April 21

Solar Ovens

Third grade environmentalists used solar power, an alternative energy source that is clean and renewable, to cook s’mores. The heat is transferred using radiation waves from the sun. We viewed several different design option for solar ovens and identified the common features. Click here to learn more about constructing solar ovens.

One of the assignments in the Upper School’s environmental studies class is to design a solar oven that can boil water, so this was a fun introductory investigation. Click here to watch college freshmen design solar ovens.

As we walked back to the lab, we placed our hand on a white car and then a black car in the parking lot. Heat passed through conduction, and we were amazed at how much hotter the black car felt. Dark colors absorb more light energy.

Back in the lab, I also shared some other items that are powered by solar energy. Look how fast the animals on the back table are moving. They are in the sunlight.

April 21

All About Frogs

With my youngest scientists, I always try to begin lab with a song or fingerplay. We sang Five Little Freckled Frogs which connects math and science.

PreK biologists observed our lab frog, Yoda, and noticed the changes in our tadpoles.

We put the stages of metamorphosis in order We realized that we should be in a circle, not a line, because this is a life cycle.

We used forceps, a science tool, to feed our frogs. We pretended the rice were small bugs which was a great activity to develop fine motor skills!

Frogs are amphibians and must keep their skin moist. They don’t just wear it, they drink and breathe through it. Frogs don’t usually swallow water like we do. Instead they absorb most of the moisture they need through their skin, so I introduced the concept of absorbency. We moved to the lab tables and used pipettes to test whether the materials were absorbent or nonabsorbent. Notice items around your house that absorb water, such as towels or those that do not, like rainboots or umbrellas.

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