Kindergarteners just finished learning about soils and rocks. We “panned” for rocks and selected some to keep to begin our very own rock collections and we sorted rocks based on their characteristics. We also used our sense of touch, sight and smell to learn about the differences between three soil samples (sand, top soil and clay). Next we will be learning about the characteristics that all living things share and sort objects into living and non-living groups. As the weather gets warmer, we will have some outdoor lessons on plants.
In first grade we are beginning our unit on plants and animals. We will be planting some radish and carrot seeds in the Kincaid garden and hopefully be able to harvest them before the end of the school year. First graders will be learning what plants need to survive and how each part of the plant has an important job to do. They will also learn that we eat all parts of plants: roots, stems, flowers, leaves and seeds. We willcompare what animals need to survive to what plants need. As part of our unit on animals, the first graders will learn about worms and how thy sense their environment.
In second grade we are studying life cycles. We learned that they are not the same as a plant and are part of the Fungus group. The second graders dissected mushrooms and looked at the gills under magnifying lenses. Each class made prints of the mushroom spores. Mushroom spores lie on the surface of the gills of mushrooms. We reviewed the parts of plants and compared them to mushrooms. We used our hand lenses to look at the pistil and pollen on flowers.
Try making your own mushroom spore prints at home. Select a mushroom and break the stalk off. Remove enough of the cap on the underside of the mushroom to reveal the gills. Place the cap, with the gills facing down, on a piece of white piece of paper. Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to help release the spores. Cover the cap with a glass cup or jar and leave for 12-24 hours, depending on the humidity and the freshness of the mushroom. The spores will fall on the paper, making a spore print pattern. Spray the print with hairspray to prevent it from smearing.
Next, second graders will learn about the life cycle of a butterfly. Butterflies and their habitats will be delivered to each classroom in early April. Students will observe the caterpillar’s life cycle as they pupate, and then metamorphosize into butterflies! After they develop into butterflies we will release them into the Kincaid Gardens.
Third graders are exploring the Kincaid Nature Trail as they study habitats. We have seen first hand how tornados and forces of nature can alter a habitat. Last summer’s tornados did quite a bit of damage to our nature trail. We will spend some more time on the nature trail later this spring studying micro-habitats. The year will conclude with a special lab activity disection.
We will be modeling food webs and food chains this 9 weeks. Next, the fourth graders will learn about animal adaptations. Through our activity “Eating Like a Bird” they will see how different bird beak types are better suited for specific types of food. Then we will study forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion using balloon rockets and paper helicopters.
Fifth grade just finished their rotation through the five science units. Now, we will go back and review some of our units as we do some fun experiments in the lab. Fifth graders will be identifying the states of matter and physical and chemical changes as they create polymers. We will also use what we learned about the parts of animal and plant cells to go through a process to extract the DNA from bananas. In May, we will get the microscopes out again and obsere pond water to see what microscopic organisms we can find.