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.
This unit introduced the third graders to different forms of energy: light, heat, and sound. They began by looking at types of light energy, man-made and natural light. They distinguished between light that comes from nature (sun, lightning, fireflies) and artificial light created by man. Key concepts of light energy are: light travels in a straight line, light refracts and reflects, light can move through different objects and light can be split into colors. Various experiments, like Prisms, Funny Spoons, Happy Face and Hole-y Light, allowed students to see these concepts in action.
Sound was another form of energy introduced this trimester. Sound has several characteristics that the students were able to explore. These concepts included: sound travels in waves, sound has a pitch and volume, and sound can travel through various objects. Experiments included using tuning forks to hear different pitches and volumes, Xylophone Bottles, Dropping Sound Dice.
This year we briefly explored heat energy, which allowed the students to observe how heat can change and move objects. These experiments included watching warm air expand bubbles and what happens to tea in hot and cold water.
Students demonstrated their understanding of concepts through class discussions, lab reflections, teacher observation & questioning and a final assessment.