Printing Imagination Station
The Printing Imagination Station E-Cluster is a hands-on creative way to print your own personalized design. In our e-cluster, we learned about the different ways people first printed books and other important papers. Screen printing is one way to print multiple copies. There are two different ways to print using screens, permanent paint, and our own creative design. The class created, got messy, and in the end created a design that was printed on t-shirts, tote bags, or an apron. The students were engaged, creative, and worked collaboratively during this e-cluster. Special thanks to Mrs. Andrea Loomis, a parent volunteer, for being the “third” set of hands in this e-cluster.
Not Your Average Arts and Crafts
In "Not Your Average Arts and Crafts" cluster, we have had lots of fun making bold and unique arts and crafts. From Lions, to snow globes, to melting crayons, we have created beautiful pieces of art. From using pom-poms to recycled objects, we have had lots and lots of fun creating not your average arts and crafts! We have used so many creative items to make never before seen arts and crafts. It takes a lot of glue and scissors, but it's all worth it!
The Global Food Expedition
The Global Food Expedition experienced cooking and tasting dessert-like recipes from all over the world. We made crepes from France, eirkuchen from Germany, mango mochi from Hong Kong, Irish brown bread from Ireland, tiramisu from Italy, Mexican wedding cookies from Mexico, and pumpkin pie from the United States. In addition to cooking and eating these delicious global foods, we also practiced foundational cooking skills such as appropriately using electric beaters, whipping cream, measuring dry and wet ingredients, breaking eggs, and safely baking items. The students discussed some of the best ways to share their knowledge of global foods in the same ways that professionals might. We decided to create a cookbook with the various recipes we cooked throughout our cluster. Each page of the cookbook shows the ingredients and directions, photos of the final product, and has interesting facts about the country of origin.
LME Computer Institute
The LME Computer Institute has had a very productive 8 weeks. We kicked things off with a group discussion where we determined student interests. Using that information, we started out with the basics of how a computer works, opening up a few to look inside at the various parts and how they all operate together. We also briefly looked at keyboarding and the history of computers. Our cluster members then sketched predictions of what computers might look like in the future.
Our cluster was honored to have two guest speakers. First was Laurel Mountain dad Eric Deal, who spoke about computer architecture including dissecting a hard drive. He also walked us through the mental process of using programming to solve a real-world problem. Second was Laurel Mountain community member David Swofford, who discussed Austin’s vibrant technology history and the amazing things going on right now. He also spoke about careers available in technology and highlighted trends in PC, mobile and social gaming.
Each child selected a product that they wanted to create based on their own interests, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of their labor at the Enrichment Showcase!
Fitness is fun!! This semester we played six different sports out of the thirty-six Olympic sports played this past summer. We also learned a new game....Quidditch (yes...from Harry Potter). Will Quidditch be a future Olympic sports? We sure hope so. Special thanks to the three University of Texas Quidditch players that spent time with us. Learning to play Quidditch was a highlight of the clusters for many players.
Stop Motion Animation
The “Stop Motion Animation” enrichment cluster worked in groups of two to three students. They planned a scenario, developed characters, plot, and background before gathering materials to create their scene. Each group drew up a story board complete with details about their characters and background. Then they created the background with cardboard boxes, construction paper, and paint. The characters they created were either built with LEGOs or clay. Each member of the group chose their job responsibilities such as; producer, set design, camera operator, film editor, or production engineer. Next, they set up their scene and took digital still shots with small movements in between. Most groups took 100-300 pictures that they then uploaded to Windows Movie Maker. Some groups added voice-overs using Audacity while others used paper speech bubbles in their digital shots. Their final movies were approximately 10-15 seconds long ranging in topic from "The Great Pumpkin" to "Spaceman"
The “Cartoon Workshop” enrichment cluster had eight fantastic weeks of cartooning fun. We got to try our hands at character development, story boarding, animation and we even made our own comic books. All of our comic books have different themes and ideas that are all our own. We explored the ideas of our characters and plot to come up with awesome original cartoons that we can't wait to share.
Monsters and Mysteries
We spent the first two meetings talking about monsters--what makes something a monster?--and defining mysteries. We looked at photos and videos of “famous” monsters, including Bigfoot, Yeti, the Loch Ness monster, and Frankenstein’s Monster. The kids generated a list of all the other monsters they had heard of. Each student wrote the monster’s name on a Post-It note and we posted them on the board. We had over 75 monsters! The kids shared information about “their monsters.”
The next five meetings were spent creating monsters. We talked about how each monster needed an origin story. Each student developed a story idea that featured his/her monster as the main character. The last meeting was spent finishing up our monsters and sharing them with the class. We look forward to sharing our monsters!
Our future thinkers created societies they believe might be in the future. One of the groups created a Utopian society, while two other groups created societies that were trying to achieve utopia. A lot of fun was had creating these future worlds!
In the “Webmaster Workshop” enrichment cluster our students explored the how, what and why of web design and learned what a Webmaster does. They worked in teams of two to design, build and publish their own websites. The websites created are intended to be reference sites for other elementary aged students who are interested in video games, mythology, gemstones, animals and other interesting research topics. They even had the opportunity to visit the game creation cluster and have posted links to the games created by these students on their own websites, providing real-world connections between enrichment clusters.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: The seQRet treasure hunt
Over the past eight weeks, “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: The seQRet treasure hunt” has used existing student-created research, photos and other resources to develop a series of "treasure hunts" through the Outdoor Learning Lab (aka: The Preserve). Treasure seekers use smart-technology to scan QR-Codes and read through research and collect artifacts. At the end of each Hunt, the treasure seeker has a set of letters they must unscramble to solve the mystery.
Are Robots are Taking Over?
In the "Are Robots are Taking Over?" enrichment cluster students planned and built robots to help with problems around the school such as hallway monitoring and trash collection. Students gained experience in design and programming using LEGO NTX Mindstorm systems, as well as teamwork and problem solving. Visits from the Westwood Robotics and Round Rock Robotics teams helped to inspire and instruct our members throughout our cluster.
LME Ambassador Society
The LME Ambassador Society had a fun experience working together on products that will serve our community both this year and in the future. We set our purpose during the second week: to craft a plan and product design for welcoming new students and families to Laurel Mountain. We brainstormed ideas for products and services, and ended up dividing into two group; one group who wanted to create a welcome kit for new students and one group who wanted to make a photo book in Microsoft Publisher.
Photo books: The students in this group were interested in taking pictures and using technology to create a sustainable product for new families. They used school maps and a staff directory to figure out who/what to include in the photo book, then divided this list to take pictures of sites and people at Laurel Mountain. Students used netbook laptops to transfer pictures from the digital cameras to the computer, and resized pictures into a Microsoft Publisher book. Each page required a text box explanation of who/what was on the page.
Welcome kits: The 4th and 5th graders in this group discussed ideas for things they could include as a gift for our new students. They had a mixture of interests in this crafty group, so some students worked on making friendship bracelets, some worked on making bottle-cap fortunes (including fortunes, such as “You will make many good friends.”), while others worked to make origami boxes to hold the fortunes and bracelets and complete the kit. They were able to create enough welcome kits for all new students to Laurel Mountain this year, and will be distributing these to new students on 12/17/12 and 12/18/12.
During the last cluster meeting, we had a guest speaker share her experiences as a Guest Relations Manager at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India. She spoke of the concierge services and coordination that goes into hosting guests in luxury hotels, as well as how she became interested in hotel services and guest relations. We are excited to share our products and enthusiasm at the Enrichment Cluster Showcase on Friday, December 14!
Each student worked toward creating a PowerPoint about them self as they explored various options that are available using the software. They become skilled at adding unique transitions between the slides, adding graphics and pictures and evaluating the characteristics of a quality presentation. It was rewarding to watch students become facilitators as they assisted other members when problems arose or gave feedback regarding editing and ways to improve the presentation. Good job students!
In the last eight weeks we have learned to combine lines of code to make our sprites move across the page, disappear and change color. We have learned how to create backgrounds and move our sprites across the backgrounds. We are well on our way to being game designers. We have also helped out others in our clusters that were having difficulty "debugging code". We are "Scratchers!"
Wild Wild Wildlife Cluster
We started our enrichment cluster by making bird feeders made from suet and peanut butter. We actually mixed and made the suet ourselves. Then some of us took the bird feeders home and hung them in trees with wire cut from coat hangers. The other bird feeders were distributed and hung in trees in the preserve by Mr. Hance and his class.
Our second cluster meeting focused on the different professions that involve working with wildlife. We talked a lot about scientists and scientific inquiry. One of the tools that scientists use is observation. We learned about strict and deduced observations and then went on a scavenger hunt in the preserve to observe ourselves. We then classified the observations we made into strict or deduced observations.
Our third cluster, we spent learning about bird watching. We then went outside and did some watching of our own.
We spent our next cluster meeting with Will Burch from Travis County Parks. He manages the Balcones Preserve. He took us into the preserve and taught us about native Texas plants and animals.
The other cluster meetings we spent time learning about biodiversity and then created a graph to show how many organisms live in each small part of our Earth. The graphing posed some higher level mathematical thinking for the children.
Our last cluster meeting, Mr. Burch returned. He taught us about endangered species in Texas. We had a lively discussion and played a habitat game to help us learn why animals become threatened and then endangered.
Endangered Texas Animals Cluster
The “Endangered Texas Animal” enrichment cluster enjoyed learning from community experts as well as online resources. We also saw live specimens of several Texas endangered reptiles. Among the species we saw were the snapping turtle and the American alligator. We also had an endangered species expert from the Williamson County Museum teach us about the golden cheeked Warbler, the black capped Vireo and the Georgetown salamander. Our final guest was an environmental biologist whom is studying the Georgetown Salamander. We learned how scientists name new species and how animal populations are surveyed and monitored annually. The cluster participants took all this new information and research and choose animal species to research. The products the Laurel Mountain researchers made were 3-D exhibits, power points, photo story presentations and posters.
Creative Clay Creations
Students in the “Creative Clay Creations” enrichment cluster used real life ceramic techniques to make pottery and sculptures with clay. Techniques such as slab, coil, pinch pot and the potter’s wheel enabled them to create a wide variety of work. After creations dried and were fired in the kiln, students glazed their work. Some students decided to donate their work to the Round Rock Empty Bowl Project which will take place in the spring. Their work will be sold and the money will be used to buy food for the Round Rock Food Pantry. These students created QR codes for their work. The QR Code will take parents to a website that has pictures from the cluster and student work.
Treats for the Tweets and Puppies & Pals
We made nutritional treats for dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even horses! Making these was easy, sticky, and lots of FUN! Although some of the treats were smelly & sticky, we still enjoyed ourselves. At our last meeting we decided to make “healthy human” treats. Yummy! We all thought the cluster was awesome!