Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Smashing Albert EGGstein

Rube Goldberg is known for his zany cause/effect inventions.  He was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who showed his engineering sense of humor by depicting elaborate multi-step solutions to every-day problems.  Teachers around the world use Rube Goldberg designs to teach physics and engineering.  They even hold Rube Goldberg contests around the world.   

So, my 6th grade students decided to create their own Rube Goldberg machine in honor of Easter. The task...SMASH A RAW EGG!  The students were very creative in using a variety of cause/effect relationships, but they had many technical difficulties.  At the end of the day (about 50 tries), all parts of the machine had worked.  But, unfortunately, they did not all work together at once.

So, today, my 3rd graders tweaked the 6th graders' creation...And, after several more attempts...IT WORKED! Enjoy "Smashing Albert EGGstein!"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Heading to Global Finals!

DI Teams.jpg

To Friends of Creative Problem Solvers:  

Teams from Edgar Murray Elementary Gifted education classes recently participated in the MO state final creative problem solving competition called Destination Imagination (DI).  Both fourth grade teams qualified to advance to Global Finals, an international competition to be held over 5 days, May 24-28, on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Students from over 15 countries, grades three through university level, will be competing, and 8,000 students and 17,000 attendees are expected to participate.
The four-member team, "Secret Cypher Squad," won first place in the Scientific category, Top Secret, and the five-member team "Red Ripe Potatoes" came in second in the Fine Arts category, “Vanished!”  Because there was only one point separating them from first place, they were chosen as the state "Wild Card" team.
We are very excited to be representing the state of Missouri at Global Finals, but we need help to get there. It costs $750.00 for each student to attend plus one adult team manager.  This includes housing, meals, and activities for the entire stay.  We need to raise $7,500.00 in order to participate in this amazing opportunity!
We are setting up a variety of fundraisers locally, including a lock-in at the school, car wash, flower sale, and bake sale.  Because we are a small, rural community, we are also seeking sponsors.  Several of our team members do not have the financial means to cover the costs involved.  It is our hope that you will consider helping send these talented kids to compete!
Platinum sponsor (Sponsor 1 Student) - $750 or more:  an ad on the back of our teams’ t-shirts, a free t-shirt, a framed 5 x 7 photo of the teams at Global Finals, a team pin, and recognition in the Bulldog Bulletin, our Facebook page, and Twitter.  
Gold sponsor - $200:  4x4" ad on the back of our teams’ t-shirts,  t-shirt, pin, 5x7 photo, and recognition in the Bulldog Bulletin.
Silver sponsor - $100:  2 X 3 1/2" ad on the back of t-shirt, 5x7 photo
Bronze sponsor -$50:  1 line on the back of the team t shirt
If you’d like more information about Destination Imagination, Global Finals, or our Challenge classroom, you can visit the following:  
For questions, feel free to contact Jennifer Hawkins:

Checks payable to:  St. Clair R-XIII
Please send donations to:
Edgar Murray Elementary
Challenge Program                                       
1044 High School Drive       

Monday, January 16, 2017


We used Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech to spark our conversations this morning.  I asked my 4th grade students the following questions after watching the famous "I Have a Dream" speech:
  What dream do you have for our country?  
What dream do you have for our world?
What dream do you have for yourself?  
What dream do you have for your family?

Here are their responses...

  • That everyone will have shelter.-Shelby
  • That they will find a cure for cancer.-Kaitlynn
  • That people will no longer fight over money.-Zech
  • That I’ll become a lawyer and help justice throughout the land.-Ty
  • That no one will be hungry.-Phillip
  • That I will be a professional football player.-Joshua
  • That I will learn more about cloning technology.-Cameron
  • That I will catch every Pokemon.-JJ
  • That my boys will find careers that will make them happy, and they will continue to be healthy.-Mrs. Hawkins

Friday, December 2, 2016

Debunking the Myths

Recently I read a friends Facebook post that intrigued me.  Her post, tagged with the feeling of being annoyed, discussed the myth of blood being blue before it is oxygenated.  I'm not sure when, but at some point in my life I was taught that the reason our veins are blue is because the blood doesn't change to the color red until it touches oxygen.  This got me thinking..."How many other 'facts' have I been repeating that are not scientifically true?"  And, "How gullible am I?"  

So, I started a list.  Below is a list of statements I've been told at some point in my life. These are all myths that can be debunked scientifically.  My students have begun debunking these myths, and you can click on the links to discover the facts they've uncovered.  

A penny dropped from the Empire State Building will kill you if it hits you.
Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Hair and nails continue to grow after you die.
• If a jellyfish stings you, urine will help alleviate the pain.
Left-brained people are more logical and right-brained people are more creative.
The ocean is blue because it’s reflecting the sky.
• Deoxygenated Blood Is Blue.
• We only use 10% of our brains.
• It takes seven years to digest swallowed chewing gum.
• Sugar makes kids hyperactive. 
• Poinsettias are lethal if eaten. 
• Touching a toad will give you warts.
If you swim right after eating, you will get a cramp and drown.
You should cover up your cranium in the winter, because your body loses most of its heat through your head.
• Mother Birds Will Abandon Babies if You Touch Them. 
• Different Parts of Your Tongue Detect Different Tastes.

Feel free to add other myths and comments below!  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 Toothpaste Commercials


Whitey Brighty Toothpaste  

     Well, after many technology issue and tears (from me), most of our toothpaste commercials are complete! Why toothpaste commercials, you may wonder?  Well, besides being interesting and engaging, it was a great opportunity to teach many skills.  First, we experimented with commercial toothpastes.  We used the scientific method to test the PH levels, starch levels, and abrasiveness of various toothpastes.   Students also learned skills such as advertising techniques, writing skills, public speaking skills, and teamwork.  This unit also gave my students the opportunity to learn to use new technology such as video cameras and video editing software. Here are some of our final products!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Team Building

We are starting the school year off with a lot of team building. Team building is important for many reasons. It promotes collaboration between classmates, fosters creativity, enhances leadership skills, and aids overall communication. Each class participated in three team challenges.

 1. Marker Message: Several strings were tied to a dry-erase marker. Each student held a string, and they worked together to write a message. This challenge is much harder than it looks, but all teams were ultimately successful.

2.  Toxic Waste:  A bungee cord was attached around a bucket holding tennis balls.  Ropes were tied to the bungee cord.  Each student held the end of a rope.  The object was to dump the tennis ball into the empty bucket without touching the toxic waste or bucket.  

3.  Hollywood Improv:  This was an acting challenge.  Students had to choose a random character, setting, problem, plot, movie quote, and props to use in an original team-created movie trailer.