New theme debuts: Endless Changing Energy

This week marks the start on our new theme, “Endlessly Changing Energy.” The name reflects the main idea we want to convey through the seven weeks of the theme: whenever something happens, energy is used but does not disappear. Instead, there is a change of energy from one form into another. For instance, a moving vehicle involves a change of chemical energy (stored in fuel) into kinetic energy (the motion of the vehicle) and heat. We will talk about transforming light into heat, motion, and electricity; heat into motion; chemical energy into radiant energy and electricity; electrical energy into motion; and stored (potential) energy into working (kinetic) energy. Students will learn that energy makes things grow and move, and runs machines. They will observe demonstrations, perform experiments, measure various forms of energy, take notes, and practice making predictions and coming to conclusions. They will also research the biographies of famous scientists.

Week 1 will be devoted to asking and answering the question: What is energy? Do we ever “see” it? (Not really; what we see is its manifestations.) Week 2 will be devoted to light, its source, and its effects.

We are expecting our first guest speaker this Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Miranda Manning will demonstrate several activities involving energy, especially light.

Music theme ends with visit to FSU Gamelan room

Thanks to all parents and friends who attended the performance ending our theme “Playing Music Together.” Playing music together they did! For those of you who could not attend, we were treated to three short plays involving a narrator, multiple characters and a musical accompaniment, as well as to several songs.

  • The Front Room students (the Sunflowers) performed a play based on the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” story, complete with puppets and a great set; they also performed a song.
  • The Back Room students (the Pioneer Pickles) performed a play based on “The Story of Chicken Little”, as well as two songs (in French!)
  • The Middle School students performed a play based on “The Boy who Cried Wolf,” and the boys sang "Gee, Officer Krupke", from the musical West Side Story.

It was very good entertainment. Thank you to all the performers and to the teachers who coached them!

On Thursday, Magnolia students were treated to a very special workshop at the FSU College of Music. The group was split into two, one attending the workshop while the other played music games and read stories on the steps of Opperman Hall, and vice versa after 35 minutes.

The students explored the Gamelan room, a large room full of exotic-looking metallophones, gongs and other bell-shaped percussion instruments. Dr. Michael Bakan, professor of Ethnomusicology and head of World Music, helped the students choose instruments and gave a brief introduction to the Balinese Gamelan, the name for the whole ensemble of percussion instruments. He then proceeded to teach the students how to play a Balinese warrior song, involving different rhythms played on different instruments, and, believe it or not, it sounded rather good in the end despite a less than perfect synchronicity.

We are extremely lucky to have in Tallahassee such a world authority on the Balinese Gamelan as Dr. Bakan, and even luckier that he has been willing to share his expertise with our students.

Visit YouTube to see how Balinese Gamelan music and the Balinese Warrior dance are performed.