Science Lab Newsletter Volume #3 November

changing-seasonsKindergarten

Kindergarteners in Unit 1: Trees Through the Seasons are making tree booklets about the many structures of trees and their functions. They are also studying leaves and focusing on how different leaves from different trees have different shapes. We are also investigating other parts of trees such as their flowers and the fruits that they produce. We are studying the life cycle of flowering plants and trees by closely examining flowers, fruits and seeds. We are dissecting seeds to examine what they contain inside, and we will also germinate seeds, as we study the process of germination. We will then plant our very own seedlings too!

First Grade

Our first graders are becoming animal experts as they continue to explore their Animal Diversity unit. We explored the food chain and watched real examples of how animals pass along food energy from plants to other animals in classroom terrariums, with our crickets and chameleons (reptiles). We also studied amphibians by reading about and observing frogs and toads in our lab, and are very excited to continue learning about animal life cycles and animal life spans by reading and observing real organisms.

Second Grade

The second graders are continuing to explore their Earth Science Unit. Geologists are studying the many uses of Earth’s materials as natural resources. We used real earth clay to build models of volcanoes that we then used to investigate how volcanoes change earth’s surface! We will perform an in class “excavation” of fossils from sedimentary rock to experience how paleontologists find out about living things that lived in the past by studying the remains they leave behind in rock.

Third Grade

The third graders are moving from their Matter unit onto their Energy unit with several temperature investigations. We are learning about heat or thermal energy and what it means to be hotter (gaining heat energy) or colder (losing heat energy). We are measuring the temperature of various water samples, and making predictions about what happens to heat when samples at different temperatures are mixed. Students are reading thermometers and recording data using degrees Celsius, the standard metric unit for temperature. We are also learning how to graph temperature data that we have collected during our experiments, and we are practicing how to interpret and draw conclusions from the graphs we create.

Fourth Grade

The fourth graders are exploring many ecological principles like adaptation (both structural like beak shape and behavioral like predation or migration), competition, migration, and hibernation by playing games that simulate many of these concepts. We are making predictions and collecting data as we observe how changing environmental conditions can affect populations of organisms. Students are learning how to interpret the data they collect during our games, and how to make inferences by closely examining their data. They are also learning to graph the data they collect, making it easier to study.

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade scientists have begun a new Earth Science unit on Landforms. We began with investigations involving identification of minerals present in various rock samples. We conducted tests and made several observations. We are currently examining samples that have formed in various ways: igneous (from magma, lava), sedimentary (from sediments, compaction and cementation) and metamorphic (from heat and pressure exerted on any rock type). We are comparing samples and learning about special characteristics that rocks have that can help us to identify how and where they formed.