April 30

Rust-Part Two

Pre-First scientists analyzed their data and drew some conclusions after observing their experiment this week. Rust is formed when iron and oxygen react in the presence of water. However as we discovered, sometimes iron objects have a coating (galvanization) on them that prevents rusting. When results didn’t match our hypotheses, learning occurred.

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April 30

Shell Study

Second graders are studying invertebrates and PreK scientists will begin an ocean unit, so both groups investigated shells in lab. All shells begin as a home for an invertebrate. If a shell is empty, the animal died, was eaten, or in some cases changed shells. A hole in a shell indicates a predator penetrated the protective covering.

Both groups classified their shells into bivalves and gastropods and then found new ways to sort their shells into groups.

The following picture shows you the spiral inside some gastropods. Next time you are shelling, don’t pass these by!

Second grade students also classified shells using two properties with a Venn diagram. The common attributes were placed in the intersection.

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April 30


Third graders continued their investigation of magnets. They explored how magnets repel and attract with floating magnets.

Then, we aligned electrons to magnetize a paperclip and created a temporary magnet.

Magnets attract iron which is the 26th element on the Periodic Table and an essential nutrient. We discovered that iron fortified cereal contains pieces of iron. We used a neodymium magnet to pull the iron out of the cereal. Click here for more information.

A compass is a lightweight magnet and the needle lines up with the earth’s magnetic field. Lab partners used these compasses to demonstrate the magnetic field of the magnet they encircled. When we switched the poles, the needles turned. Click here to learn more. Fascinating!

April 28

Butterfly Larvae

Painted lady butterfly larvae or caterpillars arrived today for kindergarten, pre-first, and second grade classes. Second grade is studying invertebrates and kindergarten and pre-first classes are studying life cycles and animal families. Both groups will learn about metamorphosis. Click here to watch an excellent video about the life cycle of a butterfly. Such a fun project to do at home too! I order from Insect Lore.

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April 27


In the second half of both of their labs, prefirst and first grade grade scientists connected math and science as they learned about anaglyphs. We learned that a 2D shape has two dimensions (length and width), while a 3D shape has three dimensions (length, width, and height). We looked at examples of anaglyphs and noticed that red and cyan were added to the photos. When we wore glasses with lenses of the same color, the pictures became 3D. These scientists especially enjoyed watching a 3D movie. Click here to take a ride on a roller coaster. Want to learn more about the art of anaglyphs? Click here.

Have 3D glasses at home? Click here to review shapes.

April 27

Rust and Mars

After reviewing the Scientific Method, PreFirst scientists applied the process to investigate rust. Click here to learn more about the Scientific Method.

First, we observed this metal can and discussed why it might have rusted. These young scientists thought it might be old or dirty.

Then, we looked at fifteen metal items and each scientist made a hypothesis to answer the question: Will the item rust?  They brought the tray of objects back to their classroom to observe. Try this investigation at home with items you collect around your house. Ask all family members to make hypotheses.

Why is Mars called the red planet? Click here to learn why. If we place steel wool in water, will it rust and look like the surface on Mars? Our control bag does not contain water.

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April 27


Second grade biologists are finishing the year with a study of invertebrates. They will investigate live specimens in the remainder of their labs. In this lab, we studied pill bugs, also known as roly-polies, potato bugs, and isopods.

Although they have the word bug in their name, pill bugs or roly-polies aren’t bugs at all. They are crustaceans, and therefore related to shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Pill bugs are decomposers, the last stop on the food chain, and are often referred to as nature’s recyclers. Although they are terrestrial, they breathe through gills. Other vocabulary included molt, isopod, defense mechanism, exoskeleton, and habitat.

What will the roly-poly do when it reaches the end of the stick-turn around, back up, climb under the stick, or jump off?

 Click here to learn more about a pillbug’s habitat. So fun to use my doc camera, so we could observe the isopods in their home. Notice that all the isopods are not the same color.

STEM challenge:  Build a maze for your isopods.

We took a quiz to assess what we knew about pillbugs before lab and what we’d learned by the end of  lab.

We also observed our millipedes-Jilly and Billy. While millipedes are fairly safe to handle, centipedes are not. We learned the difference between the two. Click here to learn more.

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April 26


Kindergarten volcanologists continued their study of rocks with a lab about volcanoes and igneous rocks. We briefly learned the parts of a volcano and some of the common igneous rocks. Then we moved to the lab tables and made “volcanoes” erupt. Groups of two erupted a volcano and we all watched as each exploded. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the volcano vent created carbon dioxide gas which caused a pressure increase in the model volcano. The rapid increase in volume and pressure forced the mixture out of the top of the model volcano just like a real volcano. We changed a variable, such as no soap, on several and noted the change in our results. I wish you could hear their reactions!

Click here to learn more about volcanoes.

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