May 13

They’re Coming!

The cicadas are coming! The nymphs have spent 17 years underground, but soon a MASSIVE emergence of these insects will occur in the eastern United States. I experienced the invasion of the cicadas in Cincinnati the last time they arrived. It will be a sight that I will never forget! Click here to watch an informative video. Click here for additional information, including a map.

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May 12

Butterflies!

Kindergarten, second grade, and PreFirst classes were excited to watch the painted lady butterflies emerge from their chrysalids. If you haven’t watched this video yet, take a minute to watch the miracle of metamorphosis with your young scientist!  Click here. I order this product and other insects from Insect Lore.

A butterfly drinks nectar with its proboscis.

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May 12

Ocean Lab

I recently discovered this beautiful book and it’s perfect for teaching the names of shells. As I read the story, PreK oceanographers identified each shell on the grid. We also reviewed what we learned last week about gastropods and bivalves. If you enjoy trips to the beach, you will want to add this book to your library. Click here to purchase.

A peek inside:

Afterwards, we investigated which objects float and which sink. We discussed our thoughts first, but we were not in agreement. Do big, heavy objects always sink? Some of my scientists thought that flat objects float while those that are round sink. They all believed that objects with holes would sink. One scientist declared that objects with a lot of air inside float. As they chose objects, scientists supported their hypotheses, but we were often surprised with the results. When an outcome doesn’t match an hypothesis, learning occurs! Collect objects from around your house and test whether they sink or float in the bathtub.

Look at the objects below, form your hypotheses about which will sink or float and then scroll down to look at the results.

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May 8

Sundials

After a brief lesson about shadows, the compass rose, and the history and parts of a sundial, fourth grade scientists made a make and take sundial. Love the way this activity connects with angles. The toothpick is the gnomon. We investigated how a sundial works with a flashlight. The sundial must point to the North. Leave the sundial outside or in a sunny window to watch the passage of time. Click here to learn more.

May 6

Worms! Worms! Worms!

When you are studying invertebrates, you must include annelids! After learning about a worm’s life cycle, body parts, and habitat, second grade biologists investigated earthworms. We used hand lenses to look for the five hearts, setea (small bristles) that help the worm move, and clittelum, a band near the front of the worm where the eggs become cocoons. Worms don’t have eyes, but are sensitive to light and must stay moist to absorb oxygen. Because they are decomposers, they have an important role in the ecosystem. With two sets of muscles, the worms slid quickly across our trays. I demonstrated this movement with a slinky.

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