August 29

Electricity – Part 3

Lab began with an introduction to simple, parallel, and series circuits. Then, second grade electrical engineers applied their knowledge of circuits from the previous two labs to create squishy circuits with propellers, buzzers, and switches. Click here and here to learn more about squishy circuits. (We did not watch these in class, but I taught most of these concepts.)

I also demonstrated how to use potatoes and lemons to create a current. Click here to learn more.

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August 28

Oil Spill

My third grade scientists continued their environmental labs with one that focused on oil spills. We began with a discussion about crude oil– how it is obtained and the many ways it is used. Vocabulary included petroleum, fossil fuel, and nonrenewable resource. We looked at pictures of the Alaskan pipeline, oil rigs, and oil tankers. That led us to a discussion of oil spills and their impact on marine life. We also observed that oil and water don’t mix and discussed why oil sits on the top of water. Does that make it easier or harder to remove the oil from the ocean water?

We brainstormed ways that we thought scientists might try to remove the oil. Then we investigated how difficult it is to remove oil from water using similar techniques tried by environmental engineers. We didn’t have crude oil, so we used vegetable oil mixed with cocoa.

First we tried to contain the oil with a Popsicle stick and string and then we attempted to skim the oil off the top of the water using a pipette and spoon. Next the students tried absorbing oil with a sponge and cotton ball. As they were working, I dropped a squirt of Dawn soap into their oil spill. The oil dispersed. I explained that scientists have used dispersants to help break oil into small droplets, but the oil sank to the ocean floor where it was more difficult to remove. We dipped feathers into the oil to investigate how oil adheres to a bird’s feathers. In two of the classes, we washed off the feathers with Dawn soap.


Look at this invention that effectively removes oil from water. Click here to see it at work. After trying themselves to remove oil from water, they were amazed by this product. I also demonstrated a polymer that changes the oil into a solid. Click here to watch the investigation.

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August 27

Blending Colors

Pre K scientists drew on paper towels with primary color Crayola markers. Then, they used micro pipettes to drop water on their drawings. The colors blended and created secondary colors as the water absorbed into the towel.

I drew a picture on a paper towel before class, but when I dropped water on it, nothing changed. Why? I drew my picture with Sharpie markers. We learned that some markers are permanent, while others are washable.

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August 27

They’re Back!

Remember those sweet ducklings that hatched in the science lab last May? They spent the summer with the amazing Littlefield family.

They returned to KR today and with some coaxing, they joined Percy on the pond. He is very happy to have some new friends and they loved playing in the water! Hard to believe that they are only three months old!


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August 25

Sense of Sound

Kindergarten scientists explored the sense of sound with several investigations. After striking tuning forks, we watched and felt the vibrations. The tuning forks were not all the same size, and therefore created different pitches (high and low). I placed a vibrating tuning fork on a drum head and in water. When we placed the tuning forks on the table, the sound was louder. Sound travels differently through solids.

 

We looked at the inside of an ear and learned the smallest bones in our body can be found there.

Then, we listened to our voices travel through whisper phones.

Finally, we watched the strings vibrate on my real guitar before we plucked the rubber bands of varying widths on our DIY string instruments.

August 20

Colors

My PreK scientists learned that primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) mix together to make secondary colors (orange, green, and purple.)

At the beginning of lab, we overlapped color paddles and looked through them.

Next, we dropped color fizzers into water and watched the colors mix. Click here to watch a fun video about color mixing.

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August 19

Feely Box

Kindergarten scientists are in a senses unit, so I made them a feely box for their classrooms. This box can be used in several different ways. A student holds the box in his/her lap, so the other students can see inside, but he/she can’t. Then the teacher secretly places an object inside the box. As the child moves the object around in his/her hands, he/she describes it and then guesses its identity or the teacher can ask the child specific questions to develop sensory vocabulary. Is it hot or cold? How is it shaped? Is it hard or soft? Does it feel smooth or rough? Does it make a sound?

Remember, we touch with our skin, not just our hands.

Click here to watch a video demonstrating another use of this box.

This is an easy DIY project. Take turns with your child describing the objects to teach vocabulary.

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August 15

What Makes a Teacher Smile?

Often before school, students will drop by my room and present me with science treasures. These two arrived today. Third grade is in an environmental unit, so Henry shared a recent issue of National Geographic Kids which was all about plastic in the ocean. Haleigh reused egg cartons to bring me all the exoskeletons she collected this summer. Click here to watch a video of a cicada shedding its exoskeleton.

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August 13

Building God’s Kingdom

The Lower School’s new theme is Building God’s Kingdom. If you have been through our hallways, you’ve noticed that all the welcome back bulletin boards have a construction theme. Below is a sampling of the boards:

 

Each year, we make the first day a celebration.

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” … Hebrews 3:4