Science Lab Newsletter January

Kindergarten

Our Kindergarten students began the new year with explorations of different materials that sink or float in water. We are continuing to observe and describe the properties of matter by working with various types of solids such as paper and fabric. We are comparing the textures of various samples of papers and fabrics through exploration with our senses and with science tools. We are making predictions about what will happen to our paper samples when we conduct simple “tests” on them. We make observations and describe what we find out. We are also learning to make inferences about how the various types of materials might be used, based on their properties that we have discovered.

First Grade

Our first grade students are exploring solids as the first part of our unit on Matter. We are developing rich vocabulary to describe the solid objects that we are working with in the lab, such as rigid and flexible, transparent or opaque or shiny and dull. We are having fun exploring these varied solid objects by becoming “engineers” as we build constructions using various solid materials in specific ways that utilize their properties a building material! We are also sorting solid materials into groups of solids that share particular properties, noticing how they are similar and dissimilar.

Second Grade

The Second graders are continuing to watch our Brassica plants grow! They have already grown buds and began flowering and soon we will begin to pollinate them! We will be on the look out for seedpods, containing seeds just like the ones we planted originally. As we monitor these plants we have also planted rye and alfalfa grasses, and are learning through experience, that our Plant Kingdom is quite diverse. We are comparing the seeds themselves and then the structures of the plants as they grow in the lab. The students are excited to draw, label, measure, and record the changes that occur to our plants in their journals. We will also grow wheat from seed this month and then move onto other ways that new plants can grow, besides from seeds!

Third Grade

The third graders are continuing to study Energy. This month we will be focusing on the transformations of energy that occur as one form of energy becomes another. We will be constructing wind turbines and then using the mechanical energy of the spinning blades to generate electricity in the lab! The students will be able to see how their constructions can harness wind energy and use it to generate electricity by reading our class voltmeters to measure how much electricity we generate. We will also be conducting experiments where we convert light energy into electrical energy using our mini solar panels. Our students learn through experience about the multitude of ways that we can get energy to do work!

Fourth Grade

The fourth graders are completing their unit on Magnetism and Electricity this month in the lab. They have built and explored both series and parallel circuits, and have drawn schematic diagrams of each, writing about their similarities and differences while exploring why certain wiring works better than others, as they problem solved for solutions together. They will be experimenting next with electromagnets, using coiled wire, an iron rivet, and our electrical circuits to discover the connections between the force of Magnetism and electrical energy. We are conducting experiments to determine the relationship between the number of coils of wire, and the strength of the magnet we temporarily create. We will also read about the scientists/inventors Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison, to gain a historical perspective for our study of electricity! Students will soon began to look at the types of questions they might find on the 4th grade NYS Science test this June, at the end of this month.

Fifth Grade

Our 5th grade students are concluding our Earth Science unit on Landforms with experiments with stream tables to help us to visualize the processes that shape our land—-erosion and deposition. We have watched as sediments eroded away and got deposited elsewhere in our set up, based on many variables including, the slope of the land, the force of the currents, as well as the size and weight of the sediments themselves. Later this month we will begin with our next unit on Food and Nutrition, when we will be exploring the nutrients found in various foods by conducting nutrient testing in the lab. We will also be analyzing food labels for information about the nutrients foods contain. We will begin with an investigation of sugar, where we will conduct tests to determine the presence of sugar, and the relative amounts of sugar in certain foods.