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2022-2023 CAS Events

This year, our CAS representatives have gone above and beyond, bringing in speakers and presenters covering an array of topics from Native American history to weather, civil rights to poetry, among many others. Read on for a list of the events past and planned - and be sure to reach out to our CAS Chair with any feedback or questions. 

1st Grade

Nature Walk with Lisa Moore, Wellesley NRC

On Friday, May 19th the 1st graders welcomed Wellesley’s Environmental Education, Outreach and Compliance Coordinator, Lisa Moore to Sprague. 


Lisa guided the 1st graders on a very informative nature walk around Sprague’s green space looking for signs of animal habitats, plant adaptations, and learning many fascinating facts including: 

  • Squirrels eat seeds and bird eggs. In the spring they are known to also eat baby birds as they have an increased need to hunt and feed their young squirrels. 

  • To find out how old a pine tree is, count the whorls ( branches that form a circular pattern around the growing center tip). Each level of whorls= 1 year.

  • Birch trees are an important tree to learn to identify. If you are ever lost in the woods and it’s raining, the birch bark will still start a fire despite being damp. Also, the inside flesh of the Birch trunk is edible. And finally, Birch trees need a nearby water source to survive, so if you see one growing know there is water nearby. 

  • Lichen is a pioneer organism. 10,000 years ago when the glaciers melted and left ice and rocks, lichen landed in the rocks and began to slowing “eat” or breakdown the rocks leading to the creation of soil and later leading to the development of forests. 

1st Grade


the 1st grade class welcomed Jim Parks from Wingmasters for a fascinating presentation on North American Birds of Prey. 

Jim and his team rescue local birds of prey at their private center in Western Mass. He explained to the children that due to injuries the birds sustained they would not survive in the wild for very long. He brought in several birds including an American Kestrel, Red Tailed Hawk,  Eastern Screech Owl and several other birds. 


Fun facts we learned:

  • All birds of prey have incredible binocular vision. A hawk can see chipmunk from over a 1/2 mile away!

  • Peregrine falcons are the fastest living, breathing being on earth. On average they weigh only 6 oz, this lighter weight helps them fly faster. so as they are smaller and can fly faster. Peregrines are unique birds of prey as they hunt/capture other birds in the air. 

  • Tails help birds change direction. Keep them agile, nimble and flexible so they can easily stop in mid air to change direction. 

  • What makes the owl so light? 10,000 feathers. They need the feathers to keep them warm when they fly at night

  • Owls are not known to fast flying birds. They rely on their ability to be silent flyers, thus helping to surprise their prey.


Curious Creatures!

The Kindergarteners attended a hands-on, interactive live animal presentation from Curious Creatures. The children were introduced to a variety of domestic and exotic animals, including a chinchilla, ferret, tortoise, snakes and baby alligator. The children had the opportunity to see each of the animals and learned how to appropriately touch each animal, if they wanted to. The animal handler introduced and shared different stories and interesting information about each of them. The children had the opportunity to ask questions and observe the behavior of each animal.


Ask your child:

  1. Which animal was the softest?

  2. Which animal was nocturnal?

  3. Which animal did they not get to touch and why?

  4. Which was their favorite animal?

Learn more about Curious Creatures!

3rd Grade

Poet Lyn Hoopes

Our 3rd graders were captivated by poet Lyn Hoopes during a two-part workshop designed to teach each student how to reflect, brainstorm and write their own poetry. You could have heard a pin drop during Lyn's recitation of her own poems. She used her decades of experience to guide and inspire our young writers as they wrote poems inspired by a nature photograph.

Lyn reminded them of the following tips as they worked:

  • Think of where your eyes rest when looking at the picture. Linger there for a few moments.

  • Listen to the quiet space in your mind when writing.

  • Remember that the photo is a starting point - your mind should take you on a journey from that moment in time.

  • Ask your child to share their poems and explain why they chose their picture.

5th Grade

Nature Walk with Lisa Moore, Wellesley NRC

Our 5th graders had the opportunity to go on a nature walk with expert Lisa Moore of the Wellesley Natural Resource Commission. Each class was able to explore the local grounds around Sprague and learn more about the wildlife and animal habitats specific to our local area. 


Ask your student:

  • How do trees communicate to each other?  

  • What happens to trees covered with fungus? 

  • What are some examples of pollinators in our area and why are they so critical to our food chain?

  • Why do trees produce so many seeds when only a few become trees?

2nd Grade

Poet Andrew Green

Last Friday, each 2nd grade classroom kicked off their poetry unit with an engaging in-person workshop with Andrew Green from Potato Hill Poetry. After Andrew read some of his inspiring poems to the class, he challenged students to brainstorm their own ideas for poems based on "what brings them joy." Ideas ranged from Bacon to Basketball! Students were encouraged to use their five senses to create images and details with their words. After some creative focus and writing in their own notebooks, students shared their poems with the class. Andrew ended the workshop with some valuable poetry writing advice: "PRACTICE! every day, every night, a little bit, a little might!" Is your student interested in exploring more poetry and creative writing?  Check out Potato Hill's creative writing summer camps! Details here.

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EcoTarium‘s Build Your World

The Kindergarteners participated in the Build Your World program presented by the EcoTarium. Using the engineering design process, the children explored forces and motion in small groups. Using small wooden planks, each group made a structure to protect their animal from predators and natural forces such as wind and earthquakes.

Ask your Kindergartener if their structure held up in the wind. What about an earthquake?

2nd Grade

Author/Illustrator Brian Lies

Students got a special peek into how an author/illustrator creates a picture book, including sketchbook drawings, original artwork, and a live drawing demonstration. Mr. Lies led a great discussion of where ideas come from, how to revise, and the fact that everyone has to rewrite to achieve their "best work." Mr. Lies talked about the importance of adding unique details to make writing come alive, and demonstrated how details trigger lively images in the brain. He ended the presentations with a drawing demonstration based on student suggestions. Throughout, Mr. Lies reinforced how a growth mindset is essential in making your work better - a wonderful lesson for both children and adults!

Ask your students:

  • Is the first draft of your story going to be your best and final version

  • Can you tell or show me how much paper Mr. Lies uses in yellow and white paper notepads to write a single book?

  • How can you make sure that no teacher ever tells you again to "add more details?"

  • Can you tell me about some of the drawing techniques that Mr. Lies demonstrated? 

  • Was Mr. Lies' second-grade drawing very good? Why did he share it with you?

  • Why did he use a crayon instead of a marker in his live demonstration?

Learn more about Brian Lies.

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5th Grade

JFK Museum Civil Rights Exhibit - Field Trip

Our 5th Graders journeyed to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for a "Civil Rights, Civic Action" field trip encouraging them to make connections between the organized nonviolent actions of the civil rights movement and civic action for justice that we see today.  Students were intrigued during an overview presentation highlighting oral histories of 3 activists and then explored the exhibit galleries as they identified and analyzed civic actions taken during the Kennedy Administration. 

Ask your 5th Grader:  

  1. What are some examples of Civic Action that you witnessed?

  2. Can young people truly be involved in pursuing reform?

  3. Can you think of any topics that you are passionate about following?

  4. How can you find your voice today?

  5. What tools of democracy can you use to fight for a cause?

4th Grade

Sound Waves, presented by Discovery Museum

Last Monday and Tuesday the Sprague and Hunnewell 4th graders had an incredible sound presentation from the Discovery Museum sponsored by Creative Arts and Sciences (CAS) The students have been learning about sound in their classroom. This presentation allowed them to try hands-on experiments to see how sound travels through different materials.

Ask a 4th grader for the answers to these questions!

  • Does sound travel faster through water or air? 

  • What happens when a metal object is struck and then placed near a ping pong ball? 

  • What about when a tuning fork is struck then placed in water?


Learn more about Discovery Museum.

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1st Grade

Lisa the Wise, presented by Puppet Showplace Theater

Students were enchanted by a live performance of "Lisa the Wise," while learning about light and shadow. Their giggles were truly infectious, and their questions were both thoughtful and heartwarming. 

About the show: When Lisa, a brave young girl with a heart of gold, meets Baba Yaga, the most famous witch in the woods, an epic battle of wits ensues. Dancing houses, enchanted dolls, and hilarious "ghost servants" bring this classic Russian fairy tale to life with a contemporary twist. Imaginative shadow puppetry lights the way in this hilariously spooky story about the experiences that make us wise.

Ask your students:

  1. What are the three things you need to make a shadow puppet show?

  2. How did the puppeteer feature more than two puppets during a scene?

  3. What kind of materials did the puppeteer use to make her puppets?


Learn more about Puppet Showplace Theater.


Force & Motion, presented by Discovery Museum

Kindergarten students attended a workshop on Force and Motion presented by the Discovery Museum. Students explored the concepts of force and motion while interacting with a variety of toys and objects that moved in different ways. They conducted experiments to make predictions on how fast objects would move with the effects of outside forces such as gravity and friction acting on that movement. They concluded the presentation by engineering their own toys using specific objects designed to test their knowledge of how to make objects move and control that movement.

Ask your Kindergartener:

  • What invisible force caused the dog to fall off the tray?

  • What was added to the tray that changed the speed of the dog falling? What is that force called?

  • Which sock won the race (the smooth or grippy one)?

  • What did you use to make your toy? How does your toy move?


Learn more about Discovery Museum.

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3rd Grade

Forces and Motion, Presented by Techsploration

Students attended a dynamic Forces and Motion event led by Dr. Robert St.Cyr of Techsploration, Inc. In the morning, the students participated in a demonstration of the concepts of balanced and unbalanced forces, contact and non-contact forces, friction, and lift.


Using rockets, a mag-lev jet car, a hovercraft, a hot air balloon, and other fun props, Dr. St. Cyr taught the students how people throughout history have been using engineering to solve problems in transportation and flight.


In the afternoon, each class attended a hands-on workshop where they designed and built their own magnetic levitation sleds and raced them on an electronically timed mag-lev track. Students built a prototype and then tested and improved their designs.
Ask your 3rd Grader:

  • Which brave teacher sat on the hoverboard?

  • How did the hot air balloon rise?

  • What happened to "eggy?" Did that body in motion stay in motion?

  • How did Dorothy, the ping pong ball fly?

  • How did you collect and trap the air on your mag-lev prototype?

  • What tools and materials helped you make your sled go faster?

Some quotes from our 3rd Grade Engineers:

  • "Hmmm...which way do I put the sail in order to help us?"

  • "We need to make this more aerodynamic!"

  • "It doesn't have to be perfect the first time! Let's just go try and test it!"

  • "We got the new record, but let's go beat that record again!"

  • "Let's think about an airplane! How could that help us?

Learn more about Techsploration.

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All-School Concert Series

Ball in the House

Sprague Hunnewell rocked, rolled, and learned at our recent all-school concert series with Ball in the House, an a cappella pop-soul-R&B group. 


Grades 3-5 attended a special concert celebrating the origins and contributions of African-Americans to American music, and covered race and racism in an age-appropriate format. 

  • Ask your children:

  • Are there any musicians that you’re aware of who have used their voice and influence for good? 

  • Can you think of a song that uses Call and Response?

  • Next time you hear a song, listen carefully to see if you can pick out what styles of music might have influenced the band and/or songwriter. What specific elements of those influencing styles can you hear in the song?

Overheard: "That was so interesting!" "Yeah, and SO important, too."
(An actual conversation between two children, as reported by a teacher!)

In the Grades K-2 concert, students learned what “a cappella” is and how it works, a bit of the history of a cappella singing from chant through doo wop, explored the technology behind a sound system, heard the various voice parts and how they fit together to make harmony and songs. They even learned how to beatbox and use rhythm! 


The program also addressed the teamwork aspect of performing together and how the performers need to work together as people and as voices - a valuable lesson for any team!

Ask your children:

  • What are the parts that make up an a cappella group?

  • How can YOU use your emotions to write your own song?

  • Can you imitate any percussion instruments?


To help students and the adults in their life further understand the content, Ball in the House provided this useful Discussion Guide. We hope this helps you have these important discussions with your children more easily. 

Learn more about Ball in the House.

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1st Grade

Author Jerry Pallotta

We welcomed best-selling author Jerry Pallotta to spend the morning with our first grade classrooms. Jerry shared a fascinating slide presentation with the students while he weaved together the story of how and why he started writing books. He talked about how his love of the ocean as a child inspired many of his early books ( The Ocean Alphabet Book, The Crab Alphabet Book). He also shared amazing footage of his trip to Antarctica where he saw albatrosses and penguins galore! Jerry Pallotta delighted the 1st graders with his stories, humor, and love of science and adventure!


The PTO was happy to be able to cover the cost of a book for each first grader - we hope you enjoy reading it with your child.

Ask your 1st Grader:

  • Do you remember how Jerry Pallotta first came up with the idea to start writing books? (He would read rather dull alphabet books to his kids (A is for Apple etc) and thought he could write something more interesting. The first book he published was The Ocean Alphabet Book in 1986.)

  • Where does Jerry get his ideas? (Traveling, meeting with students across the country, visiting Harvard’s Natural History museum.)

  • How do the pages of Jerry’s books look after they are printed? (The entire books’ pages are printed on one very large poster size paper which gets folded and then cut before it is bound.)

Fun facts Jerry Pallotta shared:

  • Where is the world’s largest bird population? (Antarctica)

  • How do ants listen? (With their feet)

  • His best selling book is Who Would Win? (Killer Whale vs Great White Shark)

Learn more about Jerry Pallotta.

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4th Grade


Sprague Hunnewell 4th graders attended Origamido, an interactive origami demonstration, with Michael LaFosse.


Michael’s presentation was fantastic. He used origami paper to teach math and geometry. The students folded paper following his direction making squares and triangles talking through different degrees of angles, vertices and so much more. Hopefully some of the children's paper creations made it home for you to admire in person!

Ask your 4th Grader:

  • What kind of math was involved in making the origami?

  • What kinds of polygons did you create with the paper?

  • What kinds of angles did you need to make to create your origami?

  • What was the most difficult part of creating the pieces? What was the most fun?

  • Do you remember any of the steps that you could use to try to make your own origami?


Learn more about Origamido.

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2nd Grade

YAMA's Leland Faulkner presents Walker Between Worlds

All 2nd grade students enjoyed a spectacular in-person performance by Leland Faulkner, a Native American and theater professional. The 45-minute production covered three traditional stories unique to Native American heritage: Grandmother Spider and her dream catcher, Coyote's scattering of the stars, and Rainbow Crow's great gift of the fire stick.


Leland's energetic dance, music and storytelling allowed the students to think about their own personal narratives that they are working on in Writer's Workshop. Both teachers and students were captivated by this unique and thoughtful performance!


Ask your 2nd grader

  • Members from different Native American tribes are able to communicate through "hand talk."  What were some of the hand signs Leland taught you?

  • What did Grandmother Spider create to protect children from harmful dreams?

  • How can you incorporate some of Leland's energy and enthusiasm into your own Writer's workshop personal narrative?

Learn more about Walker Between Worlds.

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2nd Grade

Discovery Museum Presents: Physical Changes of Matter

Investigating the physical properties of solids, liquids, and gases has never been so much fun! In this popular workshop, dry ice and liquid nitrogen made learning the phase changes very dramatic as together they observed a solid change directly to a gas, shatter flowers, and use a banana as a hammer. 

Ask your 2nd grader:


  • What happens when molecules move around really fast or slow down?

  • What can you add to ice to turn it into a liquid?

  • When the water on the back of your hand disappeared, where did it go?

  • Why did the plastic bag with dry ice expand? 

Learn more about Discovery Museum.

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5th Grade

Visit from Author Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea is an American children's fiction author best known for his Mr. Terupt series of novels. Following a large group presentation, Mr. Buyea conducted small breakout sessions with the students. 

Ask your 5th grader:


  • How a person can come up with story ideas... How can someone use imagination to add to memories and experiences?

  • How many failures Rob Buyea had before his first win.

  • About their "Writing switch." They should keep it on and always be thinking like a writer. Imagination beyond the desk is so critical.

  • If they ever read the author's note in a book. (HInt: they should!)

Remind your 5th grader that whatever they write is never perfect the first time. Just get going. Also: “Only a reader becomes a writer!”

Learn more about Rob Buyea.

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1st Grade

Mad Science Presents: Marvels of Motion

This interactive event is all about the fundamentals of moving science with Newton’s Laws of Motion. The children discovered the science of gravity and balance, kinetic beads, and watched Jon remove a tablecloth without clearing the table!

Ask your 1st grader about:


  • Why wasn't the orange ball rolling off the table? 

  • Who had tennis balls balanced on their heads? Why were they balancing?

  • Why didn't anything fall off the table when the tablecloth was removed?


Learn more about Mad Science.

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5th Grade

Plimoth Pawtuxet Presents: Peoples of the Dawn Land 

Students learned about the daily life of the Wampanoag in the 17th century, as well as their current lives and communities. Students gained an understanding of the connection the Wampanoag and other Native people have to Mother Earth, their seasonal way of life, and their respect for all living beings. The Native American Museum Teacher, wearing modern clothing, spoke from a modern perspective so that they can discuss the story of their people in both past and present times. He shared artifacts of traditional life, such as wooden bowls and spoons, animal furs, and tools. 

Learn more about Plimoth Pawtuxet.

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4th Grade

Geology Walks with Lisa Moore from the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission

Students will join Lisa (a Wellesley resident and former Sprague parent!) for a walk around campus to learn more about local geology. A Wellesley resident, Lisa is a skilled science educator with many years of experience in classrooms and in nature. The walk will encourage children to think more broadly about their community and the importance of protecting our environment.

Learn more about Wellesley's NRC.

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Puppet Showplace Theater Presents: Word Play!

"Word Play" uses clowning and puppetry to take audiences on an adventure through the alphabet. Words come to life in the hands of two skilled performers, who clown around with sounds and letters to create dozens of interactive characters and imaginative scenes. Audiences can make friends with vowels, teach tricks to a “C-A-T” and “D-O-G,” and visit a whole ZOO full of surprises. It’s the perfect blend of education and entertainment—a play on words, literally!

Learn more about Puppet Showplace Theater.

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5th Grade

Sun & Moon Phases with John Covey

Dr. John Covey (formerly a researcher for NASA) explains in dramatic fashion how incredibly powerful the Sun is before demonstrating the unimaginable distance that stretches between our Sun and the nearest star. Next, he demonstrates and explains the concept design and operation of a solar sail spacecraft that could cover that incredible distance in just a few decades. The potentially habitable planet around the target star and its similarity to our Moon is then discussed. The event ends with an open-ended question & answer session that leverages Dr. Covey's knowledge and experience to cover anything about space, science, or engineering that the children wish to know.

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Upcoming Events 2022-2023

The CAS Team organizes many incredible events for our students - and we can't do it without you. You can support us with your donations!



1st Grade​​


2nd Grade

  • A special author visit is being planned for May!

3rd Grade​


4th Grade​


5th Grade​

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