January 31


Kindergarten classes continued their study of polar regions. I explained to my kindergarten scientists that an iceberg is a large piece of floating ice. I placed consecutively larger pieces of ice in a tank of water. Before I did, the children drew a picture to hypothesize what they thought the ice would look like in the water. Would it sink or float? Following this investigation, we looked at photos of real icebergs and observed that while ice floats, most of the ice is under water. Does that mean that solid ice is less dense than liquid water? As the ice melted, we watched the food coloring fall into the water.

Then we drew a path for a drop of water and placed the path in a page protector. Using friction, cohesion, and adhesion, scientists guided their drops through the path. (See previous posts for more details on this activity.)

January 31

Happy 90th Birthday!

I wanted to let my blog community know that my mom celebrated her 90th birthday on January 30th. I am so blessed that God chose her to be my mother! I made a video to celebrate with my family over Zoom, and I thought I would post a few of the photos of my beautiful mother here. She was also a teacher. Thank you for letting me share my heart with you.

January 31

Rotocopter Designs

We began lab with a demonstration of lift. Students helped me place ping pong balls into a column of air produced by a hair dryer. It appeared the balls were levitating. Why didn’t they blow away? We were investigating the Bernoulli Principle. Then we placed various cardboard tubes over the balls and created wind tunnels. NASA uses wind tunnels to test scale models of aircraft and spacecraft. Click here to learn how to repeat this investigation at home. Try a variety of balls and and tubes.

Then, second grade engineers applied what they had previously learned about rotocopters, gravity, and lift to create their own rotocopter designs. How will the rotocopter turn? We took this STEM challenge through the Design Process and tested them in the rotunda.

Through this project, we learned:

  • There are many ways to solve a problem. (Creativity)
  • Most of our first designs did not rotate. (Problem Solving)
  • We can learn from each other. (Collaboration)
  • We learned something from each design. (Fail forward.)
  • Solving a problem takes time. (Perseverance)
January 24

Aurora Borealis

Kindergarten students continued their study of the polar regions. After making frost, we “traveled” to Antarctica to see the Northern Lights. Click here ¬†and here to learn more about auroras. God created an invisible shield, that is also a thing of beauty, to protect us. We used flashlights and CDs to refract light. See previous posts to learn how we made frost with ice, rock salt, and water.

January 24

Found Art Projects

Next week, third grade environmentalists will reuse trash to create animals of their choosing. This week, we reviewed cardboard construction techniques to prepare. Teams worked together to attach cardboard using the flange, slot, tab, and L-Brace methods. Click here to learn more. We also discussed the appropriate times to use different types of tape (scotch, masking, packing, and duct), glue, and cutting instruments.

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January 21


Aerospace engineers, who design planes, helicopters, drones, and rockets, as well as pilots and astronauts, understand the laws of force and motion. Second grade aerospace engineers continued their study of force and motion and space through the investigation of rotocopters.

God created the first helicopters. The process of scientists or engineers copying creation is called biomimicry.

I used several science toys to demonstrate how a helicopter flies. Helicopters stay in the air with spinning blades that generate “lift.”

We each made a rotocopter using the pattern below.

But is this the best design? I changed one variable in each iteration below. As I dropped these paper rotocopters in the rotunda (an 18 foot drop), we observed how the speed and the rotation of the blades were impacted when the size of the rotocopter, the weight of the shaft, or the length of the blades were changed. I also folded the blades in different manners.

Next week, we are going to apply what we’ve learned and design our own rotocopters.

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