Happy Autumn! Here is our second Science Lab Newsletter, outlining the units on each grade that we are currently studying in the lab.
Our Kindergarten students are continuing to investigate trees. We are learning about the needs of trees, how trees are used as resources, for food, wood, paper and for homes and shade! We are making tree booklets about the many structures of trees and their functions. Our students are comparing tree types like broad leaf and conifer trees, and are learning about how they look over the four seasons. We are learning to identify different tree types by their silhouettes or shapes. We are playing tree card games and are beginning to look more closely at leaves.
Our first graders are becoming insect experts! We are learning all about insect life cycles, and about how different they look and behave at each of the stages during their life cycle. We are using our “culture” of darkling beetles to study the special characteristics that can help us to identify an animal as an insect, such as, three body parts, six legs, antennae and wings. We will compare our beetles to other kinds of insects, and to other types of animals.
Continuing with our exploration of river rocks, second graders are using screens with various sized holes, to help separate and classify/sort our rocks by size. We are learning about the processes of erosion and weathering which create all of this variation in the sizes of earth’s materials, by examining different sizes of rocks (from sand to gravel and from to pebble to cobble and boulder!) Later, we will begin to prepare settling vials so that we can discover that there are earth materials even smaller than sand- like silt and clay!
The third grade is exploring volume by using tools such as syringes, graduated cylinders and beakers to measure the amount of space that liquid takes up. They are exploring the capacity of various containers and how it relates to the volume of matter in the liquid state. Students are continuing to practice making predictions/estimations, and then measuring actual quantities of matter and recording the data that they collect, using appropriate standard metric units for liquid volume (liters and milliliters).
The fourth grade has completed the building of our class terrarium ecosystems. They are complete functioning systems with producers (grass plants) and various consumers (earthworms, crickets and lizards) We now have our own living food chains to help us to understand how different kinds of organisms depend on one another for food energy. We are also studying more complex food webs, with varied herbivores and carnivores and will be investigating predator and prey relationships in a very exciting way-we will be dissecting owl pellets!
Fifth grade scientists are finishing up our first unit on Scientific Methodologies and experimental design, by conducting a final experiment involving boat design. We are looking at the variables that may affect the number of passengers (pennies) that our boats (cups) can keep afloat in water! This exciting project reviews concepts of sinking, floating and buoyancy while reinforcing our understanding of the importance of controlling independent variables in scientific investigations.