Thursday, September 30th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students spent the day working on the projects. Here are the projects that are being done...

  • Rocket Recovery
  • Why Aerobie Flying Wings Fly Better Than a Frisbee
  • Chemistry of ice Cream Making
  • How the Surface of an Inclined Plane Affects How Far an Object Can Travel
  • Determining of Iodide Content of Salt
  • Pinocchio's Arm (objective - to detect changes in the brain when a person is telling the truth and when a person is lying.)
The group doing Rocket Recovery (placing colored powders in rocket to help track rockets after the parachute comes out) needed to be supervised while launching the rocket (the X-15). We had a couple of bad igniters so it took them longer than expected to get it ready for launch.

The X-15 went straight up for about 200 feet, then immediately started flying towards the east (we were in the back of the school). We followed it until the parachute was supposed to deploy, but we couldn't see it. The group looked out front but couldn't find it. I hope it landed on the roof! Science is wonderful, but things don't always work out as we hope!

6th Grade

We finished the last light lab activities. These were...

  • How Does Primary Colored Light Affect What We See? Students had four sheets of paper (red, blue, green, and white) and three flashlights (covered with red, green, and blue filters). Lights were turned off and students shined each color flashlight (along with one that had white light - the filter removed) on each color paper. Students then identified the color they actually saw.
  • Adding Colors. Using the three flashlights with filters, students shined them on white light. They first shined each individually. Next, they combined two of the colors (red w/green; green w/blue; red w/blue). They identified the colors they saw with those light combinations. Finally, all three colors of light were combined and students should have seen white (or almost white, I hope!) light.
  • Paddle Colors. Students received six color paddles (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). Students took two paddles (e.g., red and blue) and put them together. They shined the flashlight (no filter) through the paddles to see what color those two produces. They did that for all the combinations.
We will be finished with light tomorrow. With the time left, I plan to begin the sound unit. On Monday, students will take the light quiz.


Wednesday, September 29th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students spent the hour in the Library researching their science project. This will help them as they do their project and present it to the class.

6th Grade

Students finished the It's Bent lab activity.

The next activity was Refraction and Lenses. Students went outside and, using a prism, saw how white light, when refracting through a prism, produces the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, and violet - the colors of the rainbow).

Part II consisted of looking through two lenses - a convex lens and a concave lens. The convex lens turns the image upside down. The concave lens makes the image look smaller as you move the lens away from the eye. When you put the two lenses together, it's like looking through a window. The light is refracted through both lenses. The second lens "corrects" the refraction of the first lens. This is why it looks like you are looking through a window.

Students began Part III. Students were given five large lenses of different shapes. Using a flashlight and a comb, the light shines through the lens. students observe how the beams of light are refracted. They also shine a laser pointer through the lens, making the same observation.

This gives them first-hand experience with lenses and how they affect light.


Tuesday, September 28th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students completed the Metrics Scavenger Hunt today.

Groups will have one final project to complete before we move on to the cells unit. Each group will be doing a science fair project. I came up with list of 11 different activities; however, the groups did not get to select their project. Each group selected a number between 1 and 11. The number selected identified which project they will do.

The purpose of this activity is to introduce them to the concept of a science project. They will complete their project, make a display board, and present their results to the class. I think this will be a challenging project for my students.

6th Grade

Students completed Decoding Secret Messages. They were assigned the first refraction (bending of light) activity. It is called It's Bent. It's done in two parts.

  • Part I - The question being answered is "Does the amount of water in a cup affect refraction?" Students get four clear cups. They place 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup, and one cup of water into the four cups. A straw is placed in each cup. Observing each cup, students determine if there are differences in refraction between the cups.
  • Part II - The question being answer is "Does the thickness of a liquid affect refraction?" Four cups are used. One cup is filled with water; one is filled with cooking oil; one is filled with liquid dish soap; one is filled with with corn syrup. Each liquid is thicker than the previous liquid. A straw is placed in each cup. Observing each cup, students determine if there are differences in refraction between the cups.


Monday, September 27th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continued to roam the halls of ACYI completing their Metric Scavenger Hunt. It will end tomorrow.

6th Grade

Today's activity was Decoding Secret Messages. Students color five pictures according to a key. When completed, they look at it through a red and green filter, decoding the secret message. Using the filters demonstrates that only certain colors of light pass through the filter while the others are blocked (appearing darker than the surrounding areas).


Friday, September 24th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Today's challenge was the Great Metrics Scavenger Hunt. Students have to complete 48 tasks tied to the metric system. They did not have time to finish today so they will continue Monday.

6th Grade

If the lab activities (It's a Reflection/What's Your Angle) from yesterday weren't finished, the first assignment was to finish them.

The next activity is Decoding Secret Messages. Five pictures are colored according to a key. After the pictures are colored, students look through a red and green filter, attempting to find the hidden word.

The purpose of this activity is to show them how colored filters change what you see.


Thursday, September 23rd

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students had the opportunity to re-take the scientific method quiz. We will wrap up work on the Metrics Workbook tomorrow.

6th Grade

Student had the opportunity to re-take the heat unit quiz. Most improved their score, but a few students didn't. One student asked if she brought a note from her mother, could she re-take the quiz? I told her she didn't need a note from her mom. I would arrange for her to re-take the quiz.

Before I offer the re-take, I plan on getting with the students, finding out what they don't understand, and work to find a way to help them understand the principles of heat transfer.

We started the Light Unit. We did the following activities...

  • It's a Reflection. This is a three part activity. Part I - Using a paper protractor, mirror, and laser pointer, students bounce the laser off the mirror at a certain angle (angle of incidence). They adjust the laser so the red beam can be seen on the opposite side of the protractor (angle of reflection). Hopefully, it will be the same (law of reflection) or within two or three degrees because of the laser beam not hitting the mirror at the exact center point. The purpose of the activity is to demonstrate that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. Part II - The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate that, as the angle of two mirrors becomes larger, the number of reflections increase. Using the protractor, hinged mirrors, and a star ball placed between the mirrors, students place the mirrors at 10 degrees and count the number of reflections. The angle increases 20 degrees until it reaches 70 degrees. Part III - Students place letters by a mirror and draw the reverse letter.
  • What's Your Angle? Students make a target and place it on their table. They set up three mirrors and set them in different places until they successfully hit the target. Two groups get together and repeat the process using six mirrors.


Wednesday, September 22nd

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students are finishing the Metrics Workbook.

The scientific method quiz re-take will be tomorrow.

6th Grade

Students continued working on the Waves, Sound, and Light text worksheet.

When each member of a group finishes the worksheet, they can begin the light unit activities.

The heat quiz re-take will be tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 21st

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Student continue to work on the Metrics Workbook. Most students are working on pgs. 16-22. These are the actual labs (length lab, volume lab, Smile Metric Style etc. Click on the workbook link to see the activities).

We will wrap up the workbook on Friday.

Just a reminder that students can re-take the Scientific Method Quiz on Thursday.

6th Grade

The classes that did not finish the Bill Nye videos completed them today.

Students were given light unit flashcards with key terms they need to know. They cut them out and studied them for a few minutes at the beginning of class. They will do this each day.

Students worked on an assignment from the Waves, Sound, and Light textbook. The textbook has a lot of information that does not apply to the State Core's requirement for the 6th Grade light unit (scroll down to Standard VI, Objective 2). I decided to go through the text, find the appropriate sections, and developed my own worksheet for students to complete

Once a group had completed the worksheets, they will begin the light activities.

Students who need to re-take the Heat Quiz were given a review worksheet and the Matter and Energy textbook. They will re-take the quiz on Thursday.


Monday, September 20th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continued working on their Metrics Workbook. Most students are now doing the metric system labs.

Students who want to re-take the scientific method quiz will have the opportunity on Thursday.

6th Grade

Today, all classes finished the light unit lecture & concept map. We began watching two Bill Nye videos Light and Color and Light and Optics.

Students who got a proficiency level below 2.5 will be required to re-take the quiz on Thursday. These students will be required to complete a remediation packet before re-taking the quiz.

Any other student who wants to re-take the quiz on Thursday will be able to do so.


Constitution Day

On this day in 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed one of the greatest documents in history. It was sent to the states for ratification. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, making it the governing document of the United States of America.

Friday, September 17th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students were given a quiz on the scientific method. We will review the quiz on Monday. Arrangements will be made to students who want to retake the quiz.

Students continue work on the Metrics Workbook assignments.

6th Grade

Students took the heat unit quiz. We will review the quiz on Monday. Arrangements will be made to students who want to retake the quiz.

We began the light unit. I started the basic lecture and handed out the concept map for students notes.


Cosmic Ice Sculptures: Dust Pillars in the Carina Nebula

A Hubble Video Release

September 16, 2010:
Enjoying a frozen treat on a hot summer day can leave a sticky mess as it melts in the Sun and deforms. In the cold vacuum of space, there is no edible ice cream, but there is radiation from massive stars that is carving away at cold molecular clouds, creating bizarre, fantasy-like structures. These one-light-year-tall pillars of cold hydrogen and dust, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, are located in the Carina Nebula.

This image is a composite of Hubble observations taken of the Carina Nebula region in 2005 in hydrogen light (light emitted by hydrogen atoms) along with observations taken in oxygen light (light emitted by oxygen atoms) in 2010, both times with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The immense Carina Nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.

Thursday, September 16th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Student continued working on the assignments in their metrics workbook.

6th Grade

Student listened to two podcasts that talked about how conditions on Earth can prevent radiation from the Sun arriving at Earth.

Students completed Identify the Heat Transfer worksheet. They looked at ten different pictures showing different ways heat is transferred. Their assignment was to identify whether the picture showed conduction, convection, or radiation.

This completes our heat unit. Tomorrow students will take the heat quiz.

Our next unit will explore properties of light.


Wednesday, September 15th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We began our metrics unit. The metrics workbook was handed out and students began to work on the assignments.

6th Grade

We used our pizza box solar ovens today. Student had the chance to make S'mores. 1st hour was surprisingly successful considering it was cooler in the morning. The rest of the classes were very successful.

I did learn that a Hershey's bar melts very fast! By 6th hour, they began melting as soon as they were put in the oven.

While the S'mores were cooking, students completed a radiation activity - Best Emitter.

Student covered three test tubes - one with aluminum foil, one with black paper, and one with white paper. Hot water was placed in each test tube and stoppers were placed in each test tube. At ten minutes, students measured the temperature of each test tube. At twenty minutes, they determine which emits heat the best.

The test tube covered with aluminum foil should have emitted the most heat. This is because aluminum is a good conductor of heat. As the aluminum heats up, it emits heat in the form of radiation.


Tuesday, September 14th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We began our metric unit today. Students watched a video about the metric system and completed a worksheet. Key points they learned...

  • Basic metric units
  • Metric prefixes
  • Metric abbreviations
We are spending the next week or so reviewing the metric system because it is used in science. Students will need to understand the basics as we use grams, liters, and meters throughout the year.

6th Grade

We finished making the pizza box solar ovens today. Hopefully the weather will be clear and warm tomorrow so we can try them out.

Students completed the last convection lab - Volcano Under Water. Student placed hot water, colored red, in a baby food jar. They fill a quart jar about 3/4 full of tap water. After tying a string around the baby food jar they quickly lower it into the quart jar. When this is done, they see the hot water rapidly leave the jar and travel to the top before diffusing throughout the quart jar.


Monday, September 13th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We completed the last activity in the Scientific Method Workbook - String 'Em Up. This activity required students use a measurement standard of a "wrist." They took a string and wrapped it around their wrist. This is the standard measurement - the "wrist." They wrapped strings around or the length of different body parts (knee, upper arm, etc.) and determined how many "wrists" it was in length or diameter.

This is an introductory activity to our next unit - understanding the metric system.

6th Grade

I have always wanted to try making a pizza box solar oven as a part of the heat unit. In the past, however, I have always taught the heat unit between January and March. This year, I am starting the year with the heat unit. Because of this change, I decided to give it a try.

Students spent their class time making an oven with their group. We will finish it tomorrow and try them out on Wednesday.


Friday, September 10th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students finished the Penny Water lab activity.

The next lab activity was an inference activity. Student were given a sheet of paper. They were to analyze it using four of five senses (excluding taste!). Based on their study they were to make an inference about what would happen if the paper was burned. Then, they burned the paper! After they analyzed their results.

I had given them a piece of magician flash paper. It burned very rapidly. Some students said they expected it to burn like this, but others were quite surprised.

6th Grade

We did three heat lab activities.

  • Conduction Lab - How Do You Have an Ice Cube Race. Student measured the temperature of air in one plastic cup. They put water in the other and measured the temperature. They then added cold or hot water so they could get the water temperature the same as the air temperature. After the temperature were the same, they placed an ice cube in each cup. They watched to see which would melt first. The ice in the water melted first. This activity demonstrated that air is an insulator and a poor conductor of heat.
  • Convection Lab - When Hot Meets Cold. Students placed water in a large container. Next, they put hot water (colored red) in a baby food jar; they put cold water (colored blue) in the other. Aluminum foil was placed on the tops of the baby food jar. The jars were placed in the container, on their side. A hole was punched in the aluminum foil. The hot water rose to the top and the cold water dropped to the bottom. This lab demonstrated that hot rises and cold falls.
  • Convection Lab - Water Wars. Student place clear, hot water in one test tube, clear, cold water in a second. Students drizzled hot water (colored red) into the test tube with cold water. The water stayed towards the top of the test tube (hot rises). Next, students drizzled cold water (colored blue) in the test tube with hot water. The cold (cold falls) water slowly sank to the bottom of the test tube.


Thursday, September 9th

Here's what we did in class today.

7th Grade

We began a series of lab activities that introduce students to specific scientific concepts.

The first lab was Penny Water. Students develop a method to determine how many drops of water can be placed on a penny. As a part of the lab, they need to determine how many times the process should be repeated to get a reliable result.

We introduced terms:

  • Mean - the average
  • Median - the midpoint of a series of numbers (the number of drops on pennies for each results)
  • Mode - the value that occurs most often.

Students will be using this information in future activities.

6th Grade

Students completed two heat activities.

  • Butter on a Wire - This was a conduction experiment. Students have four different wires (aluminum, brass, copper, & steel). They place a small cube of butter on the end, place the middle of the wire in the flame of a candle, and time how long it takes for the butter to fall off the end of the wire. At the end of the lab, students determined which wire was the best conductor.
  • Paper Spiral - Student cut a sheet of paper into a spiral. They tie it on a stick and hang it from the edge of their table. A candle is placed directly under the spiral for a few minutes and record their observations.


Wednesday, September 8th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students completed the worksheet section of their scientific method workbook.

6th Grade

We took a day off from our heat activities today. A student brought in some of the best pond water I've seen. I decided an opportunity like this could not be passed up.

Students spent the hour observing microorganisms. I briefly explained what they were going to see, and tied it into our upcoming microorganisms unit.

Students had a chance to see many different organisms. They had an enjoyable time getting a preview of our upcoming unit.


Tuesday, September 7th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students learned about the difference between a quantitative and qualitative observations. A quantitative observation is an observation that has a precise number attached; it is a measurement of something (The tree is 30 feet tall). A qualitative observation cannot have a precise number attached; it is a description of something.

Students were assigned to complete all worksheets up to the Penny Water lab activity.

6th Grade

We completed two lab activities.

Why Do Plastic and Metal Feel Different? Students measure the temperature of 1/3 a cup of BBs and 1/3 a cup of pony beads. They are then placed in the refrigerator for twenty minutes. Students should (hopefully!) find that the metal BBs are colder than the plastic beads. Metal is a conductor, so it should be cooler. Students complete the worksheet for the lab.

Whose the Conductor? Students are given five different items. Hot water is placed in each item. After a couple of minutes, they identify which items are conductors and which are insulators. Students complete the worksheet for the lab.


Great Microbiologists

After we complete the heat, light, and sound unit, we will study microorganisms.

Here's a fun little video clip made using Legos discussing some important people in the history of the study of microorganisms. It lasts about eight-and-a-half minutes.



Friday, September 3rd

It's the end of the first week of school. It's been a great week. Once again, I'm fortunate and got some of the best students in the school. My students have helped make this a great week.

Here's what we did.

7th Grade

I handed out a copy of their Science Activities workbook. We spent the class discussing the difference between an observation and an inference.

Basically, an observation is anything you actually observe. An inference is when you come to a conclusion about something based on your experience. It may or may not be correct.

I gave them an example of an inference. I asked them, "What would you think if you came into my classroom at the beginning of 5th hour (after lunch) and saw a lunch tray in the room?" They responded that someone had eaten lunch in my classroom. I asked them, "Is it possible that a teacher asked me to take the tray to the lunchroom, and I hadn't taken it there yet?" They said yes. I told them that their first response was an inference. Based on their experience, if they see an empty lunch tray, that means someone ate lunch where they see the tray.

Each group was given a copy of the book Earthlets: As Explained by Professor Xargle. Professor Xargle is an alien teacher, teaching his students about earthlets (babies). He makes a number of conclusions, some observations (Earthlets come in four different colors - white, brown, black, and yellow) as well as inferences (Earthlet parents mash food, put it on a silver shovel, and put the food in the earthlet's mouth, nose, and ears).

Each group came up with a list of examples of observations as well as inferences from the book.

6th Grade

Students watched two videos - Bill Nye - Heat and Eureka! Conduction, Convection, and Radiation.

The Eureka episodes explained the three forms of heat transfer. A quick review:

  • Conduction - this form of heat transfer required actual contact with the heat source. Cooking pancakes on a griddle is an example.
  • Convection - this form of heat transfer requires liquid or gases. When the liquid/gases get hot, they rise. When they get cold, they fall. As they are heated again, they rise. This forms a circular current with hot rising and cold falling. An example given in the video was how a home is heated.
  • Radiation - this form of heat transfer does not require a medium (actual contact with the heat source or a gas or liquid). Radiation is a form of an electromagnetic wave. It doesn't become a form of heat energy until it actually hits an object. The video used a great example. A person tied a rope to a beach umbrella. He made a wave in the rope and the umbrella moved only when the wave hit the umbrella. Heat from the Sun arrives in the form of radiation.

Bill Nye is very popular among my students. This video explained the form of heat transfer then gave a number of examples of that form of heat transfer.

Tuesday, we should be able to begin our conduction experiments.


Thursday, September 2nd

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We began our Scientific Method unit. As I lectured, students completed a concept map that shows how the scientific method work.

6th Grade

We began our heat unit today. I lectured students using this PowerPoint. During the lecture, students completed the Principles of Heat concept map.


Wednesday, September 1st

Today, both classes wrapped the Lab Equipment Safety video and worksheet.

I felt it was important to emphasize lab safety at the beginning of the year. Throughout the year, we do activities and use equipment that could be harmful to the student. If they follow all safety rules and guidelines, they will have a great lab experience. As I tell my students, I have never had a student hurt themselves by following my safety guidelines.

In my classroom, I have hung up an oven mitt. You can see the clear burn of a hot plate's burner on the mitt. A few years back, a student lost her balance, put her hand on the counter top to keep from falling. In doing this, she put her hand on top of a hot hot plate. Had she not been wearing the oven mitt as directed, the burner marks on the oven mitt would have been a scar left on her hand.

I take safety in the science classroom very seriously. I want to make sure my students know this and understand the importance of following all safety rules and guidelines.