My husband and I drove through Wisconsin this summer, and we found the variety of trees differed from the trees native to Atlanta. I especially enjoyed learning about the cottonwood tree. This massive shade tree grows along rivers and lakes. They belong to the poplar family and are among the fastest growing trees in America. They are easily recognized by their wide trunks. The name “cottonwood” comes from the fluffy white material that surrounds the seeds each spring.
When I was chosen to be the science coordinator seven years ago and tasked with creating a science lab, I began with an empty room. Creating an inviting, engaging, learning environment has been such a labor of love.
As I looked around the room one last time before I closed the door and took the first step in my new chapter, I thought of the classic story, Good Night Moon, in which the character says good night to all the items in his bedroom before going to sleep. I laughed at myself, as I said good-night to all my favorite spaces and materials in the lab, and thought of all the young scientists who have shared this room with me. I already miss them!
My favorite labs are those that teach my young scientists about the natural world around them. I believe that as they understand how all living and nonliving things are interconnected, they will develop a desire to care for creation. Kindergarten, first, and Prefirst scientists learned about the habitat, lifecycle, and bodyparts of worms, as well as their role in the ecosystem.
We read Wonderful Worms together.
Third grade electrical engineers used electricity kits to learn the difference between simple, parallel, and series circuits, as well as how to open and close circuits with a variety of switches. A circuit is a complete path around which electricity can flow. Click here and here to learn more about electricity and circuits.
After reviewing that objects move because of a force (a push or a pull), PreK scientists continued their study of motion with a lab about things that move in a circular path.
We observed Euler’s Disc. The chrome plated steel disk is 1/2 inch thick and three inches wide. The disk spins on a concave mirror base. The action of the disk is called spoiling which means rolling and spinning. Just give it a twist and gravity does the rest. Will it ever stop? Click here to watch it in action. Fascinating!
So much fun to watch the movement of a flow ring. Click here to learn more.
This is always a favorite investigation! The primary colors of pigment (red, yellow, and blue) mix to form the secondary colors (orange, purple, and green), but how do you create the intermediate or tertiary colors? First graders were tasked with using varying amounts of the primary colors to create 24 different colors. Click here for additional information. I used color fizzers which do not stain. How fun to have a job creating crayon or paint colors! After we mixed the colors, we named them. Click here for the color names of Crayola crayons. I witnessed an abundance of collaboration as they asked their classmates how they created the colors in their trays.
Steve Spangler delivers science to your door in these fun science kits! I’ve used many of his materials in our labs. Click here to learn more about club options.