Introduction to Science – Students were given an orientation to their 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 safely observe our class pets. New this year is class jobs. Students now take care of several jobs when they come to science, such as watering the plants, passing out notebooks, monitoring the laptop cart, and checking in and out borrowed science books. Safety rules and emergency procedures in the science classroom were discussed as well as practiced.
Patterns in the Sky – The goal of the moon unit was to explore Earth’s only natural satellite, the moon. The third graders shared in groups what they know about the moon and also questions they had about the moon. To spark their curiosity they watched a short video about the moon and read non-fiction books about the moon. Students learned about the movement, phases and shape of the moon. In connecting with patterns, the third graders were also introduced to why the Earth has seasons and the patterns of seasons. The students displayed their understanding of the concepts through illustration, class discussions, reflections, quizzes, hands-on activities and a final assessment.
Simple Machines – We use simple machines every day in our lives to make work easier. For example, if we didn’t have pulleys how would we get our flag to the top so that it can wave in the air? If we didn’t have a wheel and axle how would we get the door open?
This was the second trimester focus for the third graders. However, before learning and building simple machines, students reviewed the concept of what is work, friction, and force. Students were also introduced to using a spring scale, which measures force and a protractor, which measures angles. These tools were used in several experiments this trimester.
Though there are six types of simple machines, only three were explored due to limitations of time during the trimester. Students explored: levers, inclined planes, and pulleys. Each simple machine has unique features and abilities. Students built and used each type of simple machines in order to understand how it works and how it can be used.
Students constructed a lever using a cork as their fulcrum and their ruler as the lever. They explored the affects of moving the load closer or father from the fulcrum. Pulleys are used to move heavy loads. Students constructed a fixed and a movable pulley system to compare the value of each type. Using their spring scale, students had to decide which pulley system was the best to move heavy objects. Finally the students worked with inclined planes. They constructed several inclined planes using their protractor to measure the angle of the plane.
Students were assessed through teacher observations, class discussion, experiment reflections and data reports, a review assessment and a final assessment.