Introduction to Science – The year starts off with an orientation of the science classroom. They were oriented on where to find student supplies, where to find science reading books and games, where the off limit areas are and how to safety observe our class pets. Safety rules and emergency procedures in the science classroom were discussed as well as practiced.
Habitats – This unit introduced the second graders to the topic of habitats. There are many types of habitats around the world and many can be found in Hawai`i. The second graders looked at two of them: rainforests and oceans. They began their exploration of rainforests through various reading books and short videos by BrainPop. They created a Hawaiian Rainforest poster that included the koa and `ōhi`a trees, happy face spider, `amakihi, and `i`iwi birds. They also learned why it is important to preserve and protect our Hawaiian rainforests in an experiment called Living Sponge. The sponge represents the rainforests and how it can hold and clean our drinking water.
The vast ocean covers two-thirds of our earth’s surface and has many unexplored area. The second graders dove into the ocean by exploring the shallow and deep waters through the artful cinematography of BBC’s Planet Earth series. Here students were able to see up close the many sea creatures and plants that live in areas were could never visit. Technology also helped as they explored the different zones of the ocean such as coral reefs, continents shelf and deep sea vent using Magic School Bus’s iPad Oceans app. Throughout the trimester students were assessed by teacher observations, class discussion, performance on experiments and notebook reflections.
Balance - Sometimes objects are not in motion, but stationary. The second graders took a brief look at balance. Balance is the equal amount of force, push or pull, on an object. In order for an object to be balanced, each side must have the same force. Student were able to test their skill at making objects balanced by playig the game Jenga. Each group carefully built their tower making sure that with each layer, the tower was balanced. If not, CRASH! Student were also able to connect this idea of balance with math equations as well as values, like fairness.
Magnets - They continued the trimester with the study of magnets. Students had many hands-on opportunites to explore and discover the properties of magnets by themselves using various types of magnets. Some of their tools include a magnet wand, paper clips, ring magnets, magnet balls and magnet bars. The second graders also made their own magnet compass. Main concepts included: All magnets can push or pull some objects; A magnet can only attract or repel objects in its magnetic field; Objects attracted by a magnet are called magnetic; Objects not attracted by a magnet are called nonmagnetic; Magnets attracts objects made of iron.
Students demonstrated their understanding through class discussion, teacher observations, hands-on activities, and writing and drawing in their notebook.
Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! – Where does all our garbage go? Just ask your child, as he/she has learned where all our garbage goes. Students in the second grade learned about where our garbage goes after it leaves our homes and what happens to them. They got to see pictures of our own Hilo Landfill and how much garbage we create. In seeing this, the students then explored the world of recycling. They practice recycling various items by sorting them into correct bins. They learned about what things can be recycled, why it is important to recycle, and what happens to the items when it is recycled.
A major project that the second graders did was making new paper from Mrs. Chang’s recycled papers. After watching a quick online tutorial video, students went straight to shredding all the recycled paper. Then, it was soaked and grinded into a pulp. Using their very own hand-made mesh screen, students were able to capture the pulp onto the screen. Then it was laid out to dry. After a few days…paper!!