Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Our Inventions Quest

This year, 4th grade began a quest to discover all we could about inventions. We learned about the process of inventing, famous inventors and inventions throughout history, and recognized the stamina it requires to become successful inventors ourselves. 

One of the amazing inventors we studied was Leonardo da Vinci - did you know his full name is Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci? After appreciating his fantastic artwork, we dove deeper to learn more about his many inventions. 

After viewing Leonardo's works of art, the class drew their own Mona Lisa. Many students included a fun modern twist, like adding a mask!

We attempted to build Leonardo's famous arched bridge with popsicle sticks. His original design required no bonding materials... but we certainly did!

Each 4th grader researched and presented on one facet of Leonardo as an inventor. 

Through student presentations, we learned about his important contributions to science, mathematics, aerodynamics, natural history, and architecture.

After our inventor studies of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, and more, the class began our final project of creating new inventions that solve problems in our own lives.

This student sketches out his design for his final invention. He is designing a hammer that has an aiming attachment. No more smashed fingers!

Students learned how to use Tinkercad to create a three-dimensional prototype of their invention.

This student's design improves the current ski boots on the market! Who doesn't love memory foam?

By creating a prototype, students can see their inventions come to life. 

We have had so much fun studying, creating, and testing inventions. I can't wait to see how our final project wraps up!

Friday, January 28, 2022

Discovering our Inner Inventors!

We've embarked on a quest to learn all we can about inventions! So far, we've learned about simple machines, compound machines, and biomimicry.


Students researched compound machines and created their own! Compound machines include two or more simple machines at work. This assignment required partners to solve a problem using a combination of simple machines. Student designs included a safer bicycle with a seatbelt, an elephant-shaped personal crane, and a portable lever on wheels.


Each 4th grader was given a wind-up toy to deconstruct and put back together. Students observed and drew each tiny gear, wire, screw, and nut in order to reconstruct a working toy!

The class went on a nature walk to observe different kinds of trees as a part of our biomimicry lesson. Each student chose two trees to sketch and take notes about. On our walk, one student collected all the different kinds of seeds she found – maple seeds and three varieties of pinecones! Students will use these observations to create a tree-inspired invention involving biomimicry.


Two biomimicry inventions – dentures for eating apples (inspired by sharp animal teeth) and roller skates with springy mushrooms to prevent you from falling.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Illuminated Manuscripts!

We wrapped up our unit on the Middle Ages this month! Students chose a topic we'd previously discussed that they wanted to know more about. 

They chose all sorts of things to research – medieval food and feasts, the Black Death, weaponry, inventions, castles, and the Roman Emperor Diocletian! After extensive research, the class created illuminated manuscripts that demonstrated their new-found knowledge.

Earlier this trimester, the class learned about illuminated manuscripts, which are hand-written books with beautiful decorations. 

This student chose to research Diocletian, and felt that he did a great job as Emperor.

Check out this illuminated manuscript on castles! Note the gold border – medieval monks often used precious metals when making manuscripts to signify the importance of the document.

This student learned lots about medieval weapons! 

Though the Black Plague may be a gloomy topic, this student's illustrated rat teases, "I get cheese, you get a disease!"

These two chose to research food from the Middle Ages. We all wondered what gooseberry pie tastes like!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Every week, fourth-grade walks down the stairs and lets their creative juices flow. When we visit Seabury's makerspace, we craft hot air balloons, swords and shields, costumes, toys, decorations, and more! 

The school's makerspace is a well-stocked room full of every crafting item you can imagine. When visiting, each student decides what they'd like to make and then they get to work! Some weeks, a prompt for creating is given (such as creating a classroom decoration). Most of the time, though, students are free to design and create whatever they'd like. 

Having a chance to visit the makerspace each week has helped our class grow more confident. When things don't work as planned, students learn to try again! Consistently crafting in this way helps students develop their creativity and problem solving skills. Plus, it's so much fun!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Marble Run Challenge!

This week, our class tackled our hardest STEM challenge yet – not only were they tasked with creating a working marble run, they also had to create a Hagia Sophia structure. Students learned how to appropriately scale their creations using the measurements of the real Hagia Sophia, a grand mosque in Istanbul. 

The class was split into assigned groups, challenging their teamwork skills on top of everything else! Throughout the project, we discussed strategies for working through different ideas, cooperation, and positivity when working on a difficult group task.

Watch our exit interviews to see the marble runs in action and hear from each student about their hard work.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Creating our Classroom Castle

After two weeks of castle building, we finally took our build apart today. While it was disappointing for all of us, we had so much fun throughout the entire process!

From the start, the class had a vision. We sat down and planned out each room, decoration, and feature of our future castle. The kids took inspiration from medieval castles around the world we'd studied (wall structures from English castles, turrets from Swedish castles, and decorations in the style of Japanese castles from the time period). Once we had our plan mapped out, the class grabbed some cardboard and duct tape and got to work!

Students researched historical castles to learn about all the different rooms as well as the people that occupied the fantastic homes!

Others created decorations such as flowers, torches, tapestries, and Seabury flags.

Every castle needs a portcullis and drawbridge! This was a tricky challenge that took lots of trial and error.

The castle walls were another challenge. Students created secret tunnels, a bed chamber, a kitchen, a dungeon, windows, watch towers, and more!

(Left) A knight with his crafted bow, arrows, and quiver.
(Right) A queen with her crafted crown!

Students spend their last day in the castle having fun. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Drawbridge Challenge

This past week, the Geodragons learned more about medieval castles. The students learned about all of the parts of these castles and compared and contrasted medieval castle architecture in many different countries. 

At the end of the week, the students were presented with the challenge to create their own functioning drawbridges! Presented with simple materials, each group would have to brainstorm designs and work together to carry out this STEAM challenge. Challenges like this require students to demonstrate creative thinking, persistence, and team work.

In the pictures below, students are hard at work creating their own versions of a drawbridge!