September 30

More Light and Color

Fourth grade scientists began lab with illusions.

Click here to learn how to make one of these at home.

After learning the difference between convex and concave, we noticed that our reflection was upside down on the concave side of a spoon and right side up on the convex side. Then we investigated mirascopes. The Mirascope uses two concave, parabolic mirrors, to create a holographic image. The images look completely real- but you can’t touch them! A small object placed on the bottom appears to be on top, but you can put your finger through it. My scientists had fun trying a variety of small objects. Click here for more information.

We investigated iridescence with centripetal spinners. Click here to learn more.

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September 25


My PreK scientists began lab with a lesson about camouflage. Then we played a camouflage game in which they had to search for paper lizards around the science lab. We experienced how difficult it is to find an animal on an object that is the same color.

Play this game at home. Use camouflage to hide objects (Legos, stuffed animals, or small toys) around your home.

Can you find Luke, our tree frog?

We also met our new millipedes- Lily, Millie, and Jilly. See a previous post for more information about these interesting creatures!

I can always tell when PreK has left the room. 🙂

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September 25

Down on the Farm

To support kindergarten’s unit about the farm, this lab focused on corn. We learned the parts of a corn plant (leaf, stalk, and tassel) and the parts of an ear of corn (husk, cob, kernel, and silk). We scraped the kernels off the cob and broke a cob in half to see what was inside.

Then we “planted” corn kernels in a see-through pot. How long will it be before they sprout?

Watch these corn kernels grow! Click here.

Remember that egg we placed in vinegar last week? The shell is gone and the egg bounces!

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September 21


When I went to the National Science Conference last spring, I participated in a Bug Chicks workshop. After holding a millipede, I decided I wanted some for the lab. These female entomologists recommend ordering insects and arachnids from Bugs In Cyberspace. Our three American millipedes arrived in the mail from Oregon this week. Fourth graders were the first to meet Lily, Millie, and Jilly.

Each class will learn about the body parts, life cycle, and habitat of millipedes. We also learned the difference between centipedes and millipedes. Centipedes are unsafe to handle.

Love my doc camera!

Click here to watch an interesting video about desert centipedes and millipedes.

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September 20

Symmetrical Leaves

Second grade botanists focused on leaves during this lab. We identified the parts of a leaf- midrib, petiole, and veins. We categorized compound and simple leaves and grouped leaves by their edges- smooth, toothed, or lobed. Then, we looked at the veins and observed several different patterns. Finally, we used this information to draw the other side of a leaf using symmetry. It was a fun way to integrate science, art, and math and a meaningful way to develop observation skills.

September 19

Plant Enrichment

My second grade botanists will learn the different ways a new plant begins- bulbs, cuttings, and seeds. (More information will be coming in future posts about some of these investigations.) Check out this strawberry begonia “raining” babies!

The plant unit is an easy one to enrich at home:

(Links are underlined.)

  • Take a trip to Callaway Gardens.  One of my favorite family destinations!
  • Visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens or Gibbs Gardens.
  • Go to a nursery.  Look for ways that plants are categorized (annuals, perennials, bushes, flowering trees, etc.)
  • Visit one of the nearby nature centers- Chattahoochee Nature Center, Autrey Mill, or Dunwoody Nature Center.
  • Scoop up a plateful of soil and then find out what comprises it- rocks, pieces of plants, maybe a dead bug…
  • Ride your bikes on the Greenway and talk about the plants you see there.
  • Visit the new Pikes Nursery that recently opened near school.
  • Have your child buy a plant to care for in his/her room.
  • Fall is the perfect time of year to plant perennials and trees.
  • Find and compare seeds from the fruits and vegetables you eat at home.
  • Plant seeds.
  • Plant bulbs that will bloom next spring.
  • Go for a nature walk in the woods.  Look for plants that are deciduous and evergreen.
  • Collect leaves and sort them by their edges- lobed, toothed, and smooth.
  • Look for the different parts of plants that you eat during meals:
    seeds-rice, corn, nuts, beans
    stems-celery, asparagus
    roots- carrots, radishes
    leaves- lettuce, spinach, basil
    flowers- broccoli, cauliflower
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September 15

New Ducks

For two days now, we have had a group of six visiting mallard ducks in the pond behind school. Percy, our silver appleyard duck who was hatched in the science lab, immediately joined them. He wouldn’t leave the visitors today when I came to feed him. I think he has been lonely since his mate disappeared about a month ago. Could these ducks have flown in from North Carolina to escape the hurricane? What a great Atlanta welcome he has given them!

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September 15

Egg Lab

My kindergarten scientists are studying farm life, so it was a perfect time to have an egg lab. We identified the parts of an egg and saw the difference between raw and boiled eggs.

We placed an egg in vinegar. We hypothesized what might happen to the egg. We immediately saw bubbles. We’ll check this investigation next week.

Why does the egg sink in fresh water and float in salt water?

If you squeeze an empty water bottle and then let go of the squeeze over an egg, you can suck the yolk into the bottle and separate it from the white. It works like a pipette.

How did the hard boiled egg fit inside the bottle? This investigation involved fire!

Try spinning a raw egg and a hard boiled egg. Why is there a difference?

We recited “Humpty Dumpty” and discussed why he might be on the wall and what might have made him fall. Then we discovered a way to make a raw egg stand. This took patience!

Watch this video to see some of the investigations we did and some others you can try at home.

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