Krebs' Class Blogs

Constructing, creating, communicating, collaborating, and thinking critically in grade 5.

April 20, 2011
by Denise Krebs

Filling Our Iowa School with the Gulf Oil Spill

As a teacher, I delight when I can answer a question with, “I don’t know, but let’s find out!” What is even better is when students enthusiastically join the pandemonium!

Today is the one-year anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday my science students and I listened to an informative webinar with Jeff Corwin from Animal Planet and the Siemens STEM Academy. Here is a link to the webinar archive. (You may need to sign up for an account if you don’t already have a free login to the STEM Academy. It’s a great resource for STEM teachers!)

Jeff talked about the experiences he had with last spring’s oil spill. He was working as a reporter, but because he and his team were qualified to work in hazardous waste cleanup, they were also able to rescue hundreds of animals. He showed us heart-breaking pictures of stranded oil-clogged animals. He gave us good news, though–80% of the animals rescued were eventually released back into the wild.

When we heard that 206,000,000 gallons of oil were released into the Gulf over the almost three-month period between April 20 and July 15, 2010, we were shocked. Vanessa exclaimed, “Wow! That’s a lot. How much do you think that is? Like how many times do you think that would have filled our school?”

“Good question! Let’s find out!”

So, we did. We got out the measuring tapes and measured the interior of our school. Length times width times height. Figuring volume when it matters is a great way to do math.

We figured the volume of three rectangular prisms: the main two-story wing of the school, the gym, and the kitchen and locker rooms. Then we added them all together to get the total cubic feet: 392,994.

OK, now what?

We needed to get the two numbers into the same units. We needed a converter. “Google it,” said Paris. She “googled” it and found a conversion. We found that 1 cubic foot = 7.4805 gallons.

Our school is 392,994 cubic feet. So how many gallons is that? On the first attempt, we divided 342,994 / 7.4805. The answer was 52,536 gallons. “Our school holds 52,536 gallons.”

“Hmmm! That’s odd. It holds less gallons than cubic feet?”

“No, it should be more.”

“We need to multiply!”

392,994 x 7.4805 = 2,939,791. Our school can hold approximately 2.9 million gallons. It would have been nearly filled with oil in just one day of the oil spill last spring. Gross! The warm, sticky oil filling every crack of our school in just one day.

One more math problem…

206,000,000 total gallons / 2,939,791 gallons our school holds = 70.07

We were sad to discover that BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill of 2010 would have filled our school 70 times.

“Now can we find out how large the Empire State Building is and get the volume of that?”


April 14, 2011
by Denise Krebs

We, the People: Preamble to the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America.

The Supreme Law of the Land.

Eighth graders have been studying the history of this important document and memorizing the preamble.

In the words of the Constitution: “We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

One project the students did was to restate the preamble in their own words, which helped our understanding as we memorized it. Here are the works of their minds and hands for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

Most students chose to work with paper.

Melissa's PreambleMany papers were yellowed and scorched, looking aged and authentic. I scanned these and shared them at here.

Thanks to Mr. Rickett and his 4th Quarter Wish List, I tried to share the files. It is an easy and useful app to try.

Here is Crystal’s Glogster.

Ashley prepared a Google Presentation with her rewrite of the Preamble.

And finally, I’ve included my favorite video about the Preamble to the Constitution. I love when Barney Fife tries to  remember the Preamble he memorized in high school.

More Preamble Videos.

Thanks for visiting and viewing our class blog! My students enjoy contributing their work to the world, and we love to receive comments too. Thank you!

April 9, 2011
by Denise Krebs

Can You Read My Rebus?

Rebus from

I know many of you can relate to the message in the rebus above! A fellow student challenger’s post inspired me. Michaela’s picture sentence made me think of a site that makes cool rebus puzzles.

Try making your own and other cool word art at The name for this fun site can be hard to remember, but I usually think of the word festival, which means a celebration or party. Then I can remember the name, for this site is a festival of word art!

Try all the fun stuff, but here are directions for using the rebus maker. When you first go to the site, you’ll see this menu bar. Scroll over with the right arrow.

click here

Next, choose Text Layout and Rebus:
Screen shot 2011-04-09 at 3.04.22 PM

Delete the default message.

Delete the default text.

Add your own message and click on “Layout Text.”

Add your message and click to make a rebus.

Your rebus comes up on a new screen…

Rebus that says, "Write your own message here." Can you see it?

This rebus says, "Write your own message here." Can you see it?

Here is another one for you to try. Click on it to make it larger.

What is the message in this rebus?

The second word in the last puzzle is “is”? Can anyone figure out why? I can’t. Please leave a comment and explain if you can help us.

Also, after you decode it, please leave a comment to answer the question?

Visit a Glogster about for more fun!

April 3, 2011
by Denise Krebs

Week 5 Challenge

Week 5 Blogging Challenge is all about using images correctly. We will use correctly attributed images on all our blogging, and this week’s challenge is a great resource!

We have a very busy week ahead getting ready for TSA and TFJO! Therefore, we’ll KAHbe doing some class-wide challenge activities and, of course, you can continue with blogging on your own as you connect and contribute to the world!

Congratulations to the following students who made it to the Week 4 Visit These page.

8th Graders: Brittany, Lucas, Ashley, Leah, Melissa, Allison, Nicole, Kim, Ryan
7th Graders: Jason, Justin, Grace, Vanessa, Andrew, Paris, Jaci, Shiann, Krayton

Kids Against Hunger photo by DVIDSHUB on Flickr shared with CC Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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