Life on Discovery

Last Sunday, the Discovery Channel began a new 11-part series called Life. The show was produced by the same people who made Planet Earth. Prior to last Sunday, Planet Earth was my favorite documentary series. Life has replaced it.

Life is about the title - life on Earth. According to Discovery Channel Press Web:

"... LIFE is the definitive exploration of the adaptability and diversity of life on earth, revealing the most spectacular, bizarre and fascinating behaviors that living things have devised in order to thrive ... From strange creatures, such as the star-nosed mole that hunts underwater using bubbles to smell its prey, to epic spectacles, including millions of fruit bats darkening the Zambian sky, each episode tells mind-blowing stories of survival with drama, humor and suspense."

Two episodes of Life are shown each night through April 18th.

I wish I could embed a video from the Life website, but, at this point, I can't. To see a video clip (A Waterfall Toad Leaps From Danger), click on the waterfall below.

I promise you that you will enjoy watching Life and learning a little more about our world!


Radio Telescope Set Up! (RadioJOVE is Almost Go!)

Today, our wonderful custodians set up our radio telescope on the roof of our school. I was able to go up and see it. Wow! It sure looks great!

They just have to run the coax cable into my classroom, attach it to the receiver, and attach the receiver to a computer, and we're set to go!

Before setting it up on the roof, the custodians set it up on the ground and attached the receiver. They immediately started getting signals, so we know it works.


3rd Trimester Update

Today began the 3rd trimester. 60 school days and counting until the end of school.

Here's an update.

6th Grade Science
Today students took a microorganisms pre-test. The purpose of the test is to see what each student knows about microorganisms (based on the core requirements - Standard V). The student's score on the test determines which level they will begin their study. If a student has a basic understanding, then they will being at the C3 level (meaning they will do activities that reinforce their existing knowledge). If a student doesn't have a good understanding, they they will start with the basics at the C1 level.

Students will move to the next level as they complete the requirements of their current level. Assignments at each level are more challenging, emphasizing different skills.

Students will take the 6th Grade State Core Test around May 12th. This means that, over the next 9 1/2 weeks, we will cover microorganisms and the principles of heat, light and sound (Standard VI). Since about half of the students have not been in a science class since the end of November, we will spend time reviewing the astronomy unit and the concepts they learned. Needless to say, students (and teacher!) will be kept busy in class.
7th Grade

Students have been working on making a genetics disorder brochure. Today was the last day they had to work on their brochure in class. Tomorrow, students will be presenting information about their genetics disorder to the class.

Our next unit is adaptations (Standard IV)- how inherited traits help an organism adapt and survive in a specific environment.

My favorite example is the bird beak. The shape of a bird's beak can tell you what it eats. (I found a humorous Birdbrains cartoon about bird beaks.)

Students will have opportunities to do a number of activities to learn about the importance of adaptations.

We end the year with with the phases of matter, density, and how density effects the structure of the Earth.

Yes, it's going to be an exciting and fun few weeks.