More August Science News

First grade started their first science unit: Weather and Water.  We looked at some weather equipment and talked about what it is used for.  We also learned that the water on Earth is continually being recycled through a process called the Water Cycle.  Students tested different materials to see if they are waterproof in preparation for our mini-STEM challenge.

Second grade practiced using lab equipment this week.  We weighed different objects using balance scales.  We also practiced using pipettes and tweezers.

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Fourth grade is also studying the Water Cycle and Weather.  We modeled the water cycle in the science lab using soda bottles, hot water and cups of ice.  Your student should have brought home a take-home science experiment (The Water Cycle in a Bag).  Ask them to explain the steps of the water cycle they see happening in their “Water Cycle in a Bag” experiment.

Kincaid Garden: Please excuse our mess!  We are taking a gardening break this fall.  The Kincaid Garden will need to be relocated due to the new addition being built to replace the K building.  We will be moving the garden beds, benches, some garden equipment (tomato cages and pots) and transplanting a few plants during Hands on Atlanta Day on October 3rd.  We will need a few strong volunteers to help out.  If you are interested in helping, please let Mrs. Nastasi know by email.

August Science Lab News

 Fifth grade

We started our first unit on Constructive and Destructive Forces.  During class we erupted “volcanoes” and discussed if they were constructive, destructive or both.  Ask your child what the “Ring of Fire” is.

How to make a volcano:

materials: baking soda, vinegar, water, container with a small opening (like a 2L soda bottle), cup and spoon.  Optional for cool special effects: food coloring and liquid dish detergent

Directions:

  1. Put 3 large spoonfuls of baking soda into the cup.  Add water until the cup is half full.  Stir.
  2. Pour 2 cups of vinegar into the soda bottle or other container.  Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and a squirt of liquid dish detergent.
  3. Place the soda bottle on the ground outside.  Stir the baking soda into the water and quickly pour the mixture into the bottle.
  4. Stand back! (note: if you use a smaller bottle like a water bottle then use less vinegar and baking soda)

 

We also reviewed weathering and erosion. We used burnt toast to simulate weathering and erosion.  The toast was our “Rock”.  The students used a knife to break off crumbs.  As we went through the activity the crumbs (or “sediments”) were poured into a test tube to show how layers of different sediments can form sedimentary rocks.  Ask you child to explain what part of the activity represented weathering and what part represented erosion.

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 Third Grade

Third grade’s first science unit is Rocks and Minerals.  During our first lesson we learned about igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks.  Each student brought a “pet” rock to science lab and we learned what characteristics made our rocks unique from the other rocks.

 Kindergarten

I met all of the Kindergarten students this week.  We looked at a snake skin, a geode, a scorpion (don’t worry it was dead!) and a bird’s nest.  We also had fun playing with the tornado tubes.

 

More Welcome Back Activites in the Science Lab

1st grade participated in a small group activity designed to see how well they followed directions, worked as a team, and designed a tower.  They were given cardboard tubes and pieces of cardboard.  The groups were told how many tubes to place on each level but not how to arrange them.  They then had to decide how to place their tubes in order to have a strong base and balance the weight on top.

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2nd grade participated in a group activity: “Domino Diving Boards”.  They used dominoes to build a ledge that hangs out over the edge of a book like a diving board over a pool.   They used a ruler to see how far the ledge “hangs out” before it collapses.  Then each group tried to improve their design and tried again.  We learned that the opposite end must have enough support, or weight, to hold up the weight of the extended end.  Here are some examples of our “Domino Diving Boards”.

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Fourth graders began the year with a mini-STEM challenge.  They were challenged to build the tallest tower they could constructed of only index cards.  Each group could only use 10 index cards.  The cards could be bent, folded or rolled but not cut or torn.  The towers had to be free-standing.  They quickly figured out that in order for a tower to stand the tower needed a strong, stable base and the weight above the base needed to be balanced.  We had fun seeing all of the different designs everyone came up with.  Here are a few of our towers.

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Welcome Back!

I am looking forward to a year full of fun science activities with your children.  We are starting off the year with some team-building mini STEM challenges.  The third grade students were challenged this week to build the tallest free-standing tower out of 5 pipe cleaners.   We learned that a tower needs a strong, stable base to support the weight above it.  We also learned that there is more than one way to build a tower out of pipe cleaners and often problems have multiple solutions.  I am proud of how your children worked cooperatively and shared their ideas to accomplish the goal.  Here are some of our towers!

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Fifth graders had to work together to stack cups in different configurations using a rubber band with four strings attached.  They were not allowed to touch the cups with their hands or any part of their body.  After successfully learning how to work together as a team to maneuver the cups into different required configurations they were then challenged to build the tallest tower they could with ten cups.  Once again we saw their was more than one way to build a tall tower.  Here are some of the fifth graders and their towers.

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