April 22

Snails

The invertebrate labs in second grade are always favorites! Snails are one of my favorite animals, although I don’t like to see them in my garden! A snail is basically a shell and a flat foot. The shell is attached and grows with the snail. The snail’s eyes are on top of tentacles. Smaller tentacles are used for smelling and feeling. Snails produce slime to help them move easily. A snail is oviparous and lays eggs in soil. They are nocturnal and do not like hot or dry weather. Click here for information about snails.

I collected some snails from my yard and my biologists observed them. Click here for a fun snail video.



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April 22

Stars

Kindergarten astronomers learned that a star is a glowing ball of hot gases. Stars are different sizes and colors. The sun is a medium sized yellow star and appears larger than other stars because it is closer.

Click here to learn more about stars.

Stars twinkle because the light they produce is refracted as it travels through the atmosphere.
Click here to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We demonstrated how stars twinkle in the demonstration below:


There are 66 constellations in the sky. Constellations are groups of stars that form a picture. We looked at some familiar constellations and then made constellation cups. Click here to learn more about constellations.



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April 17

Frog Lab

PreK scientists sang Five Little Speckled Frogs to kick off lab. Click here to learn the song.

We discussed how frogs absorb water and oxygen through their skin. To help my littlest scientists better understand this concept, they used pipettes to drop water on a dry sponge.

We also used forceps, one of our lab tools, to pick up plastic flies and tiny bugs (rice) to feed a frog. Then we switched hands and fed him again. In both activities, we learned how to use lab tools while strengthening fine motor muscles and developing eye hand coordination.



After observing Jaba, we watched him eat crickets. He was in an empty tank, so we could observe him grab the crickets with his tongue.


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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

Mushrooms

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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