At Eagle Creek Academy, we teach in small, comfortable groups.
At the beginning of the school year, the Kindergarten children learn to spell their new friends' names. They also learn that names begin with an uppercase letter, and the other letters are lowercase. In this small group activity, they are writing each other's names, paying close attention to their handwriting strokes.
Grade 2: Concrete to Abstract
Students work in small groups using base-ten blocks and place value charts to show the concrete representation of number.
4th Grade: Loch Ness Monster Challenge
After reading about the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, students inquired into how to build a raft. Each pair of students drew a detailed design plan to build a model raft. Next, they tested their experiments using marbles (the tourists who had to stay on the raft). Then, they compared their results with others and improved their models where needed. They integrated math, having to calculate the total amount of income their excursion business could earn per week, based on the price per ticket, the amount of income per raft excursion, the number of excursions per day, and the total number of hours of operation. What a challenge!
5th Grade: Readers’ Workshop
First, the students read Where the Wild Things Are. Then, in small groups, they chose the 5 main plot points of the story. Then, the students each read an independent short story and chose the 5 main plot points. After that, they had to report their plot points to the other students in their group and get feedback about whether they had come up with accurate and complete points. Working in small groups like this teaches children how to explain themselves, re-think and negotiate.
Middle School: Energy of Motion
These students are looking at identical objects to see what makes one continue to move while the other stops. Why does one go longer than the other? In this way, the students come up with their own theory about "the energy of motion," instead of simply reading about it or hearing it from a teacher.
French Class: Role Play
The students in French class had a lot of fun writing and practicing a skit in French. They wrote the entire script independently and enjoyed acting out different scenarios for the ending of their skit.
Kindergarten: Chain Reactions
The kindergarten students worked in small groups with various materials to create chain reactions. They used dominoes, cardboard blocks and boxes to try to get various size & shape objects to topple over. It was a great hands-on trial.
Grade 3: Area of Figures
Students were introduced to the meaning of area and how to use square units to find areas of different shapes and figures. "Today we were challenged to see how many square units were in other shapes. I thought it was interesting because I never knew that square units were in triangles and other shapes." (Kate F., Grade 3)
Grade 1: Building Number Sense
Students worked in pairs and used a variety of math manipulatives to show how numbers can be represented in different ways.
3rd Grade: Team Work
While trying to build a tower, the third grade students learned about the importance of working as a team, communicating, and problem-solving. Each child had one plastic cup, one rubber band, and one piece of string.
7th & 8th Grade: Sublimation
Students worked with one or two partners, dry ice and beakers to see what happens when a solid (dry ice) skips the liquid state (water) and turns directly into a gas (water vapor). Each small group got to make white gas and giant fog bubbles. They also made quarters scream and played a little table hockey with the leftover dry ice. Working in small groups gave the children the chance to talk to each other about the substances' properties and the chemical changes, and those conversations helped them understand and remember the key points.
5th to 8th grade: Cooking with Apples
Students worked in small groups on a cooking project. First, they chose a recipe and collected ingredients and supplies. Then they created their delicious apple treats. The activity required negotiation, team decision-making, and role assignments. The best part was eating the finished product!
"I love the low teacher-to-student ratio because it allows for individualized instruction." Mrs. Blake, parent
"I love the creative ways you find to teach skills & concepts. One of my absolute faves was when one child had to draw the picture and the other child had to write the story to accompany it. I love the way the kids move about the classroom to work with partners and small groups." Mrs. Piesko, parent