April 15

Animal Tracks

When I was a child growing up in New York and Wisconsin, one of my favorite things to do was to look for footprints in the snow. As I walk around our beautiful KRCS campus, I am always on the lookout for footprints in the mud! I hope my scientists will learn to recognize some common footprints with this new matching game.

April 15


I purchased these mushroom kits from Back to the Roots a few months ago. I haven’t had a chance to teach a lesson about mushrooms, so they have been sitting on my cart. This week, I noticed mushrooms growing out of the top of the box! I opened the boxes and soaked the substrate to correctly begin the process.

Click here for an informative video about mushrooms that we have not watched in lab.  Click here to order plant kits for your scientist.

Pink oyster mushrooms have begun to grow.

I am also trying this mushroom farm in a greenhouse. You can see the white mycelium, the network of fungal threads, in the bottom of the container. The mycelium starts to form little buds, which will develop into mushrooms. Those little buds are called pins. Mushrooms grow from spores, not seeds.

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April 15

Inclined Planes, Friction and Centripetal Force

Centripetal force holds an object in a circular path. After looking at various ways we use centripetal force, I demonstrated how this force works by swinging a tray, with water glasses on it, around my head. Click here for more information. I didn’t spill a drop!

Why is it so hard to pull these books apart? Friction is at work! Click here to learn more.

Then I placed a student in a chair and swung them around. When they outstretched their arms and legs, their speed decreased, but when they brought their hands and legs back in, their speed increased. Why? Click here for an explanation. How does this apply to figure skaters and the speed of the spinner on our playground?

Last week, second grade physicists worked with levers, but this lab focused on inclined planes and friction. An inclined plane, one of the six simple machines, is a flat surface with one end higher than the other used to help raise or lower a load. We changed the materials on the inclined planes and investigated how the various materials impacted the speed of the cars and the distance they traveled.

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