Science Lab Newsletter January, 2016

IMG_2404 IMG_2270 IMG_2269 IMG_2268 IMG_2266 IMG_2261Kindergarten: Our Kindergarteners are working on exploring and describing the properties of various materials. We have been exploring and comparing the properties of different types of wood. We also experimented with testing out whether wood floats or sinks in water, and then worked through a project with samples of different kinds of wood, to determine if we could get them to sink by adding paperclip weights to them! We are also exploring paper as another resource we get from trees. Students will do a study of many different kinds of paper to describe their textures, colors and how they function for different purposes.
First Grade: Our first grade students have been 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 solid and liquid samples. We are enhancing our Science vocabulary with words like flexible and rigid, to describe some solids, and viscous to describe very thick liquids that pour slowly. We will soon begin to mix our solids and our liquids to find out what happens. We will mix different liquids to determine which form layers and which actually mix with one another, and we will learn about solids that can be dissolved in liquids to form solutions and those that cannot!
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, in soil. Within a few weeks’ time, we will have our own 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 and the various ways it can be transformed. (Thermal, heat, light, sound, chemical, electrical and mechanical energy) We are studying how power plants work burning fossil fuels for energy, and are investigating alternative forms of energy that can be used for the generation of electricity. We designed and built wind turbines and use voltmeters to measure how much electricity we generated with our blade designs. We are also having inquiry based experiences trying to identify the various kinds of energy transformations that we observe occurring as batteries, wires, fans, motors, simple chemicals, light bulbs, radiometers, solar panels and sound boards interact with one another, transferring energy
Fourth Grade:Fourth graders are enjoying wiring their electrical circuits to investigate electricity using many components like batteries, wires, bulbs and motors. We are using circuit boards, adding switches, to form open and closed circuits, and are learning how to draw real schematic diagrams of our circuits to show the flow of current electricity from the source to the various receivers. We will be building more advanced circuits this month and will compare series and parallel circuits by trying various ways to get multiple receivers to run. We will test our understanding of circuits by predicting which will work and which ones will not based on how they are wired. We will then go on to connecting the two portions of our unit, Magnetism and Electricity, by building and experimenting with electromagnets.
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 contour maps to create their own, accurate profile drawings of the “faces” of these landforms. We will use real geological survey maps to practice the skills we have gained, like figuring out the map’s contour interval, and which areas have the steepest slopes. We will then begin to experiment with stream tables to help us visualize the processes that shape our land—-erosion and deposition.