Science Lab Newsletter March 2016


Kindergarten: Kindergarten students are concluding our second unit on Exploring 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 how to measure the temperature of water samples using thermometers. We are learning how to use tools to get more specific information about the properties of the things we are observing. We are learning how to use these tools correctly, how to collect data (information) using appropriate units of measure, and how to record it to help describe the properties of various objects accurately.
First Grade: First graders are exploring gas this month as we finish up our Properties of Matter: Unit 2. We have created mixtures in the lab, involving solids and liquids and now we are discovering the gaseous state of matter. We are doing simple chemical reactions and learning about how sometimes the properties of matter can change when forms of matter are mixed and new substances are formed. We are studying 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, to experience how gas has mass and takes up space like solids and liquids do!
Second Grade: Second graders are continuing to discover more about Plant Diversity by learning about ways plants reproduce other than by seeds. We are studying various 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 (flowers, seeds, stems, leaves, roots, tubers and bulbs…) We will also be 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 for energy
Third Grade:The Third graders are beginning a new unit, Unit 3: Simple Machines. We will 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 doing work easier by comparing how much force is required to do a task both 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 the amazing and essential substance, Water, for Unit 3 during this month. We have explored and described how the speed of flowing water can be affected by the amount or volume of water and the steepness of the slope of the land’s surface. This will help us to understand the processes of erosion and deposition, some of the affects of the power of water. We have built our own thermometers, and are 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. We discovered that hot water is less dense than cold water, and therefore sinks and applied this to our understanding of how and why objects sink or float in 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 start their Unit 3 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.