Science Lab Newsletter February 2015

Kindergarden : Our Kindergarten students are concluding our study of fabrics and the various ways we can describe the properties of various materials. We continue, this month, to practice our inquiry skills of observation and inference, by learning how to use various science tools to make accurate observations about the world around us. K students will be using the balance scale, rulers and thermometers to make quantitative observations about objects in our lab.

First Grade: Our first grade students are exploring solids and liquids during our Properties of Matter unit. They have learned all about the properties that are unique to solids and liquids. They are gaining experience with making observations about a wide variety of solids and liquids and they are creating mixtures of various samples of matter to find out how matter interacts with other matter. We are learning about which solids dissolve and which don’t and how we can tell. We are mixing liquids to determine which form layers and which actually mix with one another.

Second Grade: Continuing our Plant Diversity Unit, our second grade students have been busy planting, measuring, recording growth and collecting data about the various types of plants that we grew in the lab, from seeds. This month we are exploring some of the various ways that plants reproduce themselves- without seeds! We will be learning about vegetative propagation as we grow potato plants (tubers) from eyes of potato, garlic and onion (from bulbs) and other varieties of plants from stem cuttings of those plants.

Third Grade: The third graders are concluding their unit on Energy with some inquiry based experiences identifying the various kinds of energy transformations that occur as batteries, wires, fans and motors, simple chemicals, light bulbs, solar panels and sound boards interact with one another, transferring energy. Students will begin their third Science unit, a physical science unit on Simple Machines, this month. Students will begin experimenting with inclined planes in the lab, relating the amount of force necessary to move an object with and without the help of an inclined plane. We will be reinforcing the idea of gravity as a force. Students will be introduced to simple physics concepts to better understand the relationship between force and distance.

Fourth Grade: The fourth graders begin a new unit this month, closely examining a very special substance: Water! We are performing many experiments involving water and studying the effects of various circumstances on the behavior and properties of this special substance. We are reviewing many important concepts such as density, buoyancy, and evaporation and condensation. We are looking at how the many properties that water exhibits, are dependent on the state of matter that the water is in—-solid, liquid or gas! Ice, liquid water, and water vapor each behave very differently.

Fifth Grade The fifth graders began their unit on Food and Nutrition, where they are exploring the nutrients found in various foods by conducting nutrient testing in the lab. We are determining the relative amounts of sugar in breakfast cereals, by using the amount (volume) of carbon dioxide gas that yeast produce (as waste when they use the sugar in the cereals for their own metabolic functions) as an indicator. We will also be analyzing food labels for information about the nutrients foods contain, serving sizes and caloric content. We will do a study of soda this month where we will practice calculating quantities of ingredients like sugar in soda, and interpreting how this translates to our health and wellness.