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.
The Changing Earth - In fourth grade, students took a leap back into time to explore what our earth looked like millions of years ago. Students explored Pangaea and how it slowly changed into our current continents through the movement of plate tectonics. student learned about different types of fault boundaries and were able to replicate their movement using hard-boiled eggs and sandwiches. Students also simulated the affects of the elements, wind, and water, on the surface of the earth to create various types of landforms. Students demonstrated their understanding of concepts through teacher observations, class discussions, quizzes, hands-on activities, experiment reflections and a final assessment.
Transfer of Energy – The goal of this unit was to have students be able to explain how energy can be transferred from one substance to another.
In their first class students learned about the difference between potential and kinetic energy and how it can change from one form to another. Here students constructed a pendulum to see how the energy from their hand transfers to the washers and then to the cup on the floor. Students concluded that the potential energy from their hands was transferred to the cup through the pendulum, which had kinetic energy.
Next they looked at the movement of thermal energy from one substance to another. Thermal or heat energy can be transferred in three ways: radiation, convection and conduction. In this experiment the fourth graders observed convection, the transfer of energy through liquids. Here they explain that the cold water sinks because it is dense and the hot water rises because it is less dense than the cold water, thus the separation of the hot and cold water in the viewing tank. Eventually the students predicted that the whole container would become the same temperature as the hot and cold mixed together.
Their final section of the trimester was looking at how electrical charges can be transferred in a complete closed pathway or a circuit. Here students built various types of circuits: simple, series, and parallel. At times the students were electricians, as they had to repair broken circuits and problem solve how to fix it. Students investigated why light bulbs did or did not work in different set-ups of a series and parallel circuit.