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.










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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Look what we have been up to in the Science Lab

The first graders had fun making homemade silly putty.  If you would like to try it at home, here is the recipe:

  • Mix three parts Elmers glue with one part water.  Fill half a 5 oz Dixie cup with the diluted glue.
  • Add 3 drops of food coloring to the glue and stir with a wooden craft stick.
  • Dissolve 2 tsp of Borax laundry powder in 1 cup of water.
  • Pour some of the Borax solution on top of the glue and stir it into the glue.  The mixture should begin to stick to the craft stick.
  • Remove the “silly putty” from the cup and squeeze all of the water out until it is rubbery.
  • You are done!  Have fun playing with your silly putty.  Store it in a plastic ziploc bag to keep it soft.
  • Note: The silly putty will stick to paper.

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Fourth grade has been studying Forces and Simple Machines.  To learn about levers we designed catapults and launched marshmallows.  Congratulations to Group #6 in Mr. Long’s class for launching the marshmallow the farthest distance!

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In fifth grade we made Borax crystal snowflakes and figures to study physical changes.  Here are some of our creations.

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Sweet Potato Harvest

Last spring the Kincaid first graders learned about George Washington Carver.  As part of their lessons they grew sweet potato slips and planted the sprouts in the Kincaid Garden.  After growing all summer long it is finally harvest time.  This week the second graders had the chance to help dig the sweet potatoes and see how well the sprouts they started last spring matured into sweet potatoes.  We dug the potatoes, counted them, weighed them, and measured them.

The results:

  • Total potatoes harvested – 64
  • Heaviest sweet potato – 335 grams
  • longest sweet poatato – 25 centimeters















We also harvested black eyed peas and removed them from the shell.















Fun in the Science Lab!

Earthquake Challnge

Can your structure withstand a “jello” earthquake?  Fifth grade has been learning about constructive and destructive forces.  They used 15 marshmallows and 30 toothpicks to build a structure that could withstand an “earthquake”.  They tested their sturctures by placing them on a pan of jello.  We shook the pan of jello to simulate an earthquake.  The goal was to build a structure that would remain standing for a 20 second “earthquake”.

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First grade rain shelters

First grade has been learning about “The Water Cycle” and Weather.  During one of our lessons we tested materials to see if they were waterproof.  Later we used our knowledge of waterproof materials to build a rain shleter to protect our friend “Quackers” the duck from the rain.  Here are some of our designs.

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Welcome Back!

Welcome back to school!  All grades will be coming to the science lab on a regular roatation every 2 weeks for hands-on lessons that complement the science units they are studying in their classrooms.

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While all of us have been enjoying our summer break the Kincaid Garden has been growing and thriving.  There have been lots of tomatoes and herbs growing throughout the summer.  The sweet potato plants look great and there are some pretty sunflowers.   Later this fall the second graders will help to harvest the sweet potatoes.

We have started a new program, “Try It”, to promote the vegetables grown in our garden and locally in GA.  On “Try It” days we will be serving samples of foods made from some of the same vegetables growing in our garden in the cafeteria during lunch.  Last May we had our first “Try It” day and served dip made with some of the herbs from our garden and vegetables that we were growing in the garden.  We will have several “Try It” days during the school year and then post the recipes on the blog.

"Try It" Herb dip, carrots, and radishes.

“Try It” Herb dip, carrots, and radishes.



April in the Science Lab

We Got Down & Dirty… In Our Learning Garden!

The Kincaid Foundation is partnering with the Captain Planet Foundation to turn our outdoor garden into a full-fledged Learning Garden!   As part of this partnership, the Captain Planet team is providing Kincaid with several outdoor lesson and supplies for each grade level and helping us to improve our garden.  The Captain Planet team, volunteers from Delta, Kincaid parent volunteers, and several of our 2nd – 5th grade classes worked together on Thursday, April 17th to build beds, add compost to the beds, plant, and clean up the garden area.

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The Kincaid Kindergarteners have been learning about plants and what they need to survive.  Each student planted grass in a cup.  We decorated the cups to look like a person’s head and the grass will be the hair.  This month we used our senses to explore the Kincaid Garden in a garden scavenger hunt. 

First Grade

The carrots, radishes, and snow peas we planted last month are growing well in the garden.  We hope to be able to harvest some of them before our summer break.  This month, we compared what animals need to survive to what plants need and found that we need some of the same things.  As part of our unit on animals we examined live earth worms in the science lab.  We learned that the main sense organ of an earth worm is its skin and learned how they can help our gardens.   

Earlier this year, the first graders learned about George Washington Carver.  We have been growing sweet potato slips in the classrooms and will plant them in the garden in May.  In the fall, when your first grader is in second grade they will help harvest the sweet potatoes.  We will use the sweet potatoes in a recipe and all students will have the opportunity to taste it.  

Second Grade

The second graders have been learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.  Each class has received painted lady butterfly larva.  Students will observe the caterpillar’s life cycle as they pupate, and then go through metamorphosis and become butterflies!  After they develop into butterflies we will release them into the Kincaid Gardens.

During their last visit to the science lab, they practiced using common lab equipment and measured the weight and size of various objects.

Third Grade

In March we had a Magnet exploration lab.  One of the activities was making an electromagnet which is a temporary magnet.  This month we made Solar ovens out of pizza boxes.  In May we will take them outside and see if we can bake S’mores in them and record the temperature inside our solar ovens.

We will also be dissecting owl pellets as part of our habitat unit.  As part of the dissection lab we will learn about the owl’s role in food chains.

Fourth Grade

The fourth graders learned about animal adaptations in a fun activity “Eating Like A Bird”.  We also learned about food webs and discussed how changes in an ecosystem can affect food chains and populations of animals.  We watched an interesting video “How Wolves Change Rivers” which showed how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park affected not only the other wildlife living there but also changed the land.  Here is the link if you would like to view it.

 We will finish the year studying forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion using balloon rockets

Fifth grade

As an extension of our unit on matter we learned about polymers and made “atomic worms”.

Earlier this year the fifth graders learned about Cells and Heredity.  We used 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 observe pond water to see what microscopic organisms we can find.


Atlanta Science Festival


 Check out the Atlanta Science Festival March 22 – 29, 2014

The Atlanta Science Festival is a week-long celebration of local science and technology. Atlanta residents of all ages will have the opportunity to explore the science and technology in our region and see how science is connected to all parts of our lives in a range of hands-on activities, facility tours, presentations, and performances. The Festival culminates in the FREE family-friendly EXPLORATION EXPO at Centennial Olympic Park, March 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 More information can be found at

Spring Science News


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.

First Grade

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.

Second Grade

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 grade

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. 

Fourth Grade

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

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.

Third Quarter Science News

By now I am sure you have heard from your child some of the fun lessons we have been doing in the science lab. Here is an update of what has been happening in the Kincaid Science Lab.


 As part of their STEM project, the Kindergarten classes visited the science lab this month to create “pens” for their animals using marshmallows and toothpicks.  Each student had a stuffed animal that they brought to school.  In the science lab they decided upon a shape for a pen to keep their animal in.  Next using toothpicks and marshmallows they built the fence for their pen. 

Kindergarteners learned how blubber helps Polar Animals survive in the cold Arctic environments.  We used “blubber” mittens to see how blubber insulates 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!

In February, the kindergarteners will be coming to the science lab for a lesson on hand washing and teeth brushing.  Later this spring, they will learn the characteristics of living organisms and sort items into living and non-living groups.

First Grade

First Grade visited the Science Lab to design their homemade drums as part of their STEM project.  On January 30th, they will return to the science lab to make and test the drums.  We will incorporate some art into our STEM project and decorate the outside of the drums.

The next unit first grade will study is Light and Shadows.  We will experiment 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. 

Second Grade

The Kincaid second graders recently completed a lesson on the steps of the Scientific Method. Ask your second grader how many drops of water will fit on the top of a penny before they roll off. You might be surprised at the answer! 

We are now learning all about the stars and the moon.  Students made their own constellations and named them.  Over the next month they will be learning about shadows, what causes day and night, and the phases of the moon.

Third Grade

Third grade just finished a lesson on Conservation and Recycling in preparation for the CRCT.   We will spend the next month doing activities to learn about heat energy.  Your third grader will be performing experiments to learn how heat travels between different states of matter.  They will learn the difference between radiation, convection and conduction.  Ask them to tell you about our experiment with red (hot) and blue (cold) water.

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade has been studying Light and Sound.  In December we learned about concave and convex lenses, used mirrors to study how light can be reflected and experimented with prism to refract light.  Then in January the fourth graders experimented with sound.  We used sound bottles, rubber band “guitars”, and straws to learn how sounds have different pitches.

Next, the Kincaid fourth graders will be studying the Moon and Stars.  We will begin by making constellation viewers and then move on to study the phases of the moon.

Fifth grade (1st-3rd quarters)


The fifth graders will make their hair stand on end when they experiment with static electricity.  They will learn what is needed to make a complete circuit that allows electricity to flow through.  Students will use batteries, light bulbs and wires to make series and parallel circuits.  See if your child knows which type of circuit is used to wire a house.  They will also learn what items are good conductors of electricity and what materials make good insulators.


We will be making molecules out of pretzels and marshmellows and learning about density.  Additional activities in the science lab will include experiments to see physical and chemical changes.  Most of our experiments use items commonly found in your house so you can ask them to show you some of our experiments.

 Classification and Heredity:

We will learn about taxonomy by classifying “aliens” from the planet “Pamishan” based upon their appearance.  During our science lab time we will also learn about inherited and acquired characteristics, what a genotype and a phenotype are, and do an activity where each student will come up with different genotypes for facial features and then draw the face based upon the genotype/phenotype that they came up with.

 Constructive and Destructive Forces:

Students will do activities to learn about erosion, volcanoes, earthquakes, and deltas.  Students will use stream tables to show erosion caused by streams and rain and the formation of deltas.  They will also study the effects of waves on beach erosion and learn how a reef can lessen the force of the waves and therefor reduce beach erosion.

 Cells and Microorganisms:

For this unit the students are learning how to use microscopes.  They will make their our own slides of onion skins and cheek cells to see some of the differences between animal and plant cells.  They will also learn about helpful and harmful microorganisms and test areas of the school to see which are the germiest.