Welcome to a new school year! Here is our first Science Lab Newsletter, outlining the units on each grade that we are currently studying in the lab.
Sincerely, Mrs. Garcia
Our Kindergarten students are learning to use inquiry skills such as observation, and prediction. We are learning to use our 5 senses to learn more about the word around us. We are beginning our life science unit with an investigation of Trees. We are learning about the needs of trees, how trees are used as resources, and about the many structures of trees and their functions. Our students will be comparing tree types like broad leaf and conifer trees, and will be learning to identify different tree types by their silhouettes/shapes. We will explore tree puzzles and tree card games and are caring for our own classroom tree!
We will first be practicing skills of scientific inquiry. Then first graders begin with a life science unit on animal diversity. We first study and learn about the many different categories of animals that inhabit our world! In the lab, we then begin to explore insects and their life cycles. We will be watching very closely as our insect larvae change into pupae, and then into adult darkling beetles, as we learn about their life cycle. We will study the special characteristics that all insects have and then, we will compare our beetles to other kinds of insects.
After practicing inquiry skills of prediction, and observation, our second graders are exploring Earth’s Materials. We will be investigating the various properties of rocks and describing the job of geologists in comparing and contrasting various naturally occurring materials. We will be exploring volcanic rocks and river rocks, and using screens to help us to classify/sort our rocks by size. Then we will begin to prepare settling vials in order to discover that there are earth materials even smaller than sand- like silt and clay!
After reinforcing our understanding of scientific methodologies, the third graders begin working together to solve problems relating to matter. We are learning how to categorize matter and how to measure samples of it, using specific instruments and/or tools. We are measuring the mass of matter using balance scales, and will also be measuring the volume of matter using measuring tools such as beakers, graduated cylinders and syringes. We will be exploring capacity and how it relates to the volume of matter in the liquid state. Students are getting practice with first making predictions/estimations, and then measuring actual quantities of matter and recording the data that they collect, using appropriate standard metric units for mass (grams) and for volume (liters and milliliters).
The Fourth graders are exploring Ecosystems by building their own in the lab, as part of our first unit on how Animals and Plants interact in their environment! We first conduct a soil study, and then we begin to build class terrariums, to explore the various components of ecosystems. We will then have our own living food chains to help us to understand how producers, and various types of consumers depend on one another for food energy. We will be working with and exploring grasses, earthworms, crickets and chameleons and their roles in the food chain.
Fifth grade scientists are exploring the essential question: How do Scientists Gather and Share Information? They are conducting several controlled experiments in the lab, for example, we tested out temperature’s affect on the emergence of a “sponge creature” from it’s “cocoon”, and are conducting an ongoing investigation involving how pendulums work, and what variables may affect the number of times a pendulum swings in a given time frame. All of our experiments are following scientific methodologies, and students are learning that to be valid, an experiment must test only one variable at a time!