Ms. Surber’s 2000-2001 Class
4th Grade, Barron Park School


2000-2001 Class Statistics


Interesting Facts

On September 12, 2000 we recorded interesting facts about our class that were displayed in 81 bar graphs and Venn Diagrams in our room.


The Arrival of Our Families in California

WhenWhoFrom WhereTransportationTrip
1870 Sam London, England Ship, Train, Stagecoach4 weeks
12 Years Later
1882 Katie Terryville, CT Train8 days
5 Years Later
1887 Megan Buffalo, NY Boat2 months
30 Years Later
1917 Riley Waldorf, Germany Boat, Train, Car3 years
9 Years Later
1926 Ms. Surber West Brook, Texas Truck3 years
7 Years Later
1933 Mitchell Chicago, IL Car3 weeks
13 Years Later
1946 Hanna Chicago, IL Car3 days
4 Years Later
1950 Joy Swedesboro, New Jersey Car3 weeks
6 Years Later
1956 Tara Lucknow, India Ship30 days
12 Years Later
1968 Arman Frankfurt, Germany Airplane12 hours
3 Years Later
1971 Matthew J Groton, CT Car3 weeks
5 Years Later
1976 Daniel Israel Airplane26 hours
6 Years Later
1982 Anat Haifa, Israel Airplane22 hours
4 Years Later
1986 Ishan
Bombay, India
Orlando, FL
Airplane & Car
10 days
10 days
1987 Frank Shanghai, China Airplane10 hours
6 Years Later
1993 Anais Juarez, México Airplane6 hours
3 Years Later
1996 Valentin
Paris, France
Antony, France
15 hours
10 hours
1997 Kelsey Kansas City, KN Airplane6 hours
2 Years Later
1999 Matthew F
Harlinger, TX
Wellesley, MA
6 hours
6 hours
2000 Brian R
Brian W
José Luis
Pohang, Korea
Albany, NY
Hsin-Chu, Taiwan
Tel Aviv, Israel
Kiev, Ukraine
Alexandria, VA
Beijing, China
12 hours
8 hours
12 hours
24 hours
6 hours
5 days
7 hours
5 hours
18 hours
2001 Andres Arequipa, Peru Airplane10 hours


Monsters & Modern Art

In the Monsters segment of this multimedia project pairs of students in our class created portraits of monsters and wrote descriptions of the monsters. Students in our partner class at Walter Hays attempted to re-create our monsters after reading our descriptions while we did the same for theirs. Then we compared the original extraterrestrial portraits with the recreations and evaluated our descriptions.

In the Modern Art segment of this project pairs of students in our class wrote descriptions of modern art paintings. Students in our partner class at Walter Hays attempted to re-create our original paintings after reading our descriptions while we did the same for theirs. Then we compared the original paintings with the recreations and evaluated our descriptions. This part was much harder than the Monster part! Visit our Monsters & Modern Art webpages to see our project.


The Tulip Project

We joined classrooms all across North America in a telecommunication project to track the progress of spring by observing the emergence of tulips. Tulip Map Our class has been selected as one of the 13 "Official" Journey North Tulip Gardens. Our first activity was predicting what order the 13 Official Tulip Gardens would bloom. Our class prediction:

  1. Palo Alto, California
  2. Kingwood, Texas
  3. Franklin, Tennessee
  4. Bowie, Maryland
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah
  6. Hood River, Oregon
  7. Don Mills, Ontario
  8. Pequot Lakes, Minnesota
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Newport-on-Tay, Scotland
  11. Bad Kreuznach, Germany
  12. Anchorage, Alaska
  13. Utsjoki, Finland

Each student measured the circumference of a tulip bulb, weighed it, and then predicted when that bulb would emerge and bloom in relation to the rest of the class bulbs. We made sketches of our bulbs and learned about the parts of the bulb. We cut the extra bulbs in half and discovered that the bulbs are made up of many layers. We planted our bulbs on November 28th with a little stick to mark the placement of each bulb in the garden. We first noticed that our tulips had emerged on February 1st, about a week later than the Washington tulips. On February 1st most of our tulips were 1 to 3 inches tall. Unfortunately the weeds in our garden were about 8 inches tall! Our tulips finally bloomed on March 12th and are featured in the March 23rd Report. Here are the real bloom dates for the official gardens.

      # Location Date Bloomed
      1. Palo Alto, California March 12th
      2. Hood River, Oregon March 23rd
      3. Franklin, Tennessee March 27th
      4. Kingwood, Texas April 5th
      5. Bowie, Maryland April 6th
      6. Boston, Massachusetts April 24th
      7. Pequot Lakes, Minnesota April 28th
      8. Don Mills, Ontario April 30th
      9. Newport-on-Tay, Scotland   May 12th
        Anchorage, Alaska
Utsjoki, Finland
(No blooms yet)
(No blooms yet)
        Salt Lake City, Utah Deer ate tulip plants
        Bad Kreuznach, Germany No report filed

Our tulips are gone now, but we can still admire our inflatable French tulip indoors.


Social Studies

California Relief Maps: We sketched the major geographical features on large boards and modeled the mountains and valleys. After the "goop" dried, we painted the elevations and the surrounding states. Finally we located five important cities and made a key. We agreed that this was a fun and messy project! The finished maps are quite impressive.

Investigating Artifacts: In the first section of this unit we walked to Bol Park to collect natural materials which we sorted and classified and then used for a math lesson on Venn Diagrams. It was fun trying to guess the Secret Sorting Rule of each Venn Diagram. Then we made masks. In the second section we listened to myths, wrote our own myths, created posters to illustrate the myths, and shared our myths around a "campfire" in the Library. In the final section of the unit we excavated "middens" by carefully sieving the soil, cleaning the artifacts, and recording the spot where each artifact was discovered. The completed midden maps (another map) and museums helped us draw inferences about the culture from the artifacts we found.

California Explorers: Each group chose an explorer who was important in the history of California. Students made timelines of California and placed their explorers in time, made maps to show where the explorers traveled, drew portraits of what the explorers might have looked like, and wrote essays about the goals and accomplishments of the explorers. Then each group created a poster and made a presentation to the rest of the class. Explorers we learned about:

Mission Period: Each student chose one of the 21 California Missions as the topic of a research report. We learned how the Spanish changed the lives of the Native Californians and wrote letters from the perspective of a Native American who had joined a mission. Our final project was creating a HyperStudio stack to publish our reports.

Gold Rush: The Room 9 Gold Rush was a great success! Our miners struck it rich at the Bol Park Gold fields and then spent most of their money in our gold rush town. The California Mining Claims Assay Office was efficient and well organized. The Golden Bank did a booming business buying gold from the miners for $16.00 an ounce. Our hungry and thirsty miners didn't mind the high prices at The Sequoia Café, there was a good selection of goods at the Marvelous Miners Store, and the show performed by The Miners’ Entertainment Company was short but funny.



Our first math unit was "All About Us," an introductory statistics and graphing unit. We learned all sorts of interesting things about our class and organized our data with bar graphs and Venn Diagrams. We finished our second math unit, "Mathematical Thinking in 4th Grade," by creating mirror and rotational symmetry designs. (Symmetry Designs and More Symmetry Designs). In our third math unit, "Arrays and Shares," we practiced our multiplication facts through 12x12 and worked on multiplication and division problems. In our fourth math unit, "Landmarks in the Thousands," we investigated our number system by working with problems in the 100s and 1000s. The final activity for this unit was making a 10,000 chart. Our fifth math unit was "Area and Perimeter." We figured the area and perimeter of our feet, discovered the different perimeters possible for one area and the different areas possible for one perimeter. In "Equal Shares, Different Pieces," we explored fractions. In "Money, Miles, and Large Numbers" we worked with decimal numbers. The final project for this unit was to figure out how to measure a quarter of a mile. In the "Packages and Groups" unit we practiced multiplication and division with two and three digit numbers. In our final math unit, "Seeing Solids and Silhouettes," we learned to visualize 3-D objects. The final project for this unit was creating an object from about 60 cubes and then writing a direction packet for recreating the object.



Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell, helped us understand the life of the Chumash. We illustrated our favorite parts of the book captioned with a quote from the novel. We wrote poems using similes (a favorite literary device of Scott O’Dell) and created crayon and water color art projects featuring organisms from the book (four watercolors and four more watercolors) . For our final activity we watched the movie adaptation of the book and discussed the similarities and differences.

Babe, the Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith, was fun to read even though the dialect was often difficult to understand. We learned many new vocabulary words about sheep herding and discovered how being brave and polite can lead to success. The final activity for this book was to create ribbons (two examples & two more) summarizing how each character helped Babe achieve his goal.

Swans The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, was a nice mix of realism and fiction. We learned how difficult it is for trumpeter swans to launch themselves into the air and made sketches of the three stages of flight. We created advertising posters for Camp Kookooskoos and wrote newspaper articles about the theft of the trumpet. After finishing the book we made shields with emblems representing Louis (two examples & two more), and wrote essays about the characteristics which helped him succeed despite his handicap of being born without a voice. We also made many, many origami swans!



Water: Our first science unit was the study of water. We observed several properties of water: surface tension, rate of flow, and expansion/contraction with changes in temperature. We also investigated how location and surface area influence the rate of evaporation and explored condensation. We investigated what happens when water flows over different Earth materials and tested water from home. The final activity of our study of Water was a Water Taste Test comparing five different types of water.

Magnetism & Electricity: In this unit we experimented with magnetism, conductivity, series and parallel circuits, and electromagnets. The final activity of our study of Magnetism & Electricity was for pairs of students to chose a questions and design an experiment to investigate the question.

Frog Animal Studies: In this life science unit we observed and cared for Dwarf African Frogs, Fiddler Crabs, and Land Snails for five weeks. We learned many interesting things by watching our animals and learning to take accurate observational notes. The final activity was a group project to investigate a question about our animals.

  1. How long do our frogs hold their breath?
  2. How does our male crab eat without a feeding chela? How long does he stay in the burrow?
  3. Where do our crabs like to spend most of their time in the habitat?
  4. How long will it take our snails to travel 12 inches?
  5. When does our crab wave his claw and for how long?
  6. How far can our snails travel in two minutes? (snail race)



Name Bugs: These art pieces (NameBugs and More NameBugs) illustrate the work we are doing with mirror symmetry, contrasting colors, and positive and negative space.

Native American Symbols: After studying Native Americans we created works featuring animals like the bison and the thunderbird.

Houses: Created with white paint and chalk, this class series included houses, castles, and alternate living spaces.

Day of the Dead Skulls: After admiring prints by José Guadalupe Posada and Mexican Folk sculptures created to accompany the celebrations during Day of the Dead festivities, we created skulls modeled after Mexican sugar skulls. Our skulls were made of clay, and glow in the dark!

Rouault Court: We made self portraits in the style of Georges Rouault, who was a stained glass artist before becoming a painter.


Theme Days

Backwards Day: On this theme day we sat backwards, wrote our names backwards, and did our daily schedule backwards.

Crazy Hair and Hat Day: On January 24th there were lots of crazy looking heads in Room 9!

Read Across America and Pajama Day: On March 2nd we celebrated reading by reading to ourselves and each other for most of the day. We rearranged our classroom so that we could lounge comfortably in our pajamas while reading.

Stuffed Animal Day: March 21st was Stuffed Animal Day. We sorted graphed the animals in our room by type, color, and size and wrote newspaper articles about the animals in Room 9. Here are the animals for each seating group:

Jump Rope for Heart: On April 25th we Jumped Rope for Heart with our Constellation Groups.

Crazy Clothes Day: On May 30th there were some very silly looking outfits in Room 9!


Website for Ms. Surber’s Current Class


Pawprint This page created by Lucinda Surber. Pawprint Page completed August 1, 2001. Pawprint

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