March 19


And let there be light…

Fourth grade physicists had a fast-paced lab about the properties of light in the IT conference room rather than the science lab, so that we could perform our investigations in complete darkness. The following are the highlights of some of our investigations.

We viewed an amazing light show through our refractive glasses. We used our glasses to look at a variety of lights. The colors of the visible spectrum are always in the same order.

But when we looked at the light produced from a laser, we saw something completely different because it wasn’t white light. The rest of the visible spectrum was missing. Since light moves so fast, we couldn’t see the beam move across the room, but when an acrylic block was placed in its path, the beam was visible because the block caused the beam of light to slow down. We also used spray haze to see the entire beam.

When I moved this light stick, we could see the three colors of light inside the tube. When the light ball was swung, the colors appeared and seemed to mix before our eyes.

We reflected light by bouncing a beam around the room with flashlights and mirrors and then used the plasma ball to demonstrate energy efficiency. Click here to watch how we used the plasma ball to light up the bulbs and an energy stick. Fascinating! The items never touched the plasma ball.

The 3D standing wave machine is a perfect visual of a wave. Click here to learn more.

How do you measure light? Does a larger flashlight produce a brighter beam? We looked at the beams produced by several flashlights and learned that light is measured with lumens. The size of the flashlight is not indicative of brightness. When you visit a store that sells flashlights, look at the packaging and compare the number of lumens.

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March 19

Updated Tadpole Post

As you arrive to school in the morning, you can hear the frogs peeping now. Maria brought me some tadpole eggs. We know they are frog tadpoles because they are in a cluster.

Then Patrick found toad eggs on a nature walk. Toad’s eggs are arranged in a chain.

March 19

Airplane Lab

My second grade scientists have studied force, motion, and space, so a paper airplaneĀ lab was a perfect fit. We reviewed gravity and friction and then I introduced three new forces: lift, thrust, and drag. Click here to watch a video about these forces.

Paper Plane Flying Contest - Science World

My aerospace engineers made paper airplanes at home prior to lab. They were free to ask others for help and to research designs online (with parental help) because scientists collaborate! We reviewed the Engineer Design Process: Define the Problem, Imagine, Plan, Create, Test, and Improve. As we looked at all our classmates’ planes, we noticed a variety of wing designs and nose shapes. Some planes were stapled or taped together. Planes were a variety of sizes and made from different types of paper. I was so excited by the work my engineers put into this project. Many of them told me that they made several designs, and tested them before they chose the design to bring to school. Want to try more designs? Click here for a great paper airplane design resource.

After we shared our designs, we tested them. We discovered that the way we threw our airplanes directly impacted how far they flew.

Then, we looked at the airplanes that traveled the furthest to see if there were any similarities. The following engineers had the most successful designs.

This design flew double the distance of any other airplane-almost the entire length of the gym. It was constructed of cardstock.

Mr. Swegman demonstrated how to throw an airplane.