Science Lab Newsletter Volume 4-December

Kindergarten

Our Kindergarten students are beginning a new unit on Properties of Materials. We will be exploring and comparing the properties of different materials beginning with a close study of wood. We will be examining, describing and experimenting with different samples of wood, from different types of trees, and will be extending the use of our senses to observe, by using some science tools, such as the balance scale, hand lens, ruler and thermometer.

First Grade

First graders are concluding the Animal Diversity unit with lab experiences that explore the concepts of animal life span, and adaptation, like camouflague, hibernation and migration. We are also learning how to present information using bar graphs or histograms. During this month, we will also begin our second unit on the properties of Matter by starting with an exploration of the many properties of solid objects such as texture, hardness, flexibility, luster and buoancy.

Second Grade

The Second graders just began a new unit on Plant Diversity. We started this unit by planting our own Brassica seeds, a “fast” plant with a short life cycle. Within a few weeks’ time, we will have Brassica plants to use for our study of plant structures. Our Brassica will flower, and produce new pods with seeds that we can then harvest, completing the life cycle! In the meanwhile, we will also be planting rye grass, and wheat from seed, as we monitor the growth of all of our plants, measuring, drawing and recording our observations. We are beginning to see how diverse the world of plants truly is!

Third Grade

The third graders are continuing to study Energy. We are conducting experiments that demonstrate the different forms of energy (such as heat, light, chemical, electrical, sound, etc.) and how energy transformations such as electrical to light, chemical to heat energy, or even chemical to electrical to light can occur. This month we will begin to experiment with electrical circuits to explore the idea of energy flow and transfer. We will be comparing static electricity to this “current” electricity and testing out which materials are good conductors and good insulators of both heat and electrical energy.

Fourth Grade

The fourth graders are beginning a new unit of study on Magnetism and Electricity. We are conducting tests with magnets and exploring magnetic field and how magnetic force can operate on objects through different materials. We are learning about induced magnetism by using magnets to make other steel or iron objects temporarily magnetic. We are investigating electricity by building various electrical circuits, with bulbs and motors. We are using circuit boards, adding switches, to form open and closed circuits, and are drawing real schematic diagrams of our circuits. We will test out and describe objects as being conductors or insulators in electrical circuits.

Fifth Grade

Our 5th graders are continuing their Earth Science unit on Landforms with a series of investigations involving topographic maps. We have learned about the many features of topographic maps, which show several details, (such as elevation) about landforms such as mountains, ridges and valleys as well as bodies of water. The students are learning how to interpret these “birds eye views” of Earth’s topography, as well how to use these maps to create profile drawings of the “faces) of these landforms. We will then begin to experiment with stream tables to help us visualize the processes that shape our land—-erosion and deposition.