2nd Grade Science — States of Matter

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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.

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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.

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6th Graders Learn About Plate Tectonics and Make Their Own Seismographs


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.


Fifth Grade STEAM – Studying Lung Capacity, Pulse Rate, and the Human Heart

[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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.


Snowflakes Across the Curriculum

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.



5th Grade STEAM: Lynx Eat Hare??

[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.

The Science House at TLC

Recently several Learning Center teachers participated in a training with The Science House, an outreach program operated by NC State.  “The Science House exists to: 1) Cultivate and diversify the pool of students pursuing degrees and careers in STEM fields, 2) Improve the quality of teaching and learning in STEM education and 3) Communicate innovative scientific and educational research to the public.”

What does that mean for our students?  Our trained teachers are able to borrow equipment from The Science House that we would not normally be able to use, including laptop computers, data loggers and many probes to make different measurement science and math experiments.  This is the type of technology  that scientists use for “real” science experiments, so the use of these items gives our students the opportunity to handle the equipment and see how it works.

In these pictures, students in Chris Crayton’s math class are studying linear relationships using motion detectors.  The data collected by the motion detectors is shown on a graph on the computer immediately, so the students can tell instantly how their movement changes their graph.  For example, they discovered through experimentation that steady movement toward to away from the motion detector created a straight line on their graph.  The students were asked to create graphs of different shapes by changing their movement, and to make calculations from their data and compare that to the calculations that the computer made for their graphs.

Please see http://www.science-house.org/ for more information about The Science House program.

Second Grade Makes National Aviation Day a Science Lesson

In honor of National Aviation Day, second grade did a study on the Wright Brothers and air as matter.  Ms. Stephanie made this lesson cross the curriculum to include math, science, technology, art and engineering.  [Thus becoming a STEAM lesson! Use the category selector over in the right hand sidebar on this blog to select STEAM to see other lessons and the amazing things our teachers are introducing your students to!]

The STEAM lesson included:  reading books on the Wright Brothers, a special lesson on the Wright Brothers and how they relate to our state, read the poem Who Has Seen the Wind?,  studying air in science with two stations — one with balloons with air and another with balloons with air and water,  learned that air is matter as is has mass, volume, and occupies space, and made their own dart planes.

Students also did two separate flight tests of  with their dart planes  – one with just a paper airplane and the other with a paperclip attached – and then recorded distance and duration of flight.

Second Grade Studies Sound

Second grade has been studying sound in science class and Ms. Stephanie included the study across the curiculum.

Their sound study included:

  1. Smart Board interactive activity on sound, pitch, vibrations, and volume
  2. Science Stations: two stations related to pitch and two stations related to vibration
  3. They used their science notebooks to record pre-investigations, investigations, and post-investigations.

STEAM Lesson Including Alice in Wonderland

[STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. STEAM lessons cross the curriculum and integrate science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.  Today fifth grade teacher, Ms. Jay, shares her recent STEAM project that included a trip to Wonderland!]

After reading the first two chapters of Alice in Wonderland, in Guided Reading, these fifth grade students had to build a freestanding structure in Science. The students were completing a STEAM activity by building a freestanding tower to help Alice reach the key on the table; after she drunk the potion that made her too small to reach it. Using only 1 piece of card stock, 10 paperclips, and 1 pair of scissors (along with their chair to act like the table) the students, in partners, had to build a freestanding structure to reach the key (made out of construction paper by the students). Then the students had to measure their towers and record all of their design and how they did it in their science notebooks.   Next week students will determine which tower was the tallest by making a graph to compare the data.

Don’t Bug Me! 2nd – 5th Grade Science Lesson

Over the past few days science teacher, Ms. Emily, has worked with second through fifth grades on a science lesson titled, “Don’t Bug Me!”  Remember hearing about the new Common Core Standards being fully implemented at The Learning Center at the summer parent meetings?  The “Don’t Bug Me!” lesson is an excellent example of that in action.

Students observed organisms in their environment, compared characteristics of animals, summarized the needs of animals for both energy and growth, learned about the life cycle of animals, understood the effects of environmental change, adaptations and behaviors, understood the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem, and understood how organisms interact and respond the biotic and abiotic components in their environment.

The students loved being outside catching bugs!

The the fact that they got to bring bugs inside to further their studies was icing on the cake!