About David Bonner

Posts by David Bonner:

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

Adopt a Planet Project


Planet of solar system

Study resources can be found at the bottom of this post.

We are studying space this semester in science.  The current project is to “Adopt a Planet”.  Students were given an opportunity to select a planet of their choice (other than Earth).  Each student was able to get their first or second choice.

At the end of this project, your student should be able to:

  • Name each of the planets in order from the Sun starting with Mercury.
  • Explain why Pluto is no longer a planet.
  • Explain how an orbit works (or why the Suns gravity doesn’t suck planets in vs why the planets don’t hurl off into space).
  • Be able to recall two or three facts about each planet. (i.e. it has rings, moons, size, composition, etc.)
  • For their adopted planet, they should be able to answer as many of these questions as possible:
    • Name and correct spelling of the planet.
    • Distance from the sun (either in Miles, Km, or AU)
    • Time for one complete revolution (How long is a year on that planet?)
    • Time for one complete rotation (How long is a day on that planet?)
      • Know the difference between a revolution and rotation
    • Size of planet (either in Miles, Km, or relative to Earth)
    • What is the mass of the planet (or how much would it weigh on Earth?)
    • Bonus:  What is the density of the planet?
    • What is the surface of the planet like?
      • Does it have an atmosphere?  If so, what is it made of?
      • Is it possible to land a space ship on the planet surface? (or is it a gas giant with nowhere to land?)
      • What are some of the surface features of the planet?  Is it rocky, stormy, etc?
      • Is it hot, cold, or both?
      • How much would you weigh on the planet?
    • Does the planet have any external features such as moons or rings?
    • When was the planet first observed, and by whom?
    • Name some fun facts about the planet.
    • Have humans ever sent a probe or lander to the planet?  What about current or future missions?
      • For bonus points, be able to name the missions, the purpose of the mission, and find photos from the missions.
    • How was the planet named?
    • Know the Roman God/Goddess mythology of the planet (and the Greek counterpart if any)

After we learn about our planets, students will be asked to plan a scientific mission to the planet (or moon of the planet).  The mission must be based on known facts about the planet and be 100% based on reality.  Creativity can be expressed in how the mission is planned.  You will need to come up with a question to ask.  For example, “Is there life on Neptune?”  Are you going to send an unmanned probe or a team of human scientists?  What tools, equipment, and resources will you need?  How will you overcome obstacles (like great distance to the planet, severe temperatures, lack of a surface to land on, high winds, and poisonous atmosphere)?

Ok, so I won’t let you make up stuff for your scientific mission, but you get to here.  Imagine that there might be alien life on your planet.  Using what you know about the planet, describe in words and draw what it might look like.  How does it get energy? (Eating/drinking, solar power, wind power, or some other source?)  Where does it live? (on the surface, under the surface, in the air?)  How does it communicate?  Is it intelligent?  What cool things can it do?  How does it move around?  Is it possible to communicate with it?


Note:  There is a LOT of material to cover here.  I don’t expect each student to be able to answer every question.  I’m looking for each student to do their personal best on this project. As we go along, I will give each student an opportunity to tell me how they would like to be assessed.  It must be realistic.  Here are some options:

  • Write a paper with all of the facts (at least 1 page).
  • Orally answer questions as I ask them.
  • Make a crossword puzzle with facts about the planet (minimum of 10 facts)
  • Make a Powerpoint presentation (minimum 10 slides plus title)
  • Draw a picture or make a model of the surface or some other feature of the planet based on fact
  • Make a video of a weather report on the planet.  I can help set up the cameras and edit, but students need to come up with their own props, facts, and visuals.
  • I’m open to creative suggestions.



http://nineplanets.org/ (more advanced than the link above)







Here are some songs to help you learn the names and features of the planets:

Here is a playlist of videos about our solar system:




  • 123