What is a Scientist?

With help from What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn, our Kindergarten students are learning that “A scientist is a person who… asks questions, learns from her senses, draws, writes, notices details, measures, counts, sorts, tests predictions, experiments, thinks logically, keeps trying, and has fun.”

Students used the C-E-R (Claims-Evidence-Reasoning) format for scientific explanations while investigating seeds in green vegetables.  Are all the seeds in green vegetables the same?

Our claim (a one sentence answer to the question) was that even though all the vegetables were green, the seeds would not be the same.

Our evidence (data to support the claim) came from “dissecting” a zucchini, pepper, cucumber, and green beans to find the seeds inside.

Our reasoning (how or why the data supports the claim) was that even though all the vegetables were green, the size, shape, color, and texture of the seeds were different.  So, our claim was correct!

Garden Club 2019-2020


 Once again, this year’s theme at Nickajack is “Planting with a Purpose”.  Thanks to grant funding by Keep Smyrna Beautiful, Keep Cobb Beautiful, and our fabulous PTA, we have everything we need to get “planting”!  As a Cobb County Green School, our intent is to show students what it means to really be “green” and how it can (and will) impact our world as we get closer to the 21st Century.    

Students in grades 2-5, who display creativity, imagination, interest in Science, and motivation are all welcome to apply to join Garden Club.  This year we will also begin a K/1 session that will meet once a month.  This is a teacher led club, all we ask is that parents provide snack and/or water for the group at least once during the semester (we have hungry and thirsty scientists by 2:30 J).

If you have not seen our gardens, PLEASE do so.  We have been very fortunate to have teachers and parents who work hard to keep our garden growing.    Garden Club will take place on Thursday afternoons.  Once we have an idea of enrollment, I will provide a monthly calendar.

There are no applications for Garden Club.  Students are required to talk in person with Mrs. Heflin to explain why they think GC is for them.  If your child brings home a permission form then you know they are ready to join the club. Please email Deryl.Heflin@cobbk12.org with any questions.

We are looking forward to another great year!

Mrs. Heflin

Welcome 2019-2020 School Year!

I hope everyone is ready for a new exciting school year.  We are ready to go in the Science Lab and have many fun activities planned for all of you.  Please check back often to see what our students are doing and to get updates on “Science happenings” in our school community.  I will be updating this blog next week with Garden Club and Science Olympiad information.

Please feel free to contact me at Deryl.Heflin@cobbk12.org if you have questions or would like to volunteer in the Science Lab.  I’m looking forward to another wonderful year at Nickajack!

Exploring Circuits with Makey Makey

Students in Ms. Ladd, O’Connell, and Raque’s 5th grade class explore circuits and conductivity using Makey Makey.  They will be coding their own video games using scratch soon, and will use Makey Makey as the controller!

The Makey Makey is an electronic invention kit for all ages! The Makey Makey allows you to take everyday objects and combine them with the internet. Using the alligator clips attached to any conductive material you can control the keyboard of your computer, such as the space bar, arrow keys and left click of the mouse.

PTA Campus Workday THIS Saturday

Nickajack Beautification Day!!  


When: Saturday March 9, 2019

Time: 9:00am – 2:00pm

Where:  Nickajack Elementary


Sign up here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4aa4ab2ca0fe3-nickajack1 (you may have to cut and paste link)


Last month we got a lot done.  This time we need to finish what we started.   There is always trash accumulating on our school grounds that needs to be cleaned up.  Pressure washing of the Play Grounds, Blowing debris and dirt of of the upper fields playground and lower playground, painting of picnic tables and our biggest item that needs to be tackled is replacement of 10 planter boxes around the school campus – the existing ones are falling apart and really an eye sore.


Please bring your tools and help us tackle these items this Saturday!

Thanks Nickajack Foundation for our new Lego WeDo

2nd grade students in Ms. Tucker and Sr. Llanos’ class enjoy the new Lego WeDo 2.0 sets which were provided by a Foundation Grant.  You can tell from the big smiles that we are loving every minute!t

This set is based upon the latest science standards and was created to enhance students’ curiosity and science skills. The set is delivered in a storage bin along with sorting trays, labels, a Smarthub, a Medium Motor, Motion Sensor, a Tilt Sensor, and enough building elements for two students.

The accompanying desktop and tablet supported software provides an easy-to-use programming environment and includes the WeDo 2.0 Curriculum Pack, which covers life, physical, earth, and space sciences, as well as engineering.

Minecraft EDU

S5L3.b.  Develop a model to identify and label parts of a plant and animal cell (membrane, wall, cytoplasm, nucleus, chloroplasts).

5th grade students use Minecraft EDU to build cell models.

Is It Winter?

First grade students use the C-E-R (Claims-Evidence-Reasoning) format for scientific explanations to determine if it is Winter.  Students started with a word splash, followed by a short Peep video.  Next they conducted a Winter Scavenger Hunt to collect data to support their claim.

Our claim (a one sentence answer to the question) was that it is indeed winter.

Our evidence( data to support our claim) came from our scavenger hunt.

Our reasoning (how or why the data supports the claim) was that even though it was warm outside today,  the weather has been very chilly, the leaves are off the trees, and we saw very few animals. So, we determined that our claim was correct!


Snack Sort Challenge

Sort my Snack STEM Challenge

5th Grade students investigate physical and chemical changes by manipulating solid objects.

The Chex Company needs your help! People LOVE Chex mix, but there are plenty of folks out there that don’t like one particular part of the snack. Chex would like you to create a product that they could sell to easily separate the mixture into its different parts for their picky snackers!

Challenge: Build a snack sorter that will separate the different parts of a mixed snack.


  1. The snack mix will be deposited into your sorter all mixed up, and should come out sorted by item.
  2. Your sorter must not spill while in the process of sorting your snack.
  3. Your sorter should be re-useable.


You only have 1-2 days during your STEM time for construction!

You may only use the provided materials

You can’t take the materials home

You must work together as a group to finish the project!