November 21

Sink and Float

Kindergarten scientists built upon previous investigations with density to hypothesize which objects would sink and which would float. Loved listening to the scientific chatter as lab partners sorted the objects and made hypotheses before placing those objects in the water. Some of our findings surprised us! Click here to find out more. This is a fun investigation to do in the bathtub or sink.

Then I asked what would happen if I placed an object that sank on top of one that floated? Hmmm…. I also demonstrated that the plastic knife could float if you placed it carefully in the water lengthwise. Surface tension holds it up. So, maybe the shape of an object also impacts whether it will sink or float. We are beginning to explore buoyancy.

Will rocks float? We discovered that pumice, a volcanic rock, floats. Love turning their thinking upside down!

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November 21

Epsom Salt Crystal Suncatchers

Epsom salt which is also known as magnesium sulfate is actually not salt. It’s a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. In this simple investigation, third grade geologists used Epsom salt and hot water to make crystal sun catchers in Petri dishes. This is a simple project to try at home!

Heat 1 cup of water to boiling (212 degrees F or 100 degrees C). I used my electric tea kettle. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Stir until it dissolves and your solution is saturated. (We doubled this.) Pour into a shallow plastic or glass dish.

The term saturated solution is used in chemistry to define a solution in which no more solute can be dissolved in the solvent.

After the water evaporates, crystals appear. “Crystals are a special kind of solid material where the molecules fit together in a pattern that keeps repeating itself. Because of these patterns, crystals from all sorts of unique shapes.” (Ducksters)

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November 19

Analytics

I find the analytics on my science blog fascinating! I can’t see who is visiting, but the data tells me from where a viewer is visiting and when he/she reads my blog. I’ve had more international visitors recently. In the past, those visitors have been parents traveling for business.

November 19

Green Screen

I’ve wanted to learn how to use green screen, so alter watching several webinars, I was ready to give it a try. I enlisted the help of Pre-First. In their homeroom, Mrs. Daniel read Balloons Over Broadway, the fascinating story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Watch this interesting biography below:

Pre-First students also watched a video clip of the balloons in a past Macy’s parade, and then they designed and constructed a balloon to include in the 2020 parade.

At the beginning of lab, we visited the Tiger TV studio to learn more about how green screen works. Mrs. Williams was able to change our background (which we could see on the monitor) because we had a green screen behind us. Thank you Mrs. Williams!

I also demonstrated how I will use my green screen app, Doink, to place their balloons in the parade. Click here to learn about the Doink Green Screen app.

I made a green screen with a tri-fold display board which I found on sale at Hobby Lobby. (Place one of these behind you before a Zoom call, and your virtual background will improve.) I snapped a picture of each of their balloons and now I need to put all the parts together on my app. Final project coming soon!

November 18

Beetles

Do you know that one of every four creatures on Earth is a beetle? PreK biologists learned about the beetle’s body parts and were surprised at the diversity! We drew the three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), six jointed legs, antennae, and wings.

 

We each had a beetle to investigate and to observe those parts up close.


Click here to listen to this story.

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November 18

Water and Air Properties

First grade scientists studied air and water properties in this fast moving lab. After an introduction to the power of air pressure, we experienced that power when we flipped a water-filled bottle over and held the water in the bottle with just a piece of paper! Click here to watch a video explaining this investigation.

We know that water molecules bond together (cohesion) and cling to other materials (adhesion). We flipped over the next bottle and removed the card! The water stayed in the bottle because the water clung to the screen. If turned sideways, the water spilled out of the holes. Click here  to learn more.

Then I amazed my scientists when I filled a cup with water, and turned it over a student’s head, but no water came out of the cup. Click here to learn about this super absorbing polymer. This same polymer is in diapers.

I also burped a cup and made water move sideways. Click here to watch this demonstration.

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November 14

Sink and Float Squids

After a brief lesson about the body parts and habitat of squids, I brought out my trained squid. At my command, Squiddy sank and dove in the bottle. Then each kindergarten scientist tried to train their squids, but they wouldn’t move! This led us back to a discussion about why objects sink and float. We discovered that when we squeezed our bottles, the squids sank, but when we released the pressure on the bottles, the squids rose. Why? Click here for more information about this product from Steve Spangler science. You may have performed this classic investigation in school with Cartesian divers. Click here to watch real squids swim.

These squids glow in the dark, so we carried them to the conference room, and I turned on the UV lights. We felt as if we were really under the sea swimming with squids! We even heard the song, Under the Sea, playing.

We had a few minutes at the end of lab to hypothesize whether full cans of soda and water would sink or float. The cans were all the same size, so why did the Coke can sink? Could it be all that sugar inside? Click here to learn more about this investigation. Try this at home.

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November 12

Tipi Engineering

Second graders have been studying the Cherokee and Creek nations in their homerooms. I wanted to do a STEM lab to reinforce the major concepts that they have been learning, and I believe multidisciplinary learning is a best practice in education. The two big ideas were: Native people used the resources that were available to them and the area in which they lived determined their culture. We briefly discussed the Native Americans who lived in the Eastern woodlands, plains, and Southwest, but our lab focused on how the people groups who lived on the plains constructed tipis – an amazing engineering feat! The people who inhabited the Great Plains were nomadic and followed the buffalo. Click here to watch an informative video. Click here to read an article about tipis.

This proved to be a difficult task, especially since we were not working on the ground. As we faced challenges, we collaborated to overcome them, and failed forward. We learned that the shape of a tipi is a cone. We cut a circle to form our cones and folded the circle twice to find the center. We drew a smaller circle around the center and cut a slit to it. One of my students compared this process to a Christmas tree skirt-a useful analogy!


Teams chose their own sticks and formed a tripod first.