Science Lab Newsletter March 2015

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Kindergarten: Kindergarten students are concluding our second unit on Properties by using various Science tools to find out more about the matter around them. We are measuring matter with rulers, observing details with hand lenses, learning how to compare masses using the balance scale, and measuring the temperatures of water samples using thermometers. We are learning how to use tools to get more information about the things we are observing. We are learning how to use these tools correctly, and how to collect data (information) and record it to help to more accurately describe the properties of various objects.

First Grade: First graders will begin to explore gas this month. We have created mixtures in the lab, involving solids and liquids but now we will discover the gaseous state of matter. We will be doing simple chemical reactions and learning about how sometimes the propertie of matter can change when forms of matter are mixed and new substances are formed. We will study air, a mixture of gases, and how we can tell that it is matter by doing some fun activities using syringes, balloons, vials and water too!

Second Grade: Second graders are learning about forms of vegetative propagation as we grow potato plants (tubers) from eyes of potato, and garlic and onion (from bulbs). We are studying how many diverse foods come from plants and how what we eat-fruits, vegetables and grains come from the various parts of plants that we are familiar with (flower, seed, stem, leaves, roots, tubers and bulbs…) We are also studying how many plants can be made from the stem cuttings of those plants. We will conclude our unit on plant diversity by closely examining the process of photosynthesis, how plants make their own food-sugar.

Third Grade: The third graders are continuing to explore simple machines such as inclined planes, wheel and axle systems, levers and pulleys this month. Students are observing how they work, by building and using them to do “work” of some kind, (moving an object or a load) and then analyzing how each simple machine makes work easier by comparing how much force is required to do a task with and without the help of the simple machine. They analyze the “trade off”, which is true of all simple machines: You can move objects using less force, but must do so over a greater distance…. We began by using and studying inclined planes and how they have been used for thousands of years- like in the construction of the Pyramids in Egypt!

Fourth Grade: Our fourth graders are continuing to study water during this month. We are building our own thermometers, and exploring the affects of adding and removing heat to water. We are learning by doing as we experience how the density of water can vary with changes in temperature. Hot water is less dense than cold water. We will also be describing how the speed of flowing water can be affected by the amount of water and the steepness of the slope of the lands surface. This will help us to understand the processes of erosion and deposition, some of the affects of the power of water. We are also reviewing how to use various science tools to measure matter, such as the balance scale, thermometer and graduated cylinder/beaker, as we prepare for the NYS Science Exam that will be administered later on in the year!

Fifth Grade: The fifth graders continue 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 experimenting with various samples of fruits, juices and drinks to determine the concentration of acid, particularly Ascorbic Acid-Vitamin C. We are using chemical indicators to test for the presence and relative amounts of nutrients in our samples, and are researching about the Vitamin C deficiency disease: Scurvy, to gain historical perspective on our study of how nutrients in foods affect our body and our health.