Wednesday, April 28th

Here's what we did today in class (for copies of assignment, click here).

6th Grade

We completed the heat portion of our unit.  Students roasted marshmallows, demonstrating heat transfer by radiation.  The heat unit test is tomorrow.

We also started reviewing for the core test.

7th Grade

All 7th grade students went on a field trip to the Bridgerland Applied Technology Center in Logan today.  


Tuesday, April 27th

Here's what we did today in class (for copies of assignment, click here).

6th Grade

We're wrapping up the heat portion of our lab activities.  Today we included two radiation experiments.

  • Best Emitter - Students cover three test tubes, one with black paper, one with white, and one with aluminum foil.  They fill the test tubes with hot water, measure the temperature, and then place a stopper in each test tube.  They let it sit for ten minutes, check the temperature of each test tube and determine which test tube was the best emitter (lowest temperature).
  • Best Absorber - Using the same three test tubes, students fill each test tube room temperature water, measure the temperature, and place stoppers on each test tube.  Students place the test tube in a test tube holder.  To determine which covering absorbs heat best, students place a lamp shining directly at the test tubes.  After ten minutes, students measure temperature of each test tube and determine which test tube absorbed the most heat.

Tomorrow we roast marshmallows, finish up any experiment that has not been completed, and take the end-of-unit test, probably Thursday.

7th Grade

We began a series of matter experiments.  The purpose is to demonstrate that the hotter the object, the faster the the particles move & phase change (gas to liquid).

  • Spreading Molecules - Students place food coloring in hot and cold water and observe how long it takes to spread out and the cup turn red (hot) or blue (cold).
  • Si-C - Students place a vitamin C tablet in a cup of hot water and a cup of cold water.  They observe and see how long it takes the tablet to dissolve in hot water and cold water.
  • Condensation Sensation - Student place hot water in two cups.  To clear cups are placed on top of the cups with hot water.  An ice cube is placed on top of one of the cups. Students observe which cup shows the most condensation.

We'll wrap up the basics over the next couple of days with the every popular experiments using M&Ms.


Monday, April 26th

Here's what we did today in class (for copies of assignment, click here).
7th  Grade
Students finished the History of the Atom accordion book (due at the end of the hour).  Tomorrow we begin matter experiments.
6th Grade
Student continued heat experiments.  Two new convection experiments were added:
When Hot Meets Cold - students fill two jars with hot and cold water (colored red and blue).  Foil is placed on top of the jars with rubber bands and put into a clear container of room temperature water.  Holes are punched in the foil and students observe the cold water falling to the bottom of the container and hot water moving to the top of the container.

Water Wars - students half-fill two test tubes, one with hot water and one with cold.  Students place cold water and hot water in separate beakers (colored red and blue).  Using a pipette, students drizzle hot water in the cold water test tube.  The hot water stays on the top of the test tube.  Then, students drizzle cold water in the hot water test tube.  The water falls to the bottom.


Friday, April 23rd

Here's what we did today in class (for copies of assignment, click here).

7th Grade 

Began working on the accordion book from the matter workbook, pg. 6.  Students are identifying key scientists who developed our knowledge of the atom.  Students are using a handout to help them make the book.

6th Grade

Students continued working on the same set of heat experiments (see yesterday's entry).  


Thursday, April 22nd

For more information about specific assignments, click here.

7th Grade

Students watched two movies.

  • History of the Atom - Part I - this video reviews how we learned about the structure of the atom as well as its importance in matter.
  • Bill Nye Phases of Matter - This video reviews the three phases of matter - solid, liquid, and gas.  It explains what happens when matter goes from one stage to the other.

6th Grade

We began our heat experiments.  We first reviewed the three ways heat is transferred - conduction, convection, and radiation (using this website).  Student began doing the following experiments...

  • Who's the Conductor - the purpose of this experiment is to identify which objects are good or poor conductors - cups made of glass, paper, Styrofoam, and plastic and an aluminum pan.  Hot water is poured into each object.  Two minutes later students touch the sides of each and determine whether it is a good, so-so, or poor conductor.
  • Heat Conduction With Water, Balloon, and a Candle - one balloon is inflated with air, the other is a water balloon.  Students hold the balloon inflated with air in the candle observe what happens.  They then hold the water balloon in the candle and observe what happens.
  • Butter on a Wire - students place some butter on the end of a wire and hold it in the flame.  They time how long it takes to fall off.  They repeat that three other times.  Each wire is a different metal - aluminum, brass, copper, and steel.  They determine which wire is the best conductor.
  • Foiled Again - students place a "snake" shaped foil above a candle and determine what happens.  

The first three experiments demonstrate conduction.  The fourth demonstrates convection.


Update, April 21st

Here's what we did in class today (for copies of assignments, click here).

6th Grade

We finished the heat, light, and sound lecture with the discussion of sound.  We talked about the following key principles...

  • All sound is created by vibrations.
  • Sound must have a medium (gas, liquid, solid) through which it can travel.  No medium - no sound.
  • Pitch is how high or low a sound is.
  • The larger the object, the lower the pitch.  The smaller the object, the higher the pitch.
  • The thicker a string, the lower the pitch.  The thinner the string, the higher the pitch.
  • The intensity (how loud - volume) of a sound depends on the amount of energy used to make the sound.
  • More energy - more intense (louder - higher volume) the sound.
  • Less energy - less intense (softer - lower volume) the sound.

When we finished the lecture, students watched Bill Nye Sound.  

Tomorrow we will begin heat conduction experiments.

7th Grade

Students began working in their workbooks.  

  • Watched Bill Nye Atoms and completed worksheet in the workbook.
  • Completed Atom's Family Portrait.  Students read about the parts of an atom (protons, neutrons, and electrons) and answered questions.
  • The Phantom's Parlor - Paper Cutting.  Students took a sheet of paper and folded it in half and cut it.  They folded one of those sheets in half and cut it.  They continue until they can no longer cut the paper.  They analyze the activity and how it applies to the atom.
  • Read Star Factories.  This podcast transcript explains how heavier elements like gold and iron are created in center of large stars and, when the star explodes, the elements are spread out in space.  They answered questions about the transcript.

Students completed pages 1-5 (pg. 5 to History of the Atom - Part I).


Obama and NASA - SOSDD

President Obama gave his NASA speech on Thursday before a very carefully selected audience (no disagreements allowed). What did we learn? Here's what passes as leadership in the White House today:

  • He's a great supporter of NASA (just ask him!).
  • He wants to go to deep space, asteroids, moons of Mars, and Mars by 2030.
  • He set the following goals for achieving this... (still waiting).
  • He's committed this nation to (paraphrasing JFK) "achieving the goal, before 2015 is out, of completing another study how to build a heavy-launch vehicle and what it might cost." (That Obama might not even be the president in 2015 is beside the point.)
  • He will pay for this new heavy lift launch vehicle by... (still waiting),
  • He has committed to increase NASA's budget by $6,000,000,000 to pay for it. Ignore the fact that this increase will barely keep up with inflation. So, he really isn't increasing spending - he's keeping up with inflation, at best.

But don't worry. Obama has given us his word! We can rely on his word, can't we? Well, in a word, not only no, but &@$# no. Jim Geraghty has compared his promises/statements during the campaign to reality. You can read it here. So, if you accept Obama at his word, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you, real cheap!

I happen to be a member of the Planetary Society (right now, I don't know why). I have been for quite a few years. The unelected Board of Directors decided that Obama's idea was a good thing and voted to support his (lack) of direction and commitment to space. You have prominent scientists and business executives who should know better. But, with no input from the membership, this group made a major decision for the Society. In short, they've bought this bologna hook, line, and sinker.

I received an e-mail from them the other day asking me to oppose those who aren't as enlightened as they and support this "bold initiative" (if I could get a nickel for every time the White House uses the word bold, I'd have a lot of nickels.) "Look who's supporting this" they joyously wrote. They had Buzz Aldrin (Dr. Rendezvous, probably one of the least liked and knowledgeable of the Apollo astronauts - read Gene Cernan's biography to find out why!), Sally Ride, and Newt Gingrich. It's like, if these people not good enough for you, who is? Sadly, this is the best the Planetary Society can do. They've become cheerleaders for this "devastating" plan. What possibly made them support this is beyond the understanding of thinking people.

Against Obama and short-sighted groups like the Planetary Society, you have astronauts like Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Jim Lovell who sent a letter to Obama pointing out the many ways he is hurting the space program.

Obama, Planetary Society, et al., have fallen in love with the privatization of space. The fact that private industry can't even successfully launch a satellite into Earth orbit be damned! Armstrong, Cernan, and Lovell's letter rightly explain that the "availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope." Relying on privatization is pig-in-a-poke.

Obama has been sent a letter signed by a Who's Who in space exploration challenging Obama's no direction direction. Former astronaut Tom Jones wrote an excellent piece titled "Obama's Hollow Promise on Space." The White House's response was to trot out Aldrin.

Let me see; on the one side we have The Planetary Society, Newt Gingrich, Buzz Aldrin, and Sally Ride. On the other, we've got almost thirty prominent former astronauts and space experts. The outstanding space reporter Jay Barbree opposes this misbegotten farce (get a copy of his outstanding memoir - Live From Cap Canaveral - here). Obama and the Planetary Society want us to believe they know what's best. Who do you believe? Our president who's never met a promise he won't break, an unaccountable Board of Directors making a decision for an organization with no membership input, a couple of astronauts, and a has-been politician or everyone else. That's a no brainer.

We still have hope that representatives in Congress will stand up to this unmitigated disaster. Polls have shown Americans don't support Obama's no-plan. Sadly, we've seen what The One thinks about public opinion as he mocks his opponents - ""You would think they'd be saying thank you!" (Obama needs to stay away from liberal fundraisers!) We still have hope that we can avoid a future projected by Armstrong, Cernan, and Lovell - "Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity. America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal."

The choice is clear - excellence or mediocrity.


Thursday, April 15th

Here's what was done in class today (for actual assignments, click here).

6th Grade

Students watched Bill Nye Light and Color and Light and Optics. We have completed the heat and light portion of the lecture.

7th Grade

Students finished watching Science Court - Particles and then watched Atoms & Molecules to reinforce what they have learned about atoms.

We're on Spring Break until Wednesday, April 21st. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 14th

Here's what we did in class today (for assignments, click here.)

6th Grade

We continued the heat, light, and sound lecture. We completed the three forms of heat transfer (conduction, convection, and radiation). Students watched Bill Nye Heat. We reviewed the principles of light. They include:

Reflection - light hits an object and bounces off. We see color because that color is reflected off the object. Black absorbs all colors and doesn't reflect anything. White reflects all the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet - ROY G. BIV).
Refraction - light bends as it travels through different objects and substances. Refraction of light through a prism or drop of water gives us a rainbow (colors of the spectrum).

Students began watching Bill Nye Light and Color.

7th Grade

We finished the matter lecture. Students learned about evaporation & boiling (the changing of a liquid to a gas) and condensation (the changing of a gas to a liquid).

Students began watching Science Court - Particles.


Greater Bulldog Bats Fish at Night

Here's the link to another great video clip from Life. I hope you enjoy it!

Update, April 13th

Here's an update for Monday, April 12th & Tuesday, April 13th (for more information, click here.)

April 12th

6th Grade

Students took the microorganisms end-of-unit exam.

7th Grade

Began the principles of matter lecture. Students will complete a concept map during the lecture.

April 13th

6th Grade

Began the principles of heat, light, and sound lecture. Students will complete a concept map during the lecture. The emphasis was on how heat is transferred.Students also watched Bill Nye Heat video.

7th Grade

Continued the principles of matter lecture. Students learned about key discoveries that help us learn about the atom. Discussed the properties of a solid, liquid, and gas. Began talking about the changes in the phases of matter.


Friday, April 9th

Here's what happened the last two days (for actual assignments, click here.)

6th Grade

Thursday was the last days students worked on their microorganisms workbooks.

Friday, students spent their time observing protozoans. The microorganisms unit test is tentatively set for Monday.

7th Grade

The last two days were spent in the computer lab. Students used the Internet to research answers to their adaptations unit final exam. On Monday, we'll begin our matter unit.


Wednesday, April 7th

Here's and update of today's activities (for specific assignment information, click here). It was a short day because it was late start.

6th Grade

1st, 2nd, and 5th hour spent their time working on their workbooks. Tomorrow is the last day they will be working on the microorganisms workbooks.

6th hour looked at their agar plates and then worked on the workbooks.

7th Grade

Students did their last adaptations unit assignment. Using two tables, students chose a beak and feet to attach to a bird body. Using information from the tables, students wrote about in what habitat their bird would live. They had to use the beak and feet as part of their explanation why the bird would live in that habitat.


Tuesday, April 6th

Here's a quick update of what happened in class today (to see assignments, click here).

6th Grade

1st, 2nd, & 5th hours looked at their agar plates. Most students got some excellent bacterial samples. After they were done looking at the plates, they continued working on the workbooks.

6th hour went out and collected samples on their agar plates. They will look at the plates tomorrow.

7th Grade

Students completed an adaptations lab, Survival of the Beaks. Each student was given a tool representing a beak. They had to use the beak to pick up food. If they didn't get a certain number of food items each round (for six rounds), they died. Some students "beak" wasn't able to even pick up enough food to survive the first round.

The purpose of this activity was to demonstrate how a bird's beak is adapted to a certain form of food. If that type of food is not available, the bird will not survive unless it can adapt to changes in food.


Monday, April 5th

Here's a quick overview of what was done in class today (to get copy of assignments, click here).

6th Grade

1st, 2nd, and 5th hours collected bacterial samples. They were placed in the incubator and students will look at them tomorrow.

Since the incubator was full, 6th hour was not able to collect samples. They will tomorrow. 6th hour worked on their microorganisms workbooks.

7th Grade

The last two groups finished their presentations.

Students worked on the activity Hide's the name, Seek's the Game. Student punch out 50 dots from white paper, black paper, and newspaper. All the dots are spread over a large piece of newspaper. Using tweezers, students pick up as many dots as they can in 30 seconds. Numbers collected by all students around counted, averaged, and a graph is made.

The purpose of the activity is to see how camouflage helps an animal hide. It is hoped that students will get more black and white dots than newspaper dots.



I wanted to give you an update about what's going to happening in class over the next five weeks.

6th Grade

  • This week we will be wrapping up our microorganisms unit. Monday & Tuesday, students will be collecting, growing, and analyzing bacteria. Friday, students will use the microscopes and observe protozoans and algae. The rest of the week will be spent finishing workbook assignments.
  • The unit final exam will be on Monday, April 12th.
  • Beginning April 13th through the 30th, we will be studying the principals of heat, light, and sound.
  • We will review and prepare students for the state core test beginning May 3rd.
  • Core testing will be the week of May 10th.

7th Grade

  • We will finish the adaptations unit this week. Thursday and Friday will be spent in the computer lab. Students will be using the Internet to research and answer questions on the adaptations unit final exam.
  • Our phases of matter/structure of the Earth unit will being on April 12th and end April 30th.
  • Students will review and prepare for the state core test the week of May 3rd.
  • Core testing will be the week of May 10th.
Needless to say, the next five weeks are going to be busy and challenging for the students. But, they're going to have a great time!