November 12

Snail Lab

My PK and P1 scientists had fun learning all about snails! It is paramount that children investigate the world around them, so that they learn to respect and care for living things. After studying a snail’s body parts, we drew the spiral shell, the muscular foot, and eyes on the end of the tentacles. There are a smaller pair of tentacles that snails use for sensing. Snails secrete mucus, so that they can slip and slide. To learn more about this interesting little creature click here and here.

We also made a 3D model of a snail.

But the favorite part of this lab was observing live garden snails! Just look at the sense of wonder in these faces!

Snail race!

What is the difference between a snail and a slug? Do you see a mistake in one of the cover illustrations?

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November 10

Random Sample and Hydrophobic Sand

Third grade reviewed the skeletal system and labeled their pasta skeletons at the beginning of lab. Then, we continued our study of the earth with an investigation of magic sand. Of course it ‘s not magic, it’s science! We used the sand to explore the concept of hydrophobic (water fearing) and hydrophilic (water loving). Although you drop the sand in the water, it is completely dry when you take it out. How is that possible? So much fun watching them investigate its properties.

 

Third grade geologists randomly sampled a model Earth (an inflatable globe) to determine the percentage of Earth’s surface that is covered with water. We threw the globe ten times and each person caught the globe with ten fingers which totaled 100%. We added the amount of finger tips that were touching water when the globe was caught. Then we added those ten numbers together. The totals from the three classes¬† were 74, 76 and 73. According to the USGS, approximately 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. The accuracy of this activity always amazes me!

November 8

Pumpkin Science – Sink and Float

Kindergarten scientists investigated illusions at the beginning of lab. A picture of a pumpkin and another of a jack-o-lantern face were glued back to back on a pencil. On another pencil, an orb web and a spider were glued together. When we rubbed the pencils, it appeared the objects were together. The spider jumped into the web and the face was on the jack-o-lantern. Try this at home using different pictures! (It was community helper day.)


Then we began a discussion about why some objects float while others sink. Each scientist had a baby soda bottle filled with Styrofoam balls and water. When turned in any direction, the balls raced to the top. Why?

This is one of my favorite investigations because it turns their thinking upside down, makes them ponder, and ask questions! I presented my scientists with four pumpkins – a large pumpkin that could be used to carve a jack-o-lantern, a pie pumpkin, a gourd pumpkin, and a candy pumpkin. We weighed each of the pumpkins and then hypothesized which would float and which would sink. Most of my scientists agreed that the bigger, heavier pumpkins would sink, while the smaller, lighter pumpkins would float. To their surprise, just the opposite occurred. Why? I introduced the word density. When our hypotheses don’t match our results, we learn something new. That is exciting!!

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November 6

Landforms

After an introduction to landforms, third grade geologists used kinetic sand to form them. Kinetic sand is 98% sand and 2% non-toxic polymer. As we worked, we discussed where these landforms are located in the world and characteristics of each. Click here to learn more about landforms. As you travel, identify the landforms you see.

November 3

Fireflies

First grade entomologists continued their study of fireflies. After reviewing the body parts of a firefly: six jointed legs attached to the thorax, three body parts (head, thorax, abdomen), compound eyes, antennae, and two pairs of wings, we sang the following song, to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen ( Repeat 2 times)
Antennae, wings, and six jointed legs,
Head, thorax, abdomen (abdomen)

Like all beetles, fireflies undergo complete metamorphosis during their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Click here to watch an informative video about fireflies. What is bioluminescence?  Why do fireflies glow?

We applied what we learned about the anatomy of a firefly and added bodyparts to the fingerprint abdomen. Of course, these scientists would only observe a firefly in a jar for a short time, before they released it.

Our fireflies really glow in the dark because I added Steve Spangler’s phosphorescent powder to yellow paint. We dipped our fingers into the paint to make the abdomens.

This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine!

Click here to watch The Very Lonely Firefly.

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