2nd Perfect Game in a Month!

A rare baseball occurrence - a perfect game (27 batters faced, all 27 batters gotten out) was pitched again last night.

Veteran Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay pitched baseball's 20th perfect game last night. Way to go, Roy!

Thursday, May 27th, Friday May 28th

Here's what happened in class the last two days of the week.

Thursday, May 27th

6th/7th Grade

I had a substitute today. I went on the field trip with the Young Investors Club.

Both classes watched two videos - IMAX Space Station and L5 - A City in Space.

Space Station took students on a tour of the ISS. Most of the film was shot by the astronauts while on the space shuttle and space station.

L5 - A City in Space is an IMAX movie set a century or so in the future. The story is about a crisis aboard L5. It is told by a woman, remembering the events when she was a child. It's an interesting look at what life could be like on a city in space.

Friday, May 28th

6th Grade (1st/2nd hour)/7th Grade

Students spent class time launching their bottle rockets. Not all students were able to launch their rockets, so we will continue on Tuesday.

6th Grade (5th/6th hour)

We had to scrub launches in the afternoon because of rain. Students watched a video showing a tour of the space shuttle.


Tuesday, May 25th/Wednesday May 26th

6th/7th Grade Classes

All classes have spent the last two days building bottle rockets. As I've watched the rockets being built, a number of students have used some creativity and are trying some unique designs. It will be interesting to see if the fly!

Students will begin launching the rockets on Friday.


Monday, May 24th

Students had a substitute today. I was involved with interviews for our vacant 7th grade science teacher position.

Students watched When We Left Earth - The Explorers. This program covered the Apollo missions beginning with Apollo 12 through the Skylab missions.

I explained why I choose to show my students this video in Friday's post.


Friday, May 21st

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students presented their scientist wanted poster to the class.

6th Grade (Pictures from NASA Images)

The other day, I was watching a show about the Apollo moon landings. Charlie Duke (10th man on the Moon) talked about how kids today have forgotten about the moon landings. When he talks, he said he is always asked on which Space Shuttle mission he flew.

It was an exciting time growing up and watching our first steps to explore space. The spirit of this endeavor can be felt with the words of President Kennedy. He gave a speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962. For me, this is the highlight of the entire speech.

"There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

(Editorial comment - we could use a good dose of President Kennedy's vision in America today.)

I hope to share some of that excitement with my students.

I decided to spend the next two days sharing two episodes from the wonderful series When We Left Earth. The first video was saw today was Friends and Rivals. This episode covered the Gemini missions. If you are not familiar with the Gemini missions, two men were launched into Earth orbit. There they practiced the skills required to go to the Moon. As I read about the accomplishments of the astronauts during Project Gemini, for me it is, in its own way, is more interesting and fascinating than the Apollo Moon landings.


Thursday, May 20th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students began working on the Scientist Wanted Poster assignment. Students were assigned a scientist, given information about that scientist, and told to make the wanted poster. Tomorrow, students will present information about their scientist to the class.

6th Grade

Continued working on Image Scale Math assignments.


Wednesday, May 19th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students presented their organ/organ system to the class. (See description on May 18th post).

6th Grade

Students continued working on Image Scale Math.


Monday May 17th/Tuesday May 18th

Here's what we did the last two days.

7th Grade

Monday we finished watching March of the Penguins.

Today each group was given a book about an organ/a few organs/an organ system. The group was tasked to read the book and make a presentation to the class. All books were by science writer Seymour Simon. The books were: The Heart, The Brain, Bones, Guts, Muscles, Eyes and Ears, and Lungs.

Students will present to the class tomorrow.

6th Grade

Monday students took the light and sound tests.

After the tests, students began an assignment from the the NASA publication Image Scale Math. Using pictures and general information about the pictures, students take that information and determine a scale (usually 1 meter = how many millimeters or centimeters). They measure the picture as well as objects in the picture. They also answer questions about the picture.

I found this workbook last week. I thought it might be a good activity for students to do before we start talking about scale models of the Solar System, galaxy, and the universe.

Today we continued working on that assignments.

Students have been asked to bring two small mouth plastic bottles (2 liter, 1 liter, 20 oz., etc.) by Monday of next week. Students bringing the bottles will make and launch bottle rockets.


Atlantis In Orbit on Its Last Flight

Picture from NASA Picture of the Day Gallery

Space shuttle Atlantis soars to orbit from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 2:20 p.m. EDT on May 14. The third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, this was the last planned launch for Atlantis.


Friday, May 14th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We began watching March of the Penguins. This is an excellent documentary that shows how animals adapt to extreme environments and what it takes for them to survive.

6th Grade

We watched The Universe - The Day the Moon Was Gone. Everyone knows that the Moon controls our tides, but did you know that if the moon disappeared, Earth would spin much faster, giving us a shorter day, winds would blow stronger and longer, and life on our planet would be doomed?


Thursday, May 13th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We finished watching Alien Planet. For a description of the program, see yesterday's post.

6th Grade

It was the last day of core testing until next year! YES!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, May 12th

Here's what we did in class today.

7th Grade

Began watching Alien Planet. (This video is usually shown during the adaptations unit. Because of time limitations, I did not have the time to show this to students during that unit.)

The Discovery Channel program imagines a world like our own, just 6.5 light years away – but teeming with life forms unlike anything found on Earth.

Take a simulated journey into the near future, where astronomers and biologists alike marvel at the potential of Darwin IV, a nearby planet with two suns, 60% gravity and an atmosphere capable of supporting life. Having identified Darwin as a likely home for life, scientists send a series of unmanned probes to the planet. Initially, the expectation is to find microscopic life. But the probes soon find themselves in the middle of a developed ecosystem, teeming with diverse creatures of all sizes.

Peering through the "eyes" of the probes, marvel at the planet's bizarre inhabitants – like the lumbering Groveback, which supports a mini forest of vegetation on its back; deadly Prongheads who hunt in packs like wolves; and the graceful Gyrosprinter, an elk-like creature with a body dotted by luminescent biolights. The look and biology of each animal is based on the laws of evolution and physics, then modeled to fit the hypothetical environment of Darwin IV. Leading minds in the fields of paleontology, astrophysics and astrobiology explain how these creatures might evolve other worldy characteristics like hollow bodies, "jet" propulsion and piercing tongue skewers.

6th Grade

We began the core test. It will continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11th

Here's what we did in class today.

7th Grade

We completed our State Core Testing today.

6th Grade

We continued doing review assignments. The following assignments were done today:

Extra Terrestrial Excursions - Students calculate how long it would take them to get to a planet from Earth traveling at 4o,000 kilometers.
FBI Case - Perils at the Picnic - Students read a scenario about how food is handled and identify the ways the food was mishandled and allowed potentially harmful bacteria to grow.


Driving of the Golden Spike

Today is the 141st anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, UT. This was the official ceremony marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Monday, May 10th

Here's what happened in class today.

7th Grade

Students completed their first day of core testing.

6th Grade

Students worked on review assignments. These include:

  • A set of six criss-cross puzzles using the vocabulary they learned during Science A/B.
  • Phases of the Moon worksheets.
  • Constellation worksheet identifying constellations that are seen during each season.
  • Reason for the Seasons worksheet identifying how the tilt of the Earth and direct/indirect sunlight is responsible for the seasons; identify why the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere are reversed.


Perfect Game!

Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden pitched MLB's 19th perfect game today. The first perfect game was pitched in 1880. His grandmother, who raised, was there watching him pitch.

Way to go, Dallas Braden!


Friday, May 7th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We reviewed how density is responsible for the structure of the Earth.

  • Inner Core - The inner core consists of dense, solid iron. Its density is around 15 g/cm3.
  • Outer Core - The outer core consists of molten iron. Its density is around 12 g/cm3.
  • Mantle - The mantle is the Earth's thickest layer. It consists primarily of hot, solid rock. Its density goes from around 3.3 g/cm3 to around 5.7 g/cm3 the deeper you go.
  • Crust - There are two types of crust. The continental crust is the thickest part; it consists primarily of igneous (granite-type) rock. Its density is around 2.7 g/cm3. The oceanic crust is thinner than the continental crust. It consists of younger rock; the rock is primarily basalt. Its density is around 3.3 g/cm3.

6th Grade

We completed our sound experiments.

  • Tuning Fork Exploration - Using two tuning forks, students explore sound and vibrations, pitch, and how sound travels through a medium.
  • Plucker Up - Students attach a string to a cup. Listing at the open end of the cup, students pluck the string, adjusting the length. This demonstrates pitch.
  • King Gong - Using two cups attached to a string, students hang a metal hanger from the string. The tap the hangar and listen to the vibrations.
  • Party Line - Students play "phone" using two cups and string. After listening to each other, they attach a third line and communicate with each other.


Alan Sheperd and Freedom 7

Photo from NASA Images

Alan Sheperd became the first American in space aboard the Mercury spacecraft Freedom 7 50 years ago today.

Photo from NASA Images


Thursday, May 6th

Students had a substitute today. Here's what they did.

7th Grade

Students read Section 1.1 in The Changing Earth textbook. This section covers the layers of the Earth and how the density of each layer determined the structure of the Earth. There is also a section discussing problems with using Earth models like raised relief globes as well as flat maps.

6th Grade

Student are doing review activities in preparation for core testing. Using the 6th grade science review book, students complete five criss-cross puzzles using vocabulary words.

Wednesday, May 5th

Here's what we did today. (For assignments, click here).

7th Grade

Student finished density activities started yesterday. See Tuesday, May 4th's post for a description.

6th Grade

We wrapped up light experiments today. Student completed two more activities.

  • Adding Colors - Students use flashlights covered with red, blue, and green Cellophane. They shine different color combinations on a white sheet of paper and record their results.
  • How Primary Colors Affect What We See - Students use the flashlights and shine each color (red, blue, green Cellophane covered flashlights) on white, blue, green, and red paper and record their results.


Tuesday, May 4th

Here's what we did today. (For assignments, click here).

7th Grade

Students began working on the following density labs.

  • On Top - students place a blue-colored ice cube in a cup of oil and observe what happens.
  • Density Cubed - students calculate the density of six metal cubes. All metal cubes are the same volume, but each has a different mass. Once they have calculated the mass, they identify of which metal the cube is made.
  • What a Mass - using different cylinders made of different materials, students calculate the density and identify of which material each cylinder is made. Each cylinder has the same mass but different volumes.

6th Grade

We continued working on light experiments.

  • Why is the Sky Blue - students fill a quart jar with water and mix in milk. A flashlight is used to shine in light. They should see a bluish-tinge in the cloudy water. (I hope!)
  • Paddle Colors - using six paddles of different colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet), students combine paddles of two different colors, shine the light through the paddles, and identify the color that is made.
  • The Amazing Disappearing Penny - a penny is taped to the bottom of an opaque cup. Students move the cup to a point they can't see the penny. Water is added and they record what is observed.


Monday, May 3rd

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

7th Grade

We completed the last lab demonstrating the basic principles of matter. Students examined the question - Is the line made by M&Ms unique to M&Ms? Students compared the line formed by M&Ms in water with the line formed by Skittles in water.

We began the density portion of the unit today with the density lecture.

6th Grade

The majority of the students did not score very well on the heat quiz Friday. Over the weekend, I decided to revise the quiz as well as review the transfer of heat. Most students were able to improve their score!

We really didn't have time to continue with light experiments after all students completed the heat quiz re-take.