Over the course of two days Eighth Graders explained and taught to the Fifth Graders about pollution and purification of water through a demonstration of “Who Dirtied The Water?” from the Science House.
Eighth Graders taught the process of natural cleaning of the water through the water cycle and then the Fifth Graders read a story about a morning in the life of a family. While the story was being read the students had to put items in the drain. Items like coffee grounds, food scraps, and vegetable oil were put in a clean container of water. Afterwards the students were given a little sample of the water to try using solutions like bleach, alum, and baking soda to clean the water. They also had cheesecloth, paper bags, and cotton balls to use as filters. In the end the students in each group had different results of their water.
The two grades enjoyed working together learning about the process of water treatment plants and the effects of pollution.
Recently Fifth Graders have been studying all about weather and had the opportunity over the course of several days to do some fun STEAM projects. Not only were the students were able to look at barometers, anemometers, thermometers, hygrometers, and even a Venier tool that had been set up outside their classroom and stored weather information electronically, but they also learned what each piece of equipment was used for and how to use them.
They also have had lessons and STEAM projects about how clouds in the sky form. Using two plastic containers, one filled with about an inch of hot water the other empty, students learned that by placing an ice cube on both container lids how clouds form. They watched the results inside the containers for about 8 minutes. They got to see with their very own eyes the water cycle in progress.
These students even made their own thermometers out of straws, modeling clay, plastic cups, water, and food coloring. Once they figured out how to make the thermometers they were given different containers with different temperatures of water and used their thermometers to check the temp of each.
Finally, the students were given two different colors of food coloring, salt, hot water in a cup, warm water in a cup, cold water in a cup, and a spoon. They had to make salt water and color the other two waters. Then they had to figure out the best way to layer the two waters onto the salt water without stirring them together. This demonstrated freshwater runoff and ocean water as part of the water cycle.
Recently Fifth Graders went over to Second Grade to teach all about weather! There were five different stations each with a different weather related activity.
At the first station the Fifth Graders taught how to make wind socks out of construction paper and tissue paper. They explained this would show the direction of the wind. At station two Fifth Graders explained how to make a rain gauge out of a 16 oz. water bottle using scissors, a ruler, and a marker. At the third station Second Graders learned from the Fifth Graders how to make an anemometer from 4 bathroom cups, a straight pin, a pencil, 2 straws, 1 plastic cup, and tape. At the fourth station students used Science House equipment — an anemometer, thermometer, and two verniers (that read the data from the thermometer and anemometer.) Fifth Graders had been trained how to use the equipment and happily taught the Second Graders what the instruments were and how to use them. The last station was the tornado tube station. The Second Graders learned that a tornado is funnel shaped and even learned how to create a tornado in a 2-liter bottle. They did this using two 2-liter bottles, water, and duck tape.
The Second Graders had a blast learning about weather and weather instruments from the Fifth Graders!
Recently Second Graders took their investigation into Matter further. Each student was given a bowl, a half up of corn starch and 100 ml of water. The students used their science notebooks to make predictions, record notes from the experiment, and then record their post investigation notes (their conclusions).
To begin, they did a lesson on measuring and how to measure accurately and WHY we need to measure accurately, especially when it relates to science and investigative experiments. Then the students added cornstarch to each bowl. Ms. Stephanie allowed the kids time to feel the cornstarch and explore. She then explained that even though you can pour cornstarch into a container, each little grain of cornstarch is a solid. Students then tried to predict what the mixture would be when the water was added to the bowl.
Next, they added a little water to each bowl (about ¼ to ½ a cup for ever cup of cornstarch they put into their bowls). The kids then used their hands to slowly mix the cornstarch and water together. They then added enough water so that the mixture could flow, but not too much. Students were able to grab the mixture and squeeze it into a ball (a solid) before letting it flow out of their hands again.
While students were exploring, they were asked these questions: Can you pick it up? Squeeze the mixture into your hand. Does it feel like a solid or a liquid? Now stop squeezing the mixture. Does it feel like a liquid? Is it flowing? How does it feel?
HERE WAS THE SURPRISE! The mixture could be both a solid AND a liquid! It is really called a suspension because the solid bits of cornstarch do not dissolve in the water. The grains of cornstarch spread out and float in the water. This is why the mixture felt like a solid when they squeezed the water out with their hands. It also felt like a liquid when the water was mixed with the cornstarch!
Ever wonder how long of walk you’d have to take to burn off that candy bar you’re eating? Well 7th graders are studying just that with the complex topic of Energy Balance. Ms. Debby, in charge of Nutrition Education and Promotion at TLC, helped students make an energy packed snack of no-bake peanut butter balls. They then calculated the exercise they would need to do to spend that energy!
In Science, 2nd grade has been working on the states of matter – solids, liquids, and gases. In one of the activities, they were doing an introduction to what happens to some forms of matter when they go through a chemical change.
Ms. Stephanie explained that when you pop the top on a bottle of soda, the initial “whoosh” is from the release of the gas carbon dioxide as it leaves the container.
Next the students tested multiple hypothesis to see which combinations of matter would create the largest chemical reaction thus the ‘explosions’ in the pictures. Students made predictions, observations, and then reassessed during their post investigations at the end in their Science Notebooks.
As part of learning about earthquakes in their plate tectonics unit, sixth grade students had to design and create seismographs to measure small “earthquakes” on their desks.
They learned about constraints and prototypes as they were given limited supplies, a time limit, and had to do practice runs on their designs, then modify as needed.
As you can see, students were really engaged in the fun of design and experimentation.
[Ms. Jay’s Fifth grade class recently did some exciting STEAM activities. Here is what Ms. Jay had to say about it.]
On Friday January 11, 2013 the fifth grade students had a fun time doing three different STEAM activities. There were three different science stations set up in the classroom for students to rotate through in groups. The students had to figure out, in their preset groups, what each stations supplies would be used for. They were given three titles : What is your lung capacity?, What is your pulse rate?, and How fast does your heart pump blood? They had to figure out each stations title by making predictions about the supplies used at each station. After predictions and discussions students rotated between each station and performed the activities.
At the station, What is your lung capacity?, the students had to dip the end of their straws into a bubble solution. Then they had to place that end of the straw onto the plastic on the table. In one breath the student had to blow a bubble as big as he or she could. Afterwards the student popped the bubble and measured the diameter in cm and convert it into liters. This would give them their lung capacity.
At the station, What is your pulse rate?, the students had a two inch piece of straw and inserted just a little into a ball of clay. They placed the ball on their wrist and observed the straw moving to their heart rate. The students were to use a watch to count their pulse rate for one minute.
At the station, How fast does your heart pump blood?, the students had two deep dish pans — one filled with water and one empty. They had a 1 cup measuring cup. The students one at a time transferred water, using the measuring cup, from one pan to the other while being timed for one minute. Another student counted how many scoops they transferred during the allotted time. The students figured out their heart pumped blood extremely fast. The most a student could transfer was 44 cups in a minute.
The students had to record their observations and results from each station in their science journals. Then as a class the students shared their results.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. STEAM lessons cross the curriculum and integrate these different components into one lesson. Fifth graders recently completed a STEAM lesson all about snowflakes and this post will better illustrate STEAM in action.
Right before the Christmas break, fifth grade students were put into groups. The students were handed supplies like coffee filters, small cups, food coloring, scissors, cone shaped cups, plastic gloves, and markers. Ms. Jay led the class in a discussion about the supplies and what they would be used for. The class was to cut snowflake shapes from the coffee filters and hypothesize and test different dying techniques to test what methods worked best.
The real fun began as students mixed the food coloring with water and started creating colors.
Some groups decided to cut snowflake shapes first while others decided to dye the coffee filters first. Some groups even did it both ways.
By the end of the lesson students determined better dying results and prettier snowflakes resulted from cutting the shape before dying. Students took the lesson further by testing to see if marker colored snowflakes would reflect light through a window better than the food colored ones.
Math was integrated into the lesson by discussions of symmetry.
[STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. STEAM lessons cross the curriculum and integrate science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.]
Fifth graders have been studying habitats, ecosystems and food chains in science class. For this particular STEM/STEAM activity, the class was divided into groups and one student from each group had to explain the directions to the rest of the group. The students had to cut out pieces of cardboard to represent a lynx. They then had to cut out little pictures of hares. They put the hares on a desk that was pre measured. The students tossed the cardboard lynx at the hares trying to “eat” them. If they ate three they reproduced and if they did not eat any they starved to death. As they did the activity they had to record their results on a data chart. When they were done they recorded everything in their journals. Ms. Jay took their data and entered it into the Logger Pro graphing program and showed the students their results. Then the activity ended with a discussion on over population.