Spring 2016

Kindergarten has been very busy!  Last month we learned about rocks.  What a fun unit to explore, sort, and study.  We even brought home a few rocks to start our own rock collection!  Next we studied living and nonliving.  Finally we are learning about the parts of plants and what plants need to survive.  We drew faces on cups and planted grass seed in them.  When the grass grows our cup “people” will have “hair”.

Kincaid First Grade Plant Project:

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First grade has also been learning all about plants.  We studied the parts of a plant and created our own plants out of craft supplies and recycled materials for our STEM day project.  We made homemade greenhouses out of milk jugs and planted seeds in them.  The milk jugs allow air, sunlight and water to reach our seeds but protect them against cold weather.  We learned about what a plant needs to have in order to live and grow.  These seeds have now grown into seedlings big enough to plant in our school garden.  We transplanted them to the garden this week and can’t wait until our vegetables are big enough to eat!

Second grade has been studying of celestial bodies.  We began the unit by learning about stars and constellations.  Students created and named their own constellation in the night sky using rice on black paper.  Next, we learned about the moon and had fun using oreo coookies to model the phases of the moon!  Now we are learning about life cycles.  We will be watching the life cycle of a butterfly in our classroom.  Each class has received butterfly larvae and will observe them as they enter the chrysalis stage and then as the butterflies emerge.  Finally we will release the butterflies in the gardens surrounding Kincaid.  We learned that the life cycle of a mushroom is not the same as a plant’s life cycle and that mushrooms 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 24 hours.  The spores will fall on the paper, making a spore print pattern.  Spray the print with hairspray to prevent it from smearing.

The Kincaid third graders have been studying heat energy.  We performed experiments to learn the difference between Radiation, Convection and Conduction.  Before spring break we made Solar ovens out of pizza boxes.  This month we will take them outside and see if we can bake S’mores in them and record the temperature inside our solar ovens.

Kincaid Fourth Graders learned about celestial bodies last month.  We have learned about constellations by making a model of Orion to help us understand how stars are different distances from Earth and that the closer stars are appear brighter.  Then we learned why the moon appears to change shape throughout the month.   We also learned that the moon always has daylight on half of it and nighttime on the other (just like the earth!). The students have worked on understanding how the Earth’s tilt on its axis and its revolving around the sun that effects seasons.

Finally we have moved into animal adaptations. We are learning how animals adapt to their habitat and what is available to eat. We will be having a lot of fun with a bird beak activity in which the students used different items to see if they could pick up seeds, algae, worms, fish, and nectar.

Fifth grade has been learning how to classify organisms  and learning about Cells and Heredity.  We completed an individual trait chart on ourselves and then compiled a class trait chart to see which inherited traits were more common.  We also fingerprinted ourselves and compared fingerprints to see that each person’s fingerprints are unique.  We then used what we learned about the parts of animal and plant cells to go through a process to extract the DNA from bananas.



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