Category Archives: Henningsen Blog

EY updates for Prairie Lane and Swanson

Hello! Here are some updates from EY!

Wrap up Q 3 Science Olympiad-Many of your children attended the Science Olympaid last week at the CCC. The event was a great success, and I am happy that so many of our students choose to participate. There were science challenges for all levels of students, and the hands on activities kept the students engaged throughout the day. The sessions were run by guest scientists, WHS science club members, and ESU # 3 staff. The team events were Pasta Bridge, Catapults, Estamania, Sink or Float, Metric, Mystery Boxes,  and Write It Do It.

Click here for pictures and videos from the event.

Q 4 Topic and Theme-The umbrella concept for Q4 is CONNECTIONS. We will study connections within social studies/history. The grade 5 an 6 students will study a historical event and then create Peabody and Sherman skit to alter history in some way. The students will format the scripts using Mensa for Kids as a guide.  Our grade 4 students will choose a historical event to research and create “Was it Possible” keynotes to share with the grade 4 classes.

Wordly Wise-We will continue Wordly Wise each week. I have been encouraging the students to use complete sentences when doing the response questions. These questions are sometime quite difficult, and I appreciate the extra time and effort from the students. If your child is having difficulty with the passage, please ask him/her to take the time to reread. This second reading will often make a huge difference.

Math Olympiad-Our 5th Math Olympiad contest is wrapping up. The contest is timed and the students only have 30 min to complete the problems.  After the contest, we spend quite a bit of time going over solutions and strategies for each problem. Some groups worked on solving the problems last week and some will do that this week. This time is valuable. After I provide a few hits, or strategies, they are able to work through problems that they perceive as “IMPOSSIBLE” and the kids are often quite proud.

Often the contest will start with a problem that most of the children can do by drawing a picture or making a table:

SAMPLE PROBLEM: How many combinations of pennies, nickels and/or dimes are there with a total value of 25 cents? 

The problems progress in difficulty.

SAMPLE PROBLEM: A four-digit perfect square integer is created by placing two positive two-digit perfect square integers next to each other. What is the four-digit square integer?

Try the above problems with your child at home! I’ll put the answers at the end of the post.


Math Contest-Grade 5 and 6-Brownell Talbot hosts a math contest for grade 5 and 6 math students each spring. We can only take 3 teams of 5 students. The combined scores on the Math Olympiad Contests will be used determine the 15 participants. The Brownell Contest will take place on Thursday, May 1 after school. I will send home permission slips before spring break.


Grade 4 Math-Grade 4 students will continue working on Khan through the end of April. Please remind your son/daughter to spend time at home working through the lessons, videos, and practice problems. I have taught all of the grade 5 skills, with the exception of decimal division. We will spend the next few weeks doing mini lessons over this.


Answers to math problems are below so stop scrolling if you want to try them!





SAMPLE PROBLEM: How many combinations of pennies, nickels and/or dimes are there with a total value of 25 cents? (answer: 12 combinations)

SAMPLE PROBLEM: A four-digit perfect square integer is created by placing two positive two-digit perfect square integers next to each other. What is the four-digit square integer? (answer: 1681)


Innovation Updates, Conferences, and Contest Opportunity

Update Grade 4

The end of the quarter is here, and we are wrapping up our 3rd quarter science theme “innovation”. Grade 4 students have been exploring innovations and inventions. They are also working very hard on grade 5 math concepts using Khan and mini lessons taught by me during our EY time. Each week the kids set a personal goal on Khan. Our final goal is to have all 100 % of the grade 5 concepts mastered by the end of April.  When you get a chance, ask your child about his/her Grade 5 Khan %.   We finished up all of our fraction lessons last week, and will spend the month of March working on decimals.  We will do the 5th Math Olympiad Contest next week. Wordly Wise units will continue during the 4th quarter. Please remind your child to complete the “Fields of Science” assignment on the EY blog if he/she is interested in attending the science event at the CCC on March 25th.

Update Grade 5/6

The grade 5/6 students have been learning about science using the innovations presented in Nova’s “Making Stuff” series . The grade 5/6 students will share keynotes outlining new learnings. The grade 5 and 6 students have also been working on lessons in Wordly Wise. I like correcting the units with the children since we spend time on the problems that might not have one right answer. This time gives the children a chance to support his/her answer and do a bit of debating. We will do the 5th Math Olympiad Contest next week. Please remind your child to complete the “Fields of Science” assignment on the EY blog if he/she is interested in attending the science event at the CCC on March 25th.


I will split my conference time between Prairie Lane and Swanson. I plan on being at Swanson on Tuesday from 1-4:30 and PL from 5-8:00. On Wednesday, I will be at Swanson from 1:00-4:00 and will be at PL in the evening. I will try to make as many of the classroom conferences as I can. These times may not work for your family, so please send me an email if you would like to set up a time to meet, or we could also do a phone conference if you would like!

Contest Opportunity

Google is offering a doodling contest for students that connects with our theme “Innovation”

     This year we’re asking K-12 students to create their doodles based on the theme “If I  Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” To enter the competition simply download the application form, print it, doodle your version of the Google logo based off this year’s theme and submit online or by mail.The due date for submission is March 20th.

This would be something fun to check out over the weekend.

Thank you for all of your support!






EY Update Feb

******Science and Math Opportunities*******

Opportunity # 1

EVENT: EY Science Olympiad at CCC

Date: 4/25/14

Fee: To attend students must complete the assignment

“Fields of Science” found @

Due date: March 3rd, 2014

I plan on going over the “Field of Science” assignment with the kids this upcoming week. Attending the Science Olympiad is not mandatory, but if your child wants to attend on the 25th of March, the assignment above is the “ticket in the door”.

Opportunity # 2

Young Scientist Challenge

Who knows…we may have a young scientist out there ready to change the world! Check this out if your child has an interest in this area.

It looks like the contest is due April 22 and there are several resources on the site including previous winners, insider tips, science lesson plans, and experiments. ]


Opportunity # 3


PhET is a site filled with free online physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and math simulations.  Find a simulation or two or three or four by clicking on the link below.  When you leave a comment, list the name of the simulation(s) you explored and then share something new you learned.  Playing the simulation might also prompt you to do a little more research on the topic.  List that information as well!

Click on a simulation and then click Run Now!  Have fun exploring!


   EY Math Opportunity

We took the 4th Math Olympiad this week.   We will work through strategies to solve the contest problems next week, and I will offer follow up problems that will allow the children to practice!

Sample problem from the contest:Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 9.58.34 AM


EY Update


We did the third Math Olympiad this week. There are 5 questions on the contest, and each one presented a different challenge.  The last question was a logic problem where letters represent numbers, and it was extra tricky!  We will work on strategies for tackling this type of problem, as well as the other contest problems next week.
This is an similar problem to work out at home!

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 11.12.36 AM

Solution can be found at

The EY blog will have a new science link posted each week during the third quarter. This week the direct link is

Accessing the blog will be the same each week.  The link above will take you right to the post, but you can also go to and then click on Concepts -> Q3 Innovation and find the newest post at the top.

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend.





Programming Resources-Check these out!

We have lots of kids who are super interested in programming, and I just know we have a few app developers in our midst!  How cool would that be?!

On the iPad…

1. Cargo-Bot: Free on iTunes
This app has students writing programs that control a robotic arm to move, sort, and stack colored crates.  The computer language is simple enough for younger kids, but challenging for even middle school kids.

2. Hopscotch: Free on iTunes
This app is a great introduction to programming for kids.

3. Move the Turtle: $2.99 on iTunes
Teaches students the basics of programming (actual coding)

4. Daisy the Dinosaur: Free on iTunes
Similar to Hopscotch

On the computer…

5. Scratch: Download for free at
Great programming environment for kids!  This is a must!

6. Codecademy: Learn programming on the web with interactive tutorials.  Create an account at and then choose from JavaScript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Phython, Ruby and APIs.  (note from Mrs Spady: I have done this with my 2nd and 4th grader, but I usually have to sit down next to them and help them through it.  It’s a little higher level, but doable.)

7. Another great online resource to learn programming.

8. Khan Academy:  Yet another great online resource to learn about computer programming.

EY updates


The district Spelling Bee was held on Dec 6th and it was an exciting event. Several of the EY students participated,  and all of the contestants made it through the written round into the oral competition. Dylan from Prairie Lane took 3rd place in the Elementary Division. Great job spellers!  For those who has a passion for spelling, or would like to get a start studying for next year, and are fun resources to check out.

We have started the district elementary Geography bees. All students were given a quiz and the top students from each building will participate in the bee.  There are some great geography games @

During our reading EY times, we have moved on from the strategy theme and are on to communication.  We have been discussing several literary devices, enriching what they are also learning  in the classroom.  This involves the creative side of their brains, which is fun to see.  We have some that really are able to think outside the box, for others it is a bit of a stretch.  But it is always good to step outside of your comfort zone now and then. We are continuing to do Wordly Wise each week, and it is fun to play with the words and the meanings.

We completed our first Math Olympiad competition in late November. This is a test we take in class each month from November to March.  I was impressed with the scores and enjoyed listening to the strategies for solving the problems.  We took the second one this week and will go over strategies to solve the problems next week.

The grade 5 and 6 mathclub students worked on handshake math problems recently.

Seven mathematicians met up one week.
The first mathematician shook hands with all the others.
The second one shook hands with all the others apart from the first one (since they had already shaken hands).
The third one shook hands with all the others apart from the first and the second mathematicians, and so on, until everyone had shaken hands with everyone else.

How many handshakes were there altogether?

We learned that we can make on organized list or make a table to find a patternScreen Shot 2013-12-10 at 9.58.52 AM

We also talked about drawing a diagram or acting it out. We decided if there were a few people in the room, all of these would work great, but when the number of people increased, these strategies would take too long.  A a group, we worked on a formula to solve these types of problems and decided that we would use Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 9.53.15 AMScreen Shot 2013-12-10 at 9.50.30 AMScreen Shot 2013-12-10 at 9.50.30 AM

As an extension, we worked out how to find the number of diagonals in a polygon using a similar formulaScreen Shot 2013-12-10 at 10.03.24 AM

Here are some online math contest practice sites to try out!

Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.



Writing Contest


We started a story map and brainstorming session for a writing contest. The students will work on this story during EY time next week. I will have them turn in rough drafts the week of Nov 11th.  The final drafts will need to be typed, so if your child would like to type the rough draft that would be great! This is a fun topic and it has been fun to hear about the heroes and the superpowers.


Click link below for writing contest guidelines

Math contest prep activities at Khan:


Have a great weekend.