Signs of Spring

Spring arrived in all its glory almost overnight here in Pori. Ms. Tellervo took her English Class first grade class on a field trip to a nearby park so the pupils could use all of their senses to make notes of the many signs of spring. The first graders worked with a partner to work on their environmental studies notebooks.

The first graders heard birds chirping and buzzing bees. They saw blossoming flowers and budding trees. They smelled the fresh green grass and felt the warmth as they sat in the lovely spring sunshine.

The days of spring are here
Warm sunny days are near
Birds in trees, flowers and bees
The days of spring are here.

~ Author Unknown ~

Heureka Science Centre in an All Day Field Trip

In a time honoured tradition English Class fifth graders, together with the rest of the fifth graders at Cygnaeus School, headed for the Heureka Science Centre in Vantaa early one morning this week.  “Play is the highest form of research,” words originally uttered by Albert Einstein, greeted the pupils on banners when they arrived at the centre. These  words truly took on life of their own during the course of the day as pupils participated in exhibits, did hands-on experiments and explored the fascinating exhibits throughout the centre.

The permanent main exhibition in Cylinder Hall never fails to engage the interest of visitors.  There are all sorts of interactive exhibits that demonstrate the laws of motion, simple machines, laws of buoyancy and laws of physics relating to light and electricity.

Favourite exhibits in the main exhibition include the Foucault Pendulum and the tightrope bicycle seen in the video clip above where one of our fifth graders pedals along the tightrope.

In addition to exploring the main exhibition, the fifth graders observed trained rats playing basketball in laboratory conditions. While the rats focused on their game, an intendent told the audience how the rats are trained and about rats in general.

Some English Class fifth graders even made their own bioplastic, which is a plastic that is made from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, or microbiota. Bioplastic can be made from agricultural by-products and also from used plastic bottles and other containers using microorganisms, according to Wikipedia. Some pupils immortalized their own faces on a coin and learned about the production of money and its qualitative characteristics. In the afternoon the fifth graders watched an informative film in the planetarium about the desperate plight of pandas.

 The relatively new exhibition called Viral!! had all kinds of infectious stuff that pupils could relate to, from common viruses to demonstrations, to social memes -and even ideas. Viral phenomena are everywhere! What is going to catch on next?

Before going home some pupils found their way to Science Park Galilei which is outside the Heureka Centre. There, too, all sorts of things can be deduced which playing and investigating. It was a phenomenally fun-filled school day, chock full of rich learning experiences. The English Class fifth graders and their teacher, Ms. Virpi, want to take this opportunity to thank Cygnaeus School’s Parents Association who worked hard to sponsor this annual activity for our school’s fifth graders.




Sliding and Sledging into Spring

sledging 3EN

Don’t be fooled by the Arctic theme of the photo collage above. English Class third graders were sledging and sliding at a nearby park in Pori just before the winter break. They had a grand old time!

In spite of Arctic sub-zero temperatures and a nasty wind chill factor early this week, the first official day of spring, the spring equinox is only three weeks away from today!

Field Trip to the Wintry Woods

When the English Class first and second graders headed for the the woods this morning it was snowing considerably, but that fact only added to the fun of having a field trip day in the wintry woods. The pupils listened with interest and intensity to how sounds are muffled in the snow. They frolicked and played.

How many children can you spot hiding in the picture above? (Click it to enlarge it.) After playing for a while and doing other activities, the children enjoyed a hot picnic lunch in the woods.

The pupils participated in a scavenger hunt, enjoyed a snack and played some more.

In 2014 science actually proved that hugging trees is good for our health. (Check on the Internet!) No one needed to tell our pupils that! Our little tree huggers came to it naturally!

Mandalas from Natural Materials

After learning what mandalas are, all of the English Class pupils from grades 1 – 6 went to the park on the island of Kirjurinluoto to put what they had learned into action.

Pupils worked together in small mixed-age groups. Because we were in a park, pupils brought colourful flowers and other materials with them from their own fields and home gardens. They could use materials they found lying on the ground at the park, but nothing could be picked.

Some groups made very meticulous mandalas. One group put together a nice, colourful mandala, but then a few crows came and picked off the berries and in doing so, disturbed the pattern of the leaves set out, which caused a bit of frustration.

That group set to creating another mandala without berries this time to tempt more crows.

The natural materials used by the children included chestnuts, acorns, rowan berries, flowers and petals, cones, mushrooms, pebbles, a great variety of leaves, feathers, reeds and reed tufts, lichen, moss, twigs and  rose hips.

Below are some of the mandalas completed by our English Class pupils.

School lunches always taste better outside picnic style. Today’s lunch was no exception! Many pupils went back for second helpings.

After lunch pupils used leftover materials to fill in a map form of Finland that Ms. Virpi drew on the ground. It was close to being completed when ominous clouds moved overhead. After quickly tidying up, pupils and their teachers started back toward school.

A sudden rain shower could not dampen anyone’s spirits! It was a great day for everyone involved!

Getting Excited about the Library

How can one single field trip help you to experience forests, rain forests, deserts, mountains, oceans and even outer space? Easy! Visit a library! That is what English Class first graders and their teacher, Ms. Tellervo, did on Friday when they visited the Pori Town Library.

It was easy to see that the first graders were no strangers to books. While there, they were charged with the task of finding Finnish books that had a forest theme.

They were soon absorbed by the text and illustrations of the books they were exploring.

Mr. Gregg read them a story and then the first graders returned to school with a fine collection of books for their Finnish classes about life in the forest.

Behind the Scenes at the Theatre

On Wednesday of this week English Class first graders had a wonderful opportunity to experience Pori’s newly renovated theatre from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Pori’s beautiful theatre has been undergoing renovations for the past three years and finally, last month, the renovations were complete. New technology has been added to both stages. The seats have been refurbished. The amazing frescoes on the ceiling in the main theatre have been restored to their original beauty. On their tour the children got to see where costumes are made and altered, the work space where stage sets are created and where props are stored. Indeed, they even saw the ghost who lives in the Pori Theatre!

The first graders also got to actually go on the smaller stage where the production of Mr. Clutterbuck and His Adventures (Herra Hakkarainen seikkailee) was set up. The children could interact with the actors and actresses in their costumes, try out different props and experience the stage set scenery first-hand.  All in all, it was a field trip that will greatly enrich future experiences of visiting the theatre.