The Campfire Chronicles

reported by Miss Camp

January 18, 2002

For a quick link to a specific area of the newsletter, click on an item.
Scout of the Week Reader Buddies of the Week Journey to the Write Stuff
Martian Weather Report Postcards from Pluto T-Chart of Mars vs. Earth
Orbiting the Classroom Titan 4 Launches

Ryan Str.

Ryan Str. is our Scout of the Week because he took a new risk with his writing this week! As Ryan has listened to The Hobbit being read-aloud, he has become familiar with the idea of building suspense (“leaving the reader hanging”). This week, as he wrote a new story, he experimented with building suspense – with “leaving the reader hanging!”

In his story, two brothers are snowboarding and one has an accident. “His brother went to a pay phone and dialed 911. The ambulance couldn’t find him or his snowboard.” The suspense builds! “Suddenly, his hand came from under the snow.” ...

The more Ryan wrote, the more he realized how fun it was to build suspense! He gave his best effort and took pride in his work.

In addition, Ryan is working hard on making good choices in the classroom.

Congratulations Ryan!

Brennan and Stephen

Miss Camp’s third graders and Miss Hover’s first graders buddy up every Friday afternoon for reading together. Sometimes the third graders read to the first graders, and sometimes it’s the other way around!

This week Brennan (Miss Camp’s class) and Stephen (Miss Hover’s class) were Reader Buddies. As Brennan read a story to Stephen, Brennan pointed to each word as he said it. This helped Stephen to follow along. At the end of every page, Stephen made a prediction about what would happen on the next page.

By the time they started their second book, which they chose together, they were lying next to each other on the floor with their heads close together in the book! They used quiet voices and had a fun time reading.

Congratulations Brennan and Stephen!

Linnaeus West has embarked on a “Journey to the Write Stuff.” Each classroom in the school posts one piece of exemplary (good example) writing on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the cafeteria.

The first piece to be posted from Camp Linus is written by Brianna. See her story to the right.

Brianna does an excellent job of organizing her story into paragraphs, and indenting each paragraph. She has a problem and a solution. She is careful to begin each sentence with a capital, and end it with a period.

Congratulations Brianna!
The Rainbow

        On a rainy day there was some kids. They wanted it to be sunny. They wanted it to be sunny because they wanted to play outside.

        There was some other kids. The other kids wanted it to still rain. The other kids wanted it to rain because they like to play inside.

        Later on the sun came out. Some of the kids were happy. It started to rain while the sun was out. All the kids were happy because there was a rainbow.
                                              By Brianna


After reading the book, Postcards from Pluto, Camp Linus made their own version of the book! In the book, a group of kids go on a tour of the solar system. Throughout their trip, they send postcards back to Earth. In addition to having one postcard sent from each planet, Camp Linus also had postcards sent from the Sun, the moon, a star, Planet X, and the Pioneer-10.

(The Pioneer 10 is a spacecraft that was launched 30 years ago. It was the first spacecraft to make it through the asteroid belt and to go by Jupiter. 11 years after the spacecraft was launched, it had passed by Pluto’s orbit and actually left our solar system! Where is it now? It is still in space…on its way to some other solar system!)

On their postcards, some students chose to write a poem about their planet. Others wrote a riddle or a quiz. For example:

“Dear Mom, Guess where I am. I will give you a hint! 1) This planet has a Great Red Spot. 2) It is the largest planet. 3) Some of its moons are bigger than Earth! Did you guess Jupiter? That’s where I am! I think it is the most interesting planet because it spins faster than any other planet.”

Students tried to include 3 facts and 1 opinion on their postcards. We posted the postcards on the Solar System that is on our bulletin board in the hall outside the classroom. The 9 orbits are made of different colors of yarn, and several of the students created stars that are placed outside our Solar System. (since our Sun is the only star inside our Solar System!) Stop by and see it!


Camp Linus is responsible for giving the morning announcements to the school this month. Over the intercom each morning, two third grade students lead the school in the Pledge of Allegiance. They also announce the weather report for the day, school items of interest, and any birthdays being celebrated that day.

This week Camp Linus decided to play a little joke on the school. On Thursday, January 17th, Ryan Str. and Melanie gave this weather report over the intercom:

Today’s weather forecast is a low of negative 122 degrees (- 122°) with a dust storm and pink skies. Oops! That’s the weather report for Mars! Here on Earth we are expecting highs in the 30’s and maybe even the sun shining this afternoon! :-)

Since we have been studying the planets, we know our weather report was factual! We planned it on Wednesday and kept it a secret for a whole day! Maybe next week we will give a weather report for Jupiter! Ryan and Melanie did a great job!

Click here to see more pictures of our Postcards from Pluto.


The T-Chart is a great “graphic organizer” that can be used to compare two different things. Since some scientists think that people may live on Mars within the lifetimes of these students, we decided to see how Mars compares to Earth. We used the T-Chart to help us:

  • no water

  • farther from sun: colder

  • no life that we know of

  • pink skies

  • 2 moons

  • volcanoes, mountains, polar ice caps

  • brown and red

  • no oxygen - breathe in space suits or air bubbles

  • live in glass bubbles (domes)
  • water

  • closer to sun: warmer

  • animals, plants, trees, fish, birds

  • blue skies

  • 1 moon

  • volcanoes, mountains, polar ice caps

  • green, blue, white, yellow, orange, tan, & brown

  • air has oxygen to breathe

  • live in houses, hotels, apartments, trailers, tents, mansions, nursing homes, castles, cabins, caves, skyscrapers, buildings, treehouses, igloos, grass huts, tee pees, long houses, hospitals, ships, houseboats

How come it only take Mercury about 3 months to travel all the way around the sun, but it takes Earth a whole year, and Jupiter 12 years?

To figure out this problem, we decided to call Alexis’ desk THE SUN (because it was in the middle of the room). Jenna stood up and became the planet Mercury. Her job was to keep walking around Alexis’ desk (THE SUN) while staying as close to the desk as possible. Royden stood up and became the planet Jupiter. His job was to stand by the wall (about 8 feet from Alexis’ desk) and to walk once around Alexis’ desk – always staying about 8 feet from Alexis’ desk. His journey took him in a pretty big circle around the room. Everyone else had the job of counting how many times Jenna (MERCURY) could get around the desk (THE SUN) in the time it took Royden (JUPITER) to get around once! Jenna made it 5 times around the desk in the time it took Royden to make it around once! WHY? Because Jenna was much closer to the desk and so her circle was much smaller – she didn’t have to go as far!

How come the satellites that we put in space to go around the Earth never collide with our moon?

To figure out this problem, we did the same experiment as above. Alexis’ desk became the EARTH. Lenny became our moon. As Royden had done, Lenny stood by the wall – about 8 feet away from the desk. His path around the desk (the Earth) was the big circle that went around the room. Melissa became a satellite that we put into space. Melissa stood right by the desk so that her orbit was a small circle around the desk. We told Lenny and Melissa to start orbiting around Earth. They each started walking around the desk. Since the satellite was close to the desk, and the moon was farther away, they each had a different path to walk. They never bumped into each other.

We decided to see what would happen if we put lots of satellites into space in the same orbit (path) as the moon. Several students became satellites, and they stood around the room in the same path that Lenny (the Moon) would walk. When they all started walking around the room in the same path, we saw that the chance of one of them running into Lenny (the Moon) was pretty good!

We learned that the reason the satellites don’t crash into the moon is because we don’t put them the same distance from Earth as the moon. We put them closer to Earth so that they have their own path around the Earth separate from the path of the moon. They have different orbits.


Miss Camp’s sister-in-law, the rocket scientist who visited Camp Linus in December, e-mailed us this week to let us know about the launch of the Titan 4 (the rocket she helps to launch) on Tuesday. She linked us to an article on the Internet that had pictures of the launch. We learned that the rocket brought another satellite into space so that it could orbit around the Earth. (see picture of satellite to right)

Parts of the rocket fall away on its trip out of our atmosphere and into space. As soon as it reaches its destination, the rest of the rocket falls away and leaves the satellite in its new home. Different satellites have different jobs. Some help provide information about the weather. Some take pictures through a telescopic lens. They might take pictures of other planets, or they might take pictures of things happening on Earth. Some can even take a picture of a license plate on Earth! Here is the link:

Click on Snoopy Typing to go back to the Directory of Campfire Chronicles! Click on the Beagle Scout to go back to Camp Linus!