Independence Academy Students


If you are an Independence Academy student, you’re in the wrong place. Please go to:



Turtle Power!

Click on the Turtle to start programming



  • Rectangle
  • Triangle (hint: how many corners does a triangle have?)
  • Star: (hint: draw it first on paper)
  • Circle
  • Write your name or initials
  • Draw a house, tree, or other real object
  • Draw a rainbow with the correct colors
  • Draw a cool, abstract pattern.


There is a more advanced version of Turtle that can do a lot more, but it’s also a LOT harder to learn.  Once you get really good at the easy version, you might want to try the harder one.  The link is here.



5th Grade Science: Ecosystems


You will need to use these websites to fill out the worksheet I gave you.  Clicking on the link might be easier than typing the entire website.

Try this link for grassland biomes.

Try this link for forest biomes.

Try this link for aquatic (water) biomes.

If you can’t find the information you need, you can use a Google search.  For example, you could Google, biotic factors in freshwater lakes.

Students will compare these different ecosystems in terms of biotic and abiotic components.

Examples of biotic factors are the types and numbers of organisms living in the ecosystem.

Examples of abiotic factors are amount of sunlight, temperature, soil, nutrients, salinity, water clarity, or depth, all of which affect the variety and abundance of species.




Making Music


Today I shared a song I wrote for you.  Writing a song is no different than writing a story.  Fluency comes with practice.  When you write a good story, it has character development, a climax or two, and it connects with the reader in some way.  Each instrument part I write into a song is like a character that interacts with the other characters to tell a story.

If you want to hear the song I played for you today, click HERE.

If you want to hear all of the songs I’ve written, click HERE.

Anyone can write their own song.  You have a program called Garage Band on your laptops that you can write your own music with.  Start with something simple and see how it sounds.  If you make a mistake, it’s really easy to fix on a computer.

Here is what my computer looks like.  It’s a lot fancier than Garage Band, but it really does the same thing:


If you’re interested in details, here is the equipment I use to make music:



Three Branches of Government


We are doing a research project on the three branches of Federal Government (United States) and State Government (Indiana).

You will be completing three tasks for this assignment:

  1. Complete the worksheet on U.S. Federal Government and Indiana State Government.
  2. Type your facts.
  3. Design a fold out guide with facts about each branch.  It will look something like this:

gov project

Here are some resources to help you find the information you need for the worksheet:

  • There is a “Your Indiana State Government” packet in our classroom that you can use.  It has a lot of facts about Indiana government.
  • Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government is a great website for information on the Federal Government.
  • Finding your Senators and Representatives will depend on where you live.   This link will help you find your senators and representatives: FIND YOUR SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE.  You will need to know your home address and zip code. If you don’t know your zip code, you can find it here by typing in your address, city, and state.:  FIND YOUR ZIP CODE

These links will help you find information about the Federal Government:


indiana flag

Woolly Mammoth Hunt!


To begin our study of Ancient History, we read about a man who was preserved in ice for 5,000 years called Iceman.  Very little is known about Iceman except for what he carried with him and what X-Rays later revealed about his life and death.

If you’re interested in learning more facts about Iceman, there’s an excellent link here.  We now know what type of food he ate and what time of year he died.  If you want to learn more about how scientists determined what his life was like, click on the link.

Ice Man

One of the artifacts found with Iceman was a partially constructed bow and arrow.  Of course our class wanted to build bows and arrows.

mammoth0  mammoth3



As you can see, the hunt was successful and no actual animals became extinct!  We learned how hard it is to use a bow and arrow, and we learned why people hunted large game in groups.

Were Woolly Mammoths the only thing that people from 5,000 years ago hunted?  Were all mammoths woolly?  Were there mammoths even bigger than the Woolly Mammoth?  To find out, you’ll have to click on this link with 10 facts about the woolly mammoth.

Parents, before you can say, “you’ll shoot your eye out”, let me explain why I gave 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders a piece of technology capable of taking down a ten-ton rampaging woolly beast on a frozen tundra.  First of all, I spent a great deal of time thinking of ways to make it safe and what could possibly go wrong.  I’m sure any of them would have taken a shot at a live squirrel if given a chance.  In my search for the perfect safe arrow I consulted a few experts on the subject including one young medieval weapons expert who can often be found marching around his house in tin foil knight armor.  I experimented with various forms of projectiles and ended up just wrapping up newsprint (newspaper) into a roll and then taping it.  Just to be sure, several of the teachers took turns being the woolly mammoth to see what it felt like.  We weren’t skilled enough to actually hit each other, but we felt confident that it’s not possible to actually get hurt by being hit with newspaper.  It may be startling and probably not feel great, but it crumples up.  Additionally, we had a long talk about safety, and all of the kids did a really great job following those rules.

To make the bow, I cut 1/2″ PVC pipes into 4′ sections, drilled holes near each end for the nylon string, then used pipe insulation foam for the grip.  There are two types of white pvc pipe.  Use the lighter, thinner one if the bow will be used with kids.  It doesn’t have as much force when launching an arrow.  Attaching the string took some trial and error.  Woven nylon string was the only thing that didn’t break.  Feed the string through one hole and push enough through to wrap around the pipe five or six times before you tie it off.  When attaching the other end, push the bow down to bend it, wrap it six times, and see if there is at least 14″ of space between the bow and handle.  If not, unwrap and adjust.  The nylon will stretch a bit then settle in.  You don’t want the string too close to the handle or you’ll whack your fingers with the string.  Trust me, that’s no fun!  If you want to build one and have questions, I’d love to help.

paper arrow


Water Rockets!

Vocabulary Game


Match the prefix to the correct word:  Click on the picture to begin.


Our class was on TV!


Click on the first link and skip ahead to 1:38 to see our class in action at the library:

Who Are Your Legislators?


We are studying Indiana government.  You will need this link to find your senators and representatives:


You will need to know your home address and zip code.  If you don’t know your zip code, you can find it here by typing in your address, city, and state.:


indiana flag