Krebs' Class Blogs

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

November 15, 2012
by Denise Krebs

We Did it for American Cancer Society

from iClipart for Iowa Schools

Wow! In just six weeks, junior highers made a huge mark! On September 13, we wrote a blog post called, “American Cancer Fundraisers.” In that post they shared their brainstormed list of ideas, which was quite ambitious.

In reality, what they did was even more ambitious! They made a lot of money, but even better, they shared their genius, persevered, fought cancer, and more than reached their goals!

In their beautiful words, I’ll let the students tell you about our successes. Click on their names to read their whole blog posts.

  • Madi – “We all worked together to make as much money as possible.”
  • Mason – “We earned money for the ACS this year and we did a lot of ways.”
  • Paige – “We had a bake sale, petting zoo, babysitting, casual day and a ribbon of faith.”
  • Sierra – “We made a Ribbon of Faith where we put survivors or people that died fighting against cancer.”
  • Jordan – “These are all the fundraisers we did for the ACS. Ribbon of Faith-$294,30. Petting Zoo and Horse Racing Games-$450. Casual day-$118,20. Coin Drive-$322,54. Babysitting-$48. Bake Sale and Raffles-$544.86.”
  • Thomas – “We raised a total of $1778.90 for cancer research.”
  • Dustin – “On Wednesday October 31, Our school held a Relay Recess.”
  • Jason – “My school hosted a Relay Recess in Honor and in Memory of those that have had cancer.”
  • Cooper – “We had education stations for all of the kids. We taught them how to prevent cancer. It was a fun day.”
  • MaKenna – “The stations we had were
    • Sun safety
    • Tobacco Awareness
    • Healthy Eating
    • Physical Activity”
  • Kaylee – “These activities were really fun for us to plan and the kids had  a lot of fun learning.”
  • Joey – “the 7th and 8th graders would teach the kids how to stay healthy and teach them not to do bad things to their body”
  • Anna P – “We also did an activity of doing twenty jumping jacks and then breathing through a straw with your fingers pinching your nose shut so you can not breath out of it. This shows how it is like to breath when you are a smoker.”
  • Kennedy – “We had 10 cancer survivors come and walk with us.”
  • Anna – “This year we had Shawn D. and his son come to play games and to play music for us.We had a bouncy house for the little kids…”
  • Jade – “We asked 7th and 8th graders to bring baked goods and we sold them.”
  • Lucas – “We all had different colors. 8th graders had purple and the 7th graders were yellow.”
  • John
  • David
  • Brian – “This fundraiser was very educational for all the kids that were involved and also for the adults that have had or are fighting cancer.”
  • Deven – “The 4-6 graders came and we had a lap for the survivors and then we had a free time with the DJ and the bouncy house we rented.”
  • Atze – “Doing this meant a lot to me because I know people who are cancer survivors and those who lost the battle.  I am one of the lucky ones, a doctor found out that I had it before it got really bad and cut the cancerous skin off my body. “
  • Lauren – “We are just one small eighth grade class with a maximum amount of 17 people but we a raised over 1,750 dollars! Now that’s success.”
  • Jared – “We are only a piece of the puzzle for the cure for cancer.”

I’m very proud of each of them!


November 10, 2012
by Denise Krebs
1 Comment

We Used the Bugscope Again

Seventh graders used the Bugscope, an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We were able to use our laptop computers to control the microscope and chat with the scientists about what we were seeing.

One of the questions a student asked was, what is nanoscale? I should have shown this TED-Ed video called What is Nano? before we used the Bugscope, but we did watch it later. You can watch it here:

We were all intrigued by just how far we could zoom in on the insect parts. We were going deep into nanoscale.

You can view the archive of our session. Scroll down to 10:14 a.m. in the archive and you can actually see what we saw.

Here are the students’ blog posts about their Bugscope experience…






November 9, 2012
by Denise Krebs

What if all 50 States Were NOT Winner-Take-All?

We were curious. And curiosity is a genius thing, so we did something about it.

Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that divide up their electoral votes according to the proportion of votes each candidate receives.

We decided to see how the electoral college of 2012 would have been different if all 50 states used proportional voting.

Here’s how our map came out:

We finished up at the end of class, just about at the bell. We have a few errors to fix on Monday and some questions to find answers to. However, right now it appears that there is a tie in electoral votes with 267 each for Obama and Romney, along with 4 others that we weren’t sure what to do with.

On Monday, we will continue our curiosity and see what answers we can find.

So, here we are on Monday. There were a few mistakes — an extra vote we had to take away from Romney in NJ and Nebraska, and we had to give Romney another electoral vote in Nevada. We also forgot to add in the three electors from Washington, D.C. There was also at least one addition error. So here’s what we have, our official (and incomplete) voting results if the electors voted based on the popular vote.

  • Obama 269
  • Romney 266
  • Undecided – 1 each in Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania

However, if it’s left at that, we still don’t have a president, as a candidate needs at least 270. Since Obama won two of those states and Romney won in one, we could give the delegate to the state winners, as it might be done in Nebraska and Maine. (Here is more information about the electoral college.)

When we add in the undecideds, then our official results look like this, and President Obama would be declared the winner:

  • Obama 271
  • Romney 267

We did learn that in a close election it is extremely important to be completely accurate. We had to check and double-check the proportions of the popular votes when we assigned the electors and the addition of the electors in each of the Obama and Romney columns.

Here is another map, not nearly as close, based on the #KidVote collaborative event we were part of:


This is the official map of the 2012 Electoral College from

What do you think about the way we count the votes in a U.S. presidential election?

Is there a better way to determine who wins the election?

November 6, 2012
by Denise Krebs

Animals in Capitivity, Inspired by The One and Only Ivan

“I love the idea that some of you have been moved to think a little bit differently about how we treat animals, and for that I’m most grateful.”

~Katherine Applegate

We were inspired by our friends Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan, and other students in Ontario and Massachusetts to really research and ask questions about animals in captivity. Thanks to all of you for asking good questions and helping us develop arguments.

Here are some blog posts for and against animals in captivity:

Enjoy this Q&A session with Katherine Applegate:

November 5, 2012
by Denise Krebs

#KidVote Mock Election

We are up to our elbows in the presidential election! We are learning how to handle the ballots with fidelity so each person has the opportunity to cast just one vote.

We realized this morning we had to open our poll early, since two-thirds of our high school is on a field trip tomorrow (the official election day). We got started early this morning, and 81 people voted today.

The polls will be open again tomorrow, and then we will report the results on the Kid Vote page.

UPDATE: We added the results of our school’s election here.

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