September 30

Balance

PreK scientists have been studying squirrels. How do squirrels keep from falling when they are jumping from tree to tree? That discussion led us to the topic of balance.

We tried to balance on one foot and then the other. We even tried to stand on one foot with our eyes closed! Can you balance a book on your head?

I challenged my youngest physicists to balance a variety of other objects. They especially enjoyed balance bird. How does it balance on a pencil eraser and the tip of your finger?

At the end of lab, we worked in collaborative pairs and used balance to build structures from a model. As we balanced the blocks, we strengthened our eye hand coordination and visual perception skills. Try this at home.

To exit the room, we walked across a balance beam.
Click here to watch a video about how to keep your bike in balance.

A big thank you to Mrs. Lilge for helping me take photos today!

September 29

Scavenger Hunt

First grade arborists went on a scavenger hunt that was all about trees. As we walked around campus, we looked for the trees we identified last week, as well as the items listed on the board below. When this comes home, erase the pencil marks, and look for these items again on a family nature walk.

 

We saw lichen on many of the trees we observed. Does lichen hurt the tree? What is it?  Click here to learn more about lichen.

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September 26

Down on the Farm

Kindergarten scientists continued their study of the farm and began lab with a “corny” joke. What has ears but cannot hear? Yes, a cornstalk! We learned that a kernel is a seed, and that most seeds need water, air, soil, and light to grow. We placed our seeds on cotton to see if they will germinate.  Click here to watch corn grow.


There was a teachable moment when many of my students told me that cotton comes from sheep. Now, we know it grows on a plant!

After we finished planting, we learned the parts of a corn stalk. Leaves and ears of corn grow along the stalk. The ears are wrapped in husks and silk pokes out of the top of each ear. The kernels are on the cob. We shucked ears of corn with our lab partners next.


I used a gadget to remove the kernels from the cob.


Look at the diversity in these ears of corn. We brought the ears to Mrs. Posey in the dining hall.


Indian corn is one of the oldest varieties of corn.

Reinforce the concepts we learned today with some of these activities:
Buy corn to shuck, and then cook it!
Visit a cornfield or a corn maze.
Pop popcorn. Popcorn was first popped by Native Americans.
Plant some more kernels at home. No need to buy a packet of seeds, you can use popcorn kernels.

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September 24

Flowers

Second grade botanists investigated flowers in lab. After learning about the parts of a complete flower, we dissected a flower and used our hand lenses to observe the sepals, pistils, stamens, and ovaries. We know that the pollen on the stamens needs to find its way to the pistil, so that seeds can develop in the ovary. We sliced the ovaries open and found the small seeds. Ovaries on some plants grow into fruit. Discussion led to the role of pollinators. We also sliced the stems and water squirted out. The green color on our papers is chlorophyll and the pink is the pigment from the petals. Click here to watch an informative video about flowers.


Our potatoes are growing!

Second graders also tested to see if food coloring would travel up the stem and color the white daisies.


We are also learning to identify flowers that we associate with fall – pansies and mums.

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September 23

Light and Color

My preK scientists began lab with a short lesson on acorns. Why were my acorns green? Why do oak trees produce acorns?

Can we make these daisies colorful without touching the petals?

Light can be bent or refacted and the colors inside the white light released. We used color peeps with special lenses to bend the light. Look at all the rainbows we saw through them!

Then we used highlighters to draw on yellow paper. We couldn’t see our drawings, but when we turned on the UV lights, our secret messages appeared!


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September 23

Happy Equinox – Why is it Fall?

“Astronomers use the equinox to mark the transition from summer to fall in the Northern Hemisphere, which happens around Sept. 22 or 23 every year. The autumnal equinox is roughly the halfway point between our longest and shortest days of the year. Like the spring equinox in March, it’s one of only two days of the year when day and night are about 12 hours long everywhere on Earth. ” Washington Post

Click here to learn more about the spring (and fall) equinox.

 

Falling Autumn Leaves PNG Image

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September 22

Trees!

I love trees! I can’t imagine our world without them! We wouldn’t have wood, paper, shade, the beautiful fall colors, and some of my favorite foods, such as apples and nuts. They give us oxygen to breathe too. We honor God through studying his creation. Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2.

After learning about the parts of a leaf, including petiole and midrib, first grade arborists discovered the differences in the texture, shape, edges, and vein patterns of leaves, as well as the difference between compound and simple leaves. Next, we learned the name of some of the trees around campus: maple, oak, sweetgum, magnolia, bald cypress, and Chinese pistache. We also looked at the seeds of each. There was such diversity – acorns, seed pods, helicopter seeds, sweetgum balls, and cones.


Ask your child if they can identify the leaves below or let them quiz you!

We noticed that some of the leaves were changing color! Why ? Click here to find out.

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September 19

Skeletons

From PreK on, I refer to the body parts using bones. As my scientists enter the lab, I ask them to sit on their pelvis and place their phalanges in their laps. Third grade students study the skeletal system and are introduced to all the major bones.

Some of the facts we’ve learned about bones:
Bones give us structure and help us stand.
Bones help us move because they work together with muscles.
We are born with 300 bones, but we have 206 bones when we are adults because some fuse together.
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside bones that produces blood cells.
The femur is the largest bone and the stapes, in the middle ear, is the smallest bone.
More than half the bones in our body are in our hands and feet.

Creating a pasta skeleton diagram was a fun way to practice the names of the bones! A diagram is one of the non-fiction elements. We will label the following bones next: skull, mandible, clavicle, ribs, humerus, ulna, radius, carpals, phalanges, pelvis, femur, patella, tibia, fibula, and backbone.

Click here to watch an informative video about our skeleton. Click here and here to learn the bones.

I praise you because I am wonderfully and fearfully made. Psalm 139:14

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September 19

Color Changing Milk Investigation

Kindergarten scientists are learning about the Scientific Method.

I dropped red, yellow, and blue food coloring into pie plates filled with whole milk, and the colors didn’t move when my scientists placed a Q-tip in the center of the colors. Then, they dipped another Q-tip into dishwashing soap, placed it between the colors in the pan, and watched the colors explode! Why did that happen? How did we make green, purple, and orange?

Click here to learn more about this experiment. Try this at home!

When we cleaned up, we discovered that primary colors mixed together make brown.

September 17

Leaves

Second grade botanists studied leaves. Then, we applied what we previously learned about symmetry to complete the leaf. Connecting art and science always improves observational and visual perception skills.


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