First Grade Garden Success

Wow!  Kincaid first grade classes started our garden plants from seed the first week in March.  We then transplanted our seedlings to the garden at the beginning of April.  We are already harvesting vegetables from the Kincaid garden.  We have lettuce and radishes to taste and our snow peas should be ready in a few weeks.


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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.



January 2016

Kindergarten, First and Second grade will be working on STEM projects during some of their science lab time.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.  Each grade at Kincaid is completing a STEM project.   Kincaid will be having a STEM Expo during the day on February 25th.  During this time, we will be showcasing all of the STEM projects.  Watch your child’s classroom blogs and the school emails for more information about our STEM Expo.  Be sure to stop by and see all of the great projects our students have been working on.

Science in January:

Kindergarteners learned how blubber helps Polar Animals survive in the cold Arctic environments.  We used “blubber” mittens to see how blubber insulates polar animals against the cold.  The students put their hand in a bag that had a layer of Crisco between it and another bag.  They then put the hand in the “Blubber” mitten in cold water and their bare hand in cold water and felt the difference.  The hand in the “Blubber” mitten stayed nice and warm!

Kincaid first graders are learning about Light and Shadows. We experimented with flashlights to learn what is needed to create a shadow and to see how an object can have different shaped shadows depending upon the angle of the light.

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Second grade is beginning the year with a STEM project.  Our first lesson was spent learning about the project, brainstorming ideas, and deciding what materials to use.  Next we will create our projects.  Visit us on STEM day, Thursday February 25th, to see what we have done.

Third grade started the year investigating the properties of Magnets.  They explored properties of magnets to see what materials are attracted to magnets, tested magnets to see that not all magnets are the same strength and did experiments with the north and south poles of magnets.  We then used magnets to perform an experiment to see if there was iron in Total cereal.  We were able to prove there is iron in Total!  Look at our results.

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Fourth grade will be studying Light and Sound in January.  First we are learning the differences between concave and convex lenses, using mirrors to study how light can be reflected and experimenting with prisms to refract light.  Next we will be investigating the properties of Sound.  Your child will perform experiments to learn how we can change the pitch of the sound an object makes.

Kincaid fifth graders are studying Cells and Microorganisms.  During this unit all of the fifth graders will be using microscopes.  Our  students will make their our own slides of onion skins and cheek cells to see some of the differences between animal and plant cells.  We will also view samples of pond water to see microorganisms and algae.

Second Nine Weeks Science Activities


Kindergarten students have been performing experiments to see what types of objects float.  Next we will be designing foil boats and testing them to see which design holds the most weight without sinking.

Our First grade classes experimented with Magnets in November to see what types of materials are attracted to magnets and to see that not all magnets are the same strength.  They also learned that magnets have North and South poles.  We have just begun our unit on Sound.  Ask your child what the difference is between volume and pitch.  First graders using tuning forks to learn about vibrations and pitch:

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Second grade students have been learning about different forms of energy.  We performed experiments using heat and light energy in November.  Now we are studying Energy of Motion.  We are experimenting with wind energy to move objects and observe how different sizes, shapes and materials affect how much energy is required to move an object.

Kincaid third graders have just completed the unit on Soil.  Your student should be able to tell you the difference between weathering and erosion.  We have had plenty of opportunities to see erosion happening in our community with all of the rain during November.  The students practiced using balance scales and weighed three different types of soils (sand, loam and clay) to show that some soils are heavier than others.  We also performed a percolation test to see which soil type allows water to pass through quickly and which soil type absorbs the most water.

Fourth grade has been learning about forces and motion.  We designed catapults and launched marshmallows from them to learn about levers and simple machines.

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Next we made “roller coasters” out of foam tubing.  We used marbles on our tracks to study energy and motion. Each group was challenged to create a “roller coaster” with one loop.  The marble had to go around the loop, reach the end of the track and be slowing down or stopping at the end of the track.  The students had to determine how to adjust their tracks to have enough energy for the marble to make it around the loop but not so much energy that the marble was going too fast at the end of the track.  We had lots of creative designs!

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Fifth grade has been “lighting up” the classroom as we study electricity.  We tested different set-ups of batteries and light bulbs to see what makes a circuit.  Next we will be learning the difference between a series and parallel circuit and how a switch works.


More October Fun

First grade concluded their study of the Water Cycle and Weather by making ice cream in a bag to see how water can change from a liquid to a solid when the temperature is lowered.  And then we ate our ice cream! YUM!  If you would like to try this at home here is the recipe we used:

Ice Cream in a Bag: For every cup of milk (or cream) add 4 teaspoons of sugar.  For vanilla ice cream add 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring or for chocolate add 2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup.  Place the mixture in a Ziploc bag, seal it and then place inside a second Ziploc bag (in case the first one comes open or tears).  Place your bag of ice cream mix in a large freezer size Ziploc bag or a large plastic container, add ice and about 1/2 cup ice cream salt, seal and shake until it turns to a solid.  It will take at least 10 minutes. (If you have trouble getting it to change to a solid, add more ice cream salt to the ice.)

Second grade performed an experiment to see what solution would best clean the tarnish off of pennies.  We tested 5 solutions: water and salt, water and sugar, water and soap, vinegar and salt, and vinegar and sugar.  And the winner was the vinegar and salt solution!

Fourth grade used the scientific method to perform an experiment to learn “How many M&Ms are in a fun size bag?”.  We found the average for all 5 classes was 15 M&Ms in a fun size bag.  We also sorted the M&Ms by color and surprisingly found that instead of about the same amount of each color, we had significantly more blue and orange M&Ms than the other colors.

October News

Kindergarten is studying Gravity during the month of October.  We did experiments like the ones done by Galileo to see that objects of different weights fall at the same speed.

The Kincaid first graders will be finishing their units on Water and Weather during October.  We learned how to use balance scales and did an experiment to see that ice weighs the same as the liquid created when the ice melts.

Second grade continued their unit on Matter.  We investigated liquids and gases to learn the differences between them and solids.  We even blew up a balloon without using our mouths!

How to blow up a balloon without using your mouth: Pour about a cup of vinegar into an empty plastic water bottle.  Put a large spoonful of baking soda into a balloon.  Stretch the balloon over the opening of the water bottle (be careful not to lift it up and let the baking soda fall into the bottle).  Lift the balloon up over the bottle and let the baking soda fall out of the balloon and into the bottle.  Watch the balloon expand as a gas is produced from the reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda.

Third grade will be finishing their unit on Fossils this month.  We have already created mold fossils using clay.  Next each student will make a cast fossil out of plaster of paris.  Ask your child what the difference is between a mold and a cast fossil.

Fourth grade:  We finished our units on Weather and the Water Cycle with a lesson on clouds.  We had a great time getting our hands messy  and making the different types of clouds with shaving cream.  Then we made a “Cloud in a Bottle”.  Check out the “Cloud in a Bottle” demonstration on the Steve Spangler website:

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Next we will be learning about energy, pushes and pulls, and simple machines.

Fifth grade will be beginning their unit on Matter this month.  We will be learning the difference between physical and chemical changes and performing some experiments so we can see some chemical changes.  The fifth graders will also learn how to use a light microscope and use them to see how different substances that look alike when viewed with our eyes actually have different shapes when looked at under magnification.

September Mini-STEM Challenges

First Grade Rain Shelters

Can we keep the ducks dry?

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 Fifth Grade Earthquake Challenge

Groups built structures using 30 toothpicks and 15 mini-marshmallows.  The structure needed to be at least 5 inches high and free-standing.  We tested the structures to see if they could survive our “Earthquake” (stand on a pan of shaking jello for 20 seconds).

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More 1st quarter science lab news

Kindergarten had a lesson on our 5 senses this week.  We tried to identify what was in a container based only on what we could hear, smell or feel.  We also used our 5 senses to describe an OREO cookie.  Lastly we used our sense of taste and ate our OREO.  YUM!

First grade will be completing a “mini-STEM” challenge during their next science lab.  They will be selecting materials and constructing a rain shelter to keep my family of ducks dry.  Check back soon for pictures.

Second grade will begin their unit on Matter by studying solids when they come to the science lab.  Over the next few weeks, they will investigate liquids and gases to complete their unit on Matter.

Third grade continued investigating rocks and minerals this week.  They learned how to perform a streak test on minerals and learned what luster is.

Fourth grade will be working in groups to make weather instruments during their next trip to the science lab.  They will test them and explain their weather instrument to the other groups.  Check back soon for some pictures.

Fifth grade learned about erosion.  We used a stream table to study river erosion and the formation of deltas.  We also set up a “beach” in a stream table and studied beach erosion.  During their next visit to the science lab they will be performing a “mini-STEM” challenge to see how buildings can withstand earthquakes.

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


  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.


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.