To review what we’ve learned (or not learned well) in our study of earthquakes this month, division four earthquake experts are working on a concept map. Concept maps are totally awesome for the following reasons:

  • they show very clearly how much we know about something
  • they show our thinking: can we make connections between things we know about
  • they are creative: we can show very insightful and creative ways of linking ideas
  • they are visual: we can use text and graphics and illustration to show our thinking about what we think we know
  • most importantly… they are a simple and really effective way to take notes or write down information that you want to learn — why? Because this activity requires you to think about something, and the more you think about something, the more it gets committed to your long-term memory. When something is remembered, it now becomes something you know!



  1. Choose a big idea that everything on your map can link to.
  2. Plan out and think/talk about how different things can connect or relate to each other.
  3. Position and move the concepts/ideas/terms around to plan out how they might fit
  4. Sketch out some short phrases that explain the relationships
  5. To extend your thinking and to show your expert knowledge, you can add additional terms (concepts/ideas).
  6. Use illustrations or diagrams to show how much you know.
  7. If you’re unsure how to link something, go back and check your notes or research materials to review it – knowing what you don’t know is just as important as knowing what you know!!!




Here’s a problem from a recent math review task:

Kade is organizing a hockey tournament. There are seven teams. How many games in total does he need to schedule? 

What was interesting about this problem is that everyone thought that each team had to play each other once. If so, the number of games would be 21. But that doesn’t include a knock out round or anything else. And, you could have also created a tournament where there was a double knockout and therefore wouldn’t need everyone to play each other once. But, let’s assume the question also said “everyone must play each other once” … So, if that was the case, which solution shown below is the best one?


  • Efficient – no unnecessary steps
  • Accurate – checks answer; seems reasonable
  • Thinking is clear
  • Shows understanding using symbols, language and numbers/equations
  • Uses an effective strategy

Solution 1:


Solution 2:


Solution 3:


Solution 4:


Solution 5:



Hello everyone!  Mrs. Weiss here. 

Every Thursday, right after lunch, Div. 4 participates in a word game challenge called “Chasers.”  Students are encouraged to “chase” after words that follow certain criteria or patterns:  ie; certain letter groupings, letter sounds, word lengths, word meanings, specialty words, etc.  After brainstorming on their own for 2 minutes, students then share their words around the classroom, and we create a master list of all their creative word ideas (with correct spellings!)  We also discuss patterns we see in the words, and talk about their definitions.
Students then have an opportunity to do activities with their word “data.”   Activities are wide and varied, and can include data collection, math calculations, writing activities, and even art!  Students can also “apply” to be a leader, and run chasers, and a few have done a great job so far.
Ask your students about Chasers and some of the words and ideas they have brainstormed.  I have created a specific set of Learning Standards for Chasers, which is linked below.  (This document is a starting point, and may adapt over time, as the students delve deeper into even more creative word patterning and activities.)  Also, keep an eye out on Fresh grade for uploaded samples of Chasers work, coming soon.

Have a great week!

Mrs. W




Science Exp Criteria 2

Here’s a couple of the videos we captured of the 9.0 (severe shaking + 1.0 minutes) earthquakes. Admittedly, our earthquake simulator had some flaws in its design. Most groups were able to engineer fairly robust structures from flimsy materials.

We might try this again with a redesigned simulator and see if we can test other, more rigid materials to get a better idea of what kinds of variables effect a building’s ability to withstand the “big one”.

When writing your science reports, make sure you provide a lot of knowledge and detail in your analysis of:

  • why did some structures collapse and others didn’t?
  • why was my hypothesis right/wrong? 
  • what important information did we learn from this experiment? 


What design features are most likely to help a structure survive a serious earthquake?

science report template | BUILDING DESIGNS


Our Earthquake Simulator Machine 


  1. Predict what intensity of earthquake your structure will withstand. Explain why using what you know about how to make buildings that can withstand an earthquake.
  1. Predict which classmate’s structure will be the strongest in the simulation. Explain why using your scientific knowledge.


In our efforts to become earthquake experts this month, division four scientists have been researching a number of essential questions that earthquake experts should know the answers to: 

The Dangers of Earthquakes

Our scientific researchers conducted research on one question and then teamed up with another scientist to begin to create an info graphic that would answer their questions. Info graphics are effective posters or charts that grab an audience’s attention and communicate important information using pictures and text.

We started these on Tuesday and will complete them this week using a tool called piktochart. Our scientists know how to log in and continue working on their project if they want to from home.

The criteria for success on this task are:

  1. Inquiry Skills: Is there evidence of thorough research from quality sources?
    1. Are the pictures and illustrations appropriate for my question?
    2. Did I use reliable scientific sources of information?
    3. Do the text and images explain my question well?
  2. Scientific Knowledge: Is there evidence that you are an expert in your question?
    1. Is my information very detailed?
    2. Does my information make sense?
    3. Does the infographic show that I understand earthquake science?
  3. Communication: Is the infographic effective for your audience?
    1. Would other students understand my infographic?
    2. Is my text is visible?
    3. Are my backgrounds and pictures effective?
    4. Does it grab the audience’s (other kids) attention?
    5. Are the colours and fonts consistent?
    6. Is the space well organized?

Here’s some examples of effective info graphics.

Brain size infographiccoral infographicginormoustumblr_nrebg0bWlo1uas5luo1_1280


We are working on some mathematical thinking goals in division four right now:

  • Using multiple addition strategies: regrouping, mental math, estimating 
  • Adding three and four digit numbers 
  • Using variables to symbolize an unknown number in an equation or problem 

Practice #1: Addition 3d+2d regrouping

Here’s some students modelling the strategies we used today:


EARTHQUAKES: Essential Questions

  1. How prepared is Vancouver for a major earthquake? What preparations are in place?
  2. What preparations are in place in Langley for the “big one”? Is it enough?
  3. Do we have a good emergency plan for an earthquake at school?
  4. What should people have in an earthquake kit at home? How can we prepare at home?
  5. Is there danger of a tsunami in Vancouver or the Fraser Valley? Why or why not?
  6. How would the earth change if there was a big earthquake near here?
  7. What kind of damage and effects should we expect in the region if there’s a big earthquake?
  8. How many people in Langley are really prepared for an earthquake? What do we need to get more people prepared?
  9. How are earthquakes caused?
  10. What are some examples of really major earthquakes that have happened in the past?
  11. Have there been major earthquakes on the west coast of North America? How do know? What evidence is there?
  12. How are earthquakes measured? Explain.
  13. What places are most in danger of a major earthquake on the west coast of North America?
  14. What is the “ring of fire”? Why do so many earthquakes and volcanoes occur in this region?
  15. What is the Cascadia subduction zone? Why do seismologists expect a “big one” here?
  16. How do earthquakes cause tsunamis? How destructive can they get?
  17. How strong can an earthquake get? What is the difference between different levels on the Richter scale?
  18. Can earthquakes be accurately predicted or detected? How, or how not?
  19. If an earthquake struck, what should people do? Where should they go? Where is the safest place to be?
  20. What are some examples of tsunamis in the past? Describe what happened.
  21. How do you make buildings that can withstand a major earthquake?
  22. How much money and time would it take to repair our community if there was a major earthquake? Prepare an estimate.
  23. How much damage would happen to Vancouver Island?
  24. When do seismologists think the next major earthquake will happen here? How do they make these predictions?
  25. How do dogs hear earthquake waves?
  26. Why do earthquakes cause damage to buildings and the landscape?
  27. Can humans cause earthquakes? How, or why not?
  28. What are aftershocks? Are they dangerous or destructive?
  29. What other dangers can be triggered by earthquakes?
  30. What are techtonic plates? How do they change the earth over long periods of time? Did the continents always look the way they do today?