had been learning – the flow of the river, how the riverbanks show the changing river levels, evidence of erosion, and a lot of different river terminology. We also took time to think about the wildlife in a riparian ecosystem.


Block 4 – How The World Works

We started with a statement:

Energy can be converted from one form to another allow us to use it in different ways.

We knew we had a LOT of questions right away, so Mrs. Baldwin started writing them all down. But first, we wanted to ask the most important question: WHAT IS ENERGY? We started with what we thought energy might be:

  • human energy
  • electricity
  • fuel
  • oil
  • fire
  • solar (sun)
  • hydro (water)
  • wind
  • food

From some early research, we heard:

  • sound is energy
  • heat is energy
  • there is chemical energy
  • gravity

We wanted to do some experiments to help us understand potential and kinetic energy.

Mrs. Baldwin gave us some rubber bands and asked us to stretch them and then freeze. She asked us what would happen if we let go of the stretched rubber bands. We said they would fly across the room! We learned that the rubber band has potential energy when it is stretched, and then kinetic energy when it flies across the room. Kinetic is when something moves.

We did a lot of experiments with potential and kinetic energy. You can read more here:


We performed solar energy experiments and learned that the sun is heat and light energy.


We did so many different energy experiments! Light waves, sound waves, reflected light, refracted light, heat, – and we learned so much about how energy travels and is converted.



Block 3 – How We Express Ourselves- Communicating Through The Arts

For this block, our class started with the following statement:

When we express ourselves, we communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

We needed to learn what the words “express” and “communicate” mean. As we talked about what we thought they meant, we came a little closer to the actual definitions that Mrs. Baldwin read to us. Then we made a list of all the different ways we could think of to express our thoughts, ideas, and feelings:

  • talking
  • facial expressions
  • body language
  • writing/telling stories
  • drawing
  • playing
  • dancing
  • singing
  • acting
  • painting
  • sculpting
  • building/making

As we discussed our list, we noticed a lot of the forms of expression can be found in the Arts! From that list, we made three categories: Performing Arts (singing, dancing, acting), Visual Arts (drawing, painting, sculpting, building/making), and Composing (writing/telling stories, composing songs/music, writing a play).

We all were interested in artists and how they create different types of art. We studied some painters first. We like that some painters create a painting with objects we recognize, but we noticed some painters seem like they aren’t really painting anything at all. There are a lot of colors and sometimes shapes or lines, but nothing we can really look at and describe as something we recognize. We did some research and learned that this type of art is called “abstract.” We decided we wanted to create some of our own abstract art.

We thought about how different colors and shapes can be combined to express and idea or feeling, even if we didn’t actually draw things that make us happy, sad, confused, or peaceful.

As we moved closer to the holidays, we started looking at how people express themselves differently in winter holidays. We watched videos about Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Diwali. As we learned about holiday celebrations, we noticed there were a lot of common themes: family time, gifts, and food.

One of us asked, “how can we express ourselves with food?” NK said that people can express themselves through food choices. When we thought about how food is made, some of us thought that chefs can be artists with how they serve food. We learned that it’s called “plating.” We also saw some pictures of coffee art – when baristas pour cream into a coffee cup, they can make hearts, leaves, and other objects. When we thought about why they do art in coffee, some of us said that it’s a way to show creativity. Others thought that maybe baristas make coffee art to get customers to smile and be happy.

For the rest of block 3, we thought like artists. We like to be artists ALL the time, not only during certain blocks, but we focused a lot on different styles of art. We toured a local studio called Hot Pots. We didn’t get to sculpt our own pots, but we chose some cups that we were able to paint any way we wanted. We painted, we drew, we wrote stories and songs… so many different ways to express ourselves!

Block 2 – Where We Are In Place and time

We finished our learning journey in Block 2 right before Thanksgiving. Even though we say “finish,” we’re never really actually finished with discovering new things about learning topics. Sometimes, we find a natural ending point and then move on. That’s what we did with this block.

One of Mrs. Baldwin’s favorite things to do with us is ask us what we learned during each block. We think about the new things we learned, how we connected those things to what we already know, and even what we learned about LEARNING!

In Block 2, we focused on the statement, “The way people live and work change over time.” When we first thought about that sentence, we immediately began discussing technology and all the ways it has made life different. We have grown up with different technologies that Mrs. Baldwin didn’t have when she was a kid, like cell phones, the internet, and even cars with automatic locks and windows! That conversation helped us think about different types of transportation and how they have changed over time.

First, we had to define “transportation.” We know that the word includes cars and trains, but we learned that it is really about some way of moving people, animals, or “goods” from one place to another. We created a list of different types of transportation that we already know, and then we did some research about transportation from the past. We spent a lot of time learning about older transportation that people made with their own hands – canoes and wagons were some of the first kinds!

As we moved forward, we asked why transportation changed. We know that inventions made transportation easier to go farther and farther, and as more people lived in certain areas, there were needs for transportation vehicles that could move more goods and more people. Some of us know that there are trains in Denver called the “Light Rail,” and they were built to help move people around. Buses do that, too. If more people are on trains or buses, then there are fewer cars on the roads. That means less pollution, too.

When we learned about older kinds of transportation, we learned about water power, steam power, gas power, and electric power. We visited the Forney Museum of Transportation (our blog post about that visit here).

We wondered if transportation looks different in different areas? For instance, would a person who lives in a desert need different transportation than someone who lives on snow and ice? Or how about someone who lives in an area that is completely surrounded by water? We decided to do a little research, but then got into teams and built our own ideas. Some were vehicles that could skim the surface of sand. Others were snow vehicles with a “digger” on the front to move quickly through snow. The water vehicles were powered only by water, so that they wouldn’t pollute the air or the water. (photos in the Storify link below)

After we built those vehicles, we also thought about mass transportation for those same areas. You can’t just make the mass transportation vehicles – you also have to create stations for the people to FIND the mass transportation! We knew that because some of us have been to stations for the Denver Light Rail. This created some new questions for us. How could we build a station that floats on water but is always in the same place? That water team thought about using anchors and buoys to build their station. The snow station team designed a base that was like a giant snowshoe. They also thought that maybe they should include heaters, doors, and windows, because they don’t want people who are waiting to be too cold! That helped the desert team think that they should have air conditioning in their station AND inside their mass transportation vehicle.

We had so many questions during this block! As we studied all the different types of powering vehicles, we kept hearing “internal combustion engines.” We wondered what that meant. We found a lot of videos that helped explain the 4 stage process of an internal combustion engine: Intake, Combustion, Power, Exhaust. It was so cool to see how that makes an engine go!

During the block, we tweeted off and on about what we were learning. You can read about it in our Storify about “Transportation:”

As we thought back about our learning, we noticed we had to do a lot of exploration and research. Some of us read books about transportation, and we all watched a lot of videos that helped explain these ideas in ways that we could understand. We also noticed that we learned better when we were able to build our ideas. We used LEGO and Duplo blocks a LOT in this block!

We wonder what YOU think about transportation? Do you like to build to learn? What other types of learning are best for you?

Forney Museum of Transportation Tour

We are currently in Block 2 at school: WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME. Our statement right now is “The way people live and work has changed over time,” and we are focusing on how transportation has changed and impacted the way people live, eat, and travel.

On Thursday, November 3, we were very fortunate to visit the Forney Museum of Transportation here in Denver. Our tour guide was Damion Cope, and he explained all of the very interesting types of transportation that are housed at the museum.

As soon as we walked through the doors into the museum, a lot of us were very excited! We kept saying, “Best learning trip ever!”

We learned about so many different types of transportation. Some of our favorites were learning about how transportation has changed over time. We saw examples of some of the very first motor cars – some were called “motor carriages.” They didn’t even have steering wheels! They just had levers to pull or push that would move the front wheels. Some people think that electric cars are new to the 21st century, but we saw an electric car that was built in 1916. That was 100 years ago! It was called the Detroit Electric Opera Coupe. It had 4 big batteries, and it could go forwards or backwards – the seats turned around on the inside.

We also some real trains – INSIDE the museum! One of our favorites was the Big Boy! It’s a huge, black train. We also got to walk inside part of another train and see some of the different types of cars on passenger trains. Did you know that some people actually lived on trains? They traveled all across the country and wanted to have rooms on the train for living space.

One of our favorite parts about the train section was “Aunt Peachey.” It was a train derrick that has a huge crane to help lift train cars, usually after a train went off the tracks.

We also saw a lot of different experimental types of transportation. We really liked the plane that was turned into a boat. There were other airplanes, motorcycles, and bicycles – even an electric bicycle! We saw covered wagons and trolleys – we couldn’t believe how many different types of transportation were in ONE museum!

Mr. Damion helped us sit inside a helicopter – for most of us, this was the highlight of our trip. Almost every single one of us said we wanted our families to bring us back to the Forney Museum to visit again! Did you know that the Forney Museum has an interactive timeline on their website? It helped us to understand when certain inventions were made.

It was fun learning about how transportation has changed over time, and it helped us to think about how we could invent new types of transportation for the future!

Highlights from the class:

HT: I liked the Big Boy the best!

CRC: I liked seeing the covered wagon. They had horses and people with the wagons. The horse looked so cool.

JF: My favorite was Aunt Peachy. If the trains go off the track, it can lift them up. There was a face with eyes painted on the crane.

KC: I liked the big train. It was called a steam engine.

EO: I liked Amelia Earhart’s car. It was yellow, and I drew a picture of it.

NK: It was fun to go inside the helicopter!

CM: I liked sitting in the helicopter, too!

SF: The train was my favorite. Damion showed us everything, and we loved all the stuff.


We journaled a lot about our trip, and then we decided to draw some photos of the vehicles we saw. You can see our drawings and photos of our trip in the photo gallery.

Our Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

On Friday, October 7, we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens- Chatfield Farms Pumpkin Patch!

Earlier that week, we started thinking about what we already knew about pumpkins:

  • Most of them are orange, but some can be white or bluish-green.
  • Pumpkins can grow in many different sizes!
  • Pumpkins grow on the ground, but we weren’t sure how.
  • We know that pumpkins have a LOT of seeds inside their “guts.”

We still had some questions – “How do they grow on the ground?” “After you plant a seed, what happens?” So, we watched some videos and did a little research. We discovered that there are 6 stages to a pumpkin:

  1. Seed
  2. Sprout
  3. Vine
  4. Flower
  5. Green pumpkin
  6. Orange pumpkin (or “adult” pumpkin)

We like to draw what we learn, so we drew each stage to help us figure this out. Here are some of our drawings:


We also found a really fun song by Brian Vogan called “That’s How A Pumpkin Grows.” We can’t stop singing this song! (You can follow Brian Vogan on Twitter !)

Finally, it was time to go to the Pumpkin Patch! We got to pick our own pumpkins… and since we learned they grow on a vine, we knew we had to use some force to actually pick our pumpkins. Mrs. B showed us how to twist the pumpkin on the vine and then step on the vine to separate the pumpkin. Some of our pumpkins ended up with long stems, and some were short.

We saw a lot of small pumpkins, medium-sized pumpkins, and some really, REALLY big pumpkins! Some were smooth, some were round, some were oddly shaped, and some even had some cool bumps on them. It was fun seeing all the different types of pumpkins.

Later, we read a book called How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow by Wendell Minor. This book helped us to learn different words for “really, really big:” giant, enormous, gigantic, immense, and colossal. These are fun words to say, and now we don’t have to use “very” or “really” when we want to describe something “humongous!” (This was a fun word that CM shared with us when we read this book. We like it, too!)

After we read this book, JF asked what the biggest pumpkin in the world would be. We all liked that question! We did a little research and found that the 2016 world record for biggest pumpkin in the world is 2,623 pounds. The man who grew that pumpkin is Mathias Willemijns from Belgium. That pumpkin weighs almost as much as Mrs. B’s car!

We learned a lot about pumpkins, and we’re still reading more pumpkin books and singing pumpkin songs. It seems to be the right time of year for that!

Block 1 – Who We Are

“Character, and who I am, is influenced by many factors.”

That’s the statement we started with at the first part of Block 1 – “Who We Are.” Block 1 at our school is always about our identity. We start out getting to know our classmates and other students at Anastasis. For our class, it was learning a lot about what we like to play and how we make friends.

Anastasis also holds an Identity Day in the first few weeks of every school year. We want to know more about the people in our school, and we feel more like family after this day!

Some of the activities we did during this block included drawing self-portraits and thinking about who we want to be when we grow up. One of our favorite activities was drawing ourselves as stick people and then using our 5 senses to share more about who we are NOW. Some of us drew photos of our our feet playing soccer or dancing. Some drew pizza near a mouth and music near ears. Mrs. Baldwin was really happy to see so many people drawing a heart and writing the words “good friend” right next to it.

During this block, we talked about stories we read, and how we see “good guys” and “bad guys”, or HEROES and VILLAINS. We wondered if these stories influence the way we think about ourselves and other people. We thought through stories we already knew and made a list of heroes and villains. We read some new stories and added to our list.

We also made a list of characteristics of heroes and villains, but we noticed that sometimes, heroes might look different than what we expect. A lot of us thought heroes have to big and strong like Superman or have special powers like Elsa. But then we thought about the fable, The Lion and the Mouse. The mouse saves the lion in that fable, and mice are very tiny! We decided that heroes (and villains) can look very different. Their actions are what make them heroes or villains.

After a while, we noticed that some characters start as villains and become heroes later in the story (and vice versa). This was a new discovery for some of us… we thought bad guys are always bad, and good guys are always good. Now we know that people, even in stories, have a little bit of light and a little bit of dark in them.

We thought about what that means for us! If we make a bad choice, does that mean we are a villain? Is it possible to ALWAYS be the hero? We like the idea that we can be forgiven for mistakes, and that we can even LEARN from our mistakes. We all decided we would like to be the kind of people who could forgive others for mistakes, too.

As we move forward into the school year, we want to keep thinking about who we are and how our character is influenced by our friends, our families, the stories we read, and our actions.