October 12

Thermal Energy

One of the most impressive sights in Yellowstone National Park are the geothermal features. Walking through them is a sensory experience!

Yellowstone is an active super volcano and the magma close to the surface supplies the heat necessary for these elements. Hot springs are the most common hydrothermal features in Yellowstone. Steam also rises from vents in the earth called fumaroles, the hottest features in the park, and mudpots bubble with gases and look like pools of bubbling mud.

There are over 1000 geysers on Earth and 500 of those are in Yellowstone. The Upper Geyser Basin, home of Old Faithful, has the greatest concentration of active geysers. Old Faithful shoots water more than 100 feet in the air. (See my photo below.)

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My favorite area during our visit to Yellowstone was the Midway Geyser Basin where you find Excelsior Geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone’s largest hot spring. The colors are created by heat loving bacteria (thermophiles), not minerals.

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When I taught science, one of my third-grade units was thermal energy. Click here and here for some of my favorite thermal energy labs.

Click here to go to a volcano lab.

December 3

Another Use for Amazon Boxes

Many of us are receiving boxes this time of year. They are a great tool for engineers! Create something with boxes as a family or assign the activity as a virtual assignment. Use the following books for inspiration:

Click here and here for the Safeshare links.

See the source image

Click here for the Safeshare link.

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Because she isn’t able to purchase a dollhouse like her friend, this young girl decides to make her own with cardboard.

See the source image
Click here for the Safeshare link.

See the source image

There are many ways to attach cardboard with minimal tape and glue.

Check out a kit called makedo. The kit includes screwdrivers, screws, saws, and a variety of other items to build with cardboard. Click here for more information about makedo.

Click here to learn about five tools to cut cardboard safely. Children can easily and safely make straight cuts with Klever Kutters.

I have found canary scissors a useful tool for home and school. If cardboard boxes are too difficult for little hands to cut, use cereal and other food cartons.

See the source image

Click here for additional inspiration!

May 11

Zoo Field Trip

I accompanied the Pre-First and kindergarten classes to the zoo. It was a cool day, and the animals were active and so much fun to observe. These scientists just completed their study of animals around the world, so they especially enjoyed visiting the rainforest, desert, and African savanna exhibits.

The bus ride is always exciting for our students because they don’t ride on one often!

November 14

Lake Lanier Aquatic Study Program

What an informative and practical field trip! My students saw how Earth, chemistry, and biology sciences are interrelated.

A Description of our program from the Elachee Nature Science Center Site:

“Students climb aboard the floating classroom, Chota Princess II, for a hands-on exploration of the history, ecology and challenges facing Lake Sidney Lanier, Georgia’s most important reservoir. Students will sample plankton, collect lake sediments, measure turbidity (amount of cloudiness in water) and determine pH and dissolved oxygen levels. On shore, Elachee instructors engage students in complementary watershed activities including topographical map studies, storm water runoff demonstrations and water treatment plant simulations.”