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Insights from the Intersection of Childhood and Education

Friday, May 30, 2014

Preschoolers Create and Sell for a Good Cause

Wrapping up their year-long study of animals and insects, this week one of our preschool classes, the Afternoon Explorers, held a boutique to sell beautiful handmade items. The children decided to donate the money they would raise to ARKive, an international organization that helps protect endangered animals.

All items for sale were made by the children. They learned to make something for someone else, as well as the Mitzvah (good deed) of donating money to a worthwhile cause. We are happy to report that they raised $317.69 and were sold out faster than expected.

What a special ending to a terrific year for the Afternoon Explorers!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Classroom Becomes a Beehive

One of our 1st/2nd grade classes turned their classroom into a "beehive" and invited other classes to visit so they could share all they had learned about bees. They acted the parts, too!


Before granting entry into the classroom "beehive," two worker bees sprayed visitors with "beehive scent" (a.k.a. water) so that they wouldn't be attacked as strangers by the bees in the hive.

Teacher Mrs. Rapp was the beekeeper and showed off combs that had been used in a real hive for visitors to see how small those wax hexagons actually are.

Inside, worker bees explain all that they do, namely work for 10-12 hours every day! And they are all female, mind you.

True to form, the drones sat around and had a good time, even sipped "nectar" from those big yellow bottles! The visiting 3rd graders were a bit astounded that the drones' only job was to mate with the queen, and that the worker bees do all the work.

Check out the glittery wings on that drone, though!

The queen bee explains her role in the beehive, and the great danger to her if another queen were to appear.

Lo and behold, another queen does appear!

The queen fights for her position. She wins and...

...the reign of the golden eyelashes is secured for the time being.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Building Pyramids

As a fun project in their study of Ancient Egypt, two of our 5th/6th grade History classes built models of the pyramidsto scale! For a few weeks, class time was devoted to building pyramids. It was an interesting exercise not only in geometry and construction, but also in resourcing and problem solving. Students worked in groups, and each group was given only sugar cubes and glue.

Some used cardboard to help them, some employed Styrofoam board. One group used only sugar cubes and found out rather quickly that they would run out of supplies mighty fast if they built a solid pyramid of sugar. If they required extra materials, they had to write a proposal and present it to the teacher as to why their project deserved more resources. The proposal required a lot of math, as the group had to calculate how many sugar cubes they had used and how many more they would need.

One group actually petitioned our Preschool Director for some sand from the sandbox to accurately render the surrounding environment of the Giza plateau. As you can see from above photo, they did get it!

To wrap up their project, their pyramids were displayed in Loeb Hall, our multi-purpose room, and each group gave a short presentation on their pyramid.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recipe for Mofletta

Shani and a student flatten out the dough.

For a little celebration of Mimuna, a post-Passover holiday brought to Israel by North African Jews, our B'not Sherut Tamar and Shani (young Israeli women who do one year of their national service by working in a Jewish day school abroad) baked the traditional pancake bread Mofletta with students. The students verdict: Very tasty!

Recipe for Mofletta

7 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp. sea salt
4 tbsp. sugar
3 ½ cups water (may need slightly more or less)
1-2 tbsp. grape seed oil for kneading

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. The dough should be easy to work with, but not overly gluey or goopy. Once mixed, let the dough rest on the counter for a half hour. Remove a large pinch of dough and roll it in to a ball, about 3” - 4” in diameter. Repeat until all dough is used. Throughout this process, keep your hands well oiled.

Add ½ tbsp. oil (or cooking spray) to a large frying pan over medium heat. On a well-oiled surface, spread a ball of dough into a thin “cake” so that it will fit close to the edges of your pan. Gently place the thin cake of dough into the frying pan; when the bottom is golden after a few minutes (or less), flip it on the other side and immediately place another layer of dough on the one in the pan. You may have to add a small amount of oil to the pan after every few flips. Repeat this process until you have several layers of “Moflettot.” Once you’ve reached 5-8 layers, remove from the pan and repeat the same process. Traditionally served with butter or honey. B’tayavon and enjoy!

Tamar and Shani serve up Mofletta.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Making Art that Sells

Usually, Art class is about creative self expression, learning new techniques or studying the great masters. But a few weeks ago, at Akiba, it was about creating art that would raise money for the school. Students in grades 1-4 embarked on class projects that were featured at our Annual Benefit and Silent Auction.

The kids had a lot of fun working together and we're happy to report that all items did sell!