Last week Thursday and Friday students participated in the year’s first student lead conferences with parents and grade level teachers. While individual students were in conferences the other students rotated to specials classes. In science, students were treated to experiments that sparked curiosity and fun.
In kindergarten, observation skills are a key skill. So students did Gummy Bear science. Here students predicted what would happen when gummy bears were put in different types of liquids. First graders were learning about heat energy so combined art and science. Decorating a special plastic film, students then watched as the heat of the oven shrank their film th Second graders have been exploring how magnets work. In their art/science activity students created floating magnets.
On Friday, the upper classes rotated to science. In 3rd grade students tested if taco sauce made a dull penny shinny. Students tried tomato paste, salt, vinegar and water to see which would clean the penny the best. There were mixed results so students tried combining the ingredients: salt with vinegar, tomato paste with salt and tomato paste with vinegar . Students concluded that salt and vinegar was the best combination.
In fourth grade students tabbed in a little bit of chemistry by quickly learning about pH. Students used cabbage indicator to test what substances were an acid, base or neutral. Students tested soapy water, lemon juice, Sprite, salt and vinegar.
Finally the fifth graders had to solve the mystery of the marshmallow thief. Students briefly learned about chromatography, which is the separation of a substance by passing it through a solution on a medium like filter paper. Four suspects were found with black markers in the marshmallow isle. These marker inks were test to see if it matched the thief’s ink . After comparing the ink samples, they concluded that the marshmallow theif was Darth Vader.
In science students have been hitting the iPads in every way possible. The students love using it and I love having them use to to expand their learning, creativeness and engagement.
It hasn’t been all that easy integrating the iPads in science. We’ve had struggles from emails not working, internet network slow, to apps not working and navigating through Google Docs. However, with every challenge the students have been so helpful in finding ways to problem solve the challenges and patient in waiting for all classmates to troubleshoot.
Below are a few ways we’ve been using iPads in science. I look forward to using the iPads more in science as the students and myself gain confidence in using it more.
Kindergarten using Drawing Pad to show their understanding.
1st graders sharing what they learned about energy using TodaysMeet.
3rd graders sharing the work with group members.
3rd graders using digital text for their reading.
Using TodaysMeet to share opinions.
3rd graders responding to reflection questions on TodaysMeet.
Reading science text using iBooks.
4th graders using the iPad to learn how to set-up their experiment.
4th grader creating an illustration to show his understanding of vocab.
5th grader reteaching science vocabulary before test.
5th graders using TodaysMeet to respond to reflection questions.
5th grader used the iPad to reteach concepts to classmates.
My favorite experiment do with the kindergartners is definitely the Glow Germ experiment. Everywhere I look forward to starting off the year with teaching the students why we always ask them to wash their hands at school. Wash when they are dirty. Wash after the bathroom. Wash before lunch. Wash! Wash! Wash!
This experiment demonstrates to the kindergartners that germs can spread with just a little hand shake. Using a washable lotion that glows in the dark, students are greeted by Mrs. Chang who has the “fake” germs on her hand. They quickly see the germs transfer from my hand to theirs when they view it glowing the the UV light. WOW! The student’s reactions are always the funniest and most exciting part.
After they see they now have the “fake” germ from Mrs. Chang, they shake another person’s hand and share the germ with them. Then we check to see who has the germs now.
We have a discussion about how germs can spread easily and how they can make us sick. Students also learn about how to wash their hands appropriately. They explained to me that they wash their hands with warm water and soap for about 25 seconds. In order to make the time go by they sing the Happy Birthday song or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
So each student goes and washes his / her hands. Then we check again to see how well they did. WONDERFUL!! With only a few here and there under the finger nails, which is by far is one of the hardest places to wash, they washed away all those germs!
Ever wake in the morning wondering…what’s the weather going to be like today? I wonder if it’s going to be sunny and hot? I wonder if it’s going to be cold and rainy? All these questions lead to what you’re going to be doing in the day or what you’re going to wear to school.
The fourth graders are learning about one of the factors that help determine weather, temperature. One skill of a meteorologist, a trained person who studies, observers and forecasts the weather, is learning about how hot or cold the air is. One of the tools used all the time by meteorologists to measure temperature is a thermometer.
Check out the fourth graders are they try their hands at reading and measuring the temperature of the water. Eventually they will be using this skill to take the air temperature on campus.
Have you ever looked into the night sky and see the moon and wonder why does it look different from night to night? Well, this is the question the third graders are exploring and trying to answer in science.
The moon doesn’t make it’s own light, but reflects the light from the sun. Every night as the moon rotates around the earth it reflects different amounts of the sun’s light. Each night it’s a little different. Scientists start with a new moon or no moon. Then it slowly begins to get brighter with a small waxing crescent, to a half moon to a waxing gibbous and finally a full moon. That’s when the whole surface of the moon is reflecting the sun’s light. A few days later the moon’s light seems to disappear. It called a waning gibbous. Then less light, last quarter and then a small sliver of light called a waning crescent. When the moon is no longer reflecting the sun’s light it’s back to a new moon. Thus the cycle starts all over again.
Check out the third graders creating their own moon phases using a lamp and some styrofoam balls.
As mentioned in a previous post, the first graders come to science on Day 5 to work on some important science skills such as observing, sorting, graphing, measuring and comparing. In this week’s IE activity the first graders are discussing and demonstrating ways that scientists communicate with each other.
There are many ways that scientist communicate with each other. The first graders mentioned that they can write to each other, talk to each other in person or on the phone. They mentioned that some even text message or email. What they forgot to mention that drawing is also a form of communication. Scientists always draw what they observe with labels and with details. Drawings can help tell other scientists what the experiment looks like, what the animal or plant looks like or even show how equipment or a process works.
In their activity today, the students worked on communicating to me about how different animals move. They picked one animals for walking and running, one for swimming, one for flying and one for crawling. Their task was to draw a WOW picture of these animals using helpful information cards that had a picture and habitat of the animal.
What’s a WOW picture you ask? Well, I explained that when drawing for communication it is important to have lots of details, accurate coloring and neatness so that others can understand. I can not take credit for this idea as I found it on Pinterest (thank you Pinterest and Mrs. Terhune). Check out her blog for more ideas on charts and rubrics.
Here’s what I created using her example.
The fifth graders continued their study on mixtures by conducting an experiment that helped them practice different filtering methods. Students were asked to filter out three different mixtures: water with gravel, water with salt and water with a mystery powder. They previously practiced paper filtering in the last experiment, so now students tried filtering using a wire mesh screen. Each step students had to observe and record their observations on texture, color and clarity of water and other interesting observations. In the end, students were asked to use their data and observations as evidence to which method they thought was most effective in filtering out each mixture.
Check out some pictures and videos from their experiment.
On every Day 5, groups of students from first grade will come to science for an extra enrichment class in the morning. These are informal lessons that help enhance the regular scheduled afternoon science classes. This year the first graders will be practicing on their skills on observing, communicating, comparing, measuring, making models, and making graphs. This first lesson students were asked to sort out pairs of buttons that were similar in: color, texture, size and shape. Take a look!