11/30/10

Tuesday, November 30th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students conducted two diffusion (The process of matter spreading out evenly from its source. An example of diffusion is when perfume is sprayed and eventually is smelled throughout a room.) experiments in their workbook.

  • Smelly Balloons - Three balloons were filled with a "smelly" liquid - vanilla, lemon extract, and raspberry extract. Students then smelled the balloon. Students should have been able to smell each liquid. This demonstrates diffusion because the particles are small enough to move through the tiny holes in the balloon (from a high concentration [in the balloon] to a low concentration [outside the balloon]).
  • It Reeks In Here - I used a container with chopped onions and garlic for this activity. I opened it up in front of the class. I then timed how long it took to get to the back of the classroom. Students recorded that data and graphed their results.
6th Grade

I began the constellations lecture. Students completed their graphic organizer during the lecture.

Mars Class

Students began working on the Introduction to Mars WebQuest. This will introduce Mars to the students. They will also begin learning how to observe features on the Martian surface.

11/29/10

Monday, November 29th

Begin 2nd Trimester

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students completed the Diffusion and Osmosis WebQuest today.

6th Grade

This was the first day of Science B.

We will study the following topics...

  • Constellations (Standard IV) - uses, history, & myths.
  • Why we have phases of the moon (Standard I).
  • The reason for the seasons (Standard II).
  • Solar System (Standard III).
  • Size and scale of the Universe (Standard IV).
  • One week review of Science A topics.
The last week of the trimester (week of February 28th), students will be taking the 6th Grade State Core Test.

Students who were not in my 1st Tri class received their disclosure statement. It is to be turned in by Wednesday.

We watched Constellation Myths. This program presented three sets of myths about constellations - Orion, Big & Little Dippers, & the Perseus myth (Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Pegasus, Perseus, & Cetus - the sea serpent).

After the video, students began working on their Constellation Workbook. Their assignment was to read pages 1 & 2. This was an article that gave them the basics about the constellations. After they were done reading, the assignment was to answer the questions on pages 3 & 4.

Mars Class

This is the first time our school has taught a class like this. The purpose of this class is for students to learn about Mars, its surface, and how surface features were formed. This will take about six weeks.

For the last six weeks, students will work to develop a research project about Mars. They will submit their completed project to the Mars Student Imaging Program committee at Arizona State. (This group is involved in managing the Mars Odyssey space probe in conjunction with JPL). The submitted project will include a request to use the Mars Odyssey to photograph a certain location on Mars.

If this is approved, students will program the space probe to take their picture from the classroom.

It's a very unique opportunity. As I told the class today that if someone would have told me (when I was in the 7th grade) that in 2010 I would be teaching a class about Mars that would involve the possibility of using a Mars space probe to take a photograph (under their control), I would have said they were crazy; yet, here I am doing just that. Wow! How times have changed!

Students received their disclosure statement. It is due back to class on Wednesday.

I showed students part of a Walt Disney show from the mid 50's called Man and Mars. The part they saw was speculation as to what life on Mars could possibly look like. Some of it was way out even for the 50's. As I told them, as a science geek, I loved this stuff. It helped spark my interest in learning about Mars and the planets.

We watched about half of a PBS show called Phoenix Mission: Onto the Ice. This is an overview of the the Mars Phoenix Lander that landed on Mars in 2007.

11/24/10

NASA Image of the Day - Harrat Khaybar

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia lies in the western half of the Arabian peninsula and contains not only large expanses of sand and gravel, but also extensive lava fields known as haraat (harrat for a named field). According to scientists, the volcanic field was formed by eruptions along a long north-south linear vent system over the past 5 million years; the most recent recorded eruption took place between 600-700 A.D.

The presence of tuff cones -- formed by eruption of lava in the presence of water together with other volcanic features indicative of water -- in the Harrat Khaybar suggest that the local climate was much wetter during some periods of volcanic activity. Today, however, the regional climate is hyperarid -- little to no yearly precipitation -- leading to an almost total lack of vegetation.

The image was taken by the Expedition 16 crew aboard the Inernational Space Station in March 2008.

11/22/10

Monday, November 22nd

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

We began the cell function unit today. Students went into the computer lab and began a Diffusion and Osmosis WebQuest.

The unit emphasizes two forms of passive transport (movement of liquids and gases into and out of a cell without using any energy), diffusion (The process of matter spreading out evenly from its source. An example of diffusion is when perfume is sprayed and eventually is smelled throughout a room.) and osmosis (A special form of diffusion that occurs in liquids. One liquid spreads evenly within another liquid.).

After students complete the WebQuest, they will begin doing experiments and activities that demonstrate diffusion and osmosis.

6th Grade

During the light unit, we did not have time to do one activity. We did that today. The activity was called Scattering Seeing the Microscopic Among the Giants. The activity served to not only emphasize reflection of light as well as light and color. It also introduced planetary science to students. This is an activity that I found at the NASA Cassini website.

Student place 1 1/2 cups of water into two pint jars. Using a laser pointer, students shine it through the water and observe what happens. Students next place four drops of milk in one of the jars. The laser light is shined through the milky water. Students saw the laser's beam as it passed through the jar.

Students added 1/4 teaspoon of flour into the second jar of water. This time the red beam was scattered throughout the jar. This is because there are different size particles of flour in the mixture.

This also demonstrates why the sky is blue. Light from the Sun hits particles in our atmosphere and the blue light tends to be reflected off the particles, causing our blue sky.

(Note - a number of students thought the sky was blue because blue light is reflected off the water. This is backwards. Water is blue because blue is reflected off the water.)

11/19/10

Friday, November 19th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Student took the cell unit final exam. I should have all essays graded and entered into the computer by Monday.

6th Grade

I was able to complete grading essays today. All microorganisms unit final exam scores have been entered into the computer.

I got my new DVD player, so I decided to show an episode of Good Eats - The American Pickle to the class. It's an excellent episode to show them how pickles are made as well as the roll microbes play in the pickling process.

I gave student a preview of Science B by showing them an excellent episode of A Traveler's Guide to the Planets - Saturn.

11/17/10

Wednesday, November 17th (Early Out Day)

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

I decided to end work on the cell unit today. Most students had finished work through the B2 Layer.

Tomorrow, there will be a review for the cell unit final exam Friday.

6th Grade

We continued reviewing for the microorganisms final exam tomorrow. We played "FUNGI," the microorganisms version of BINGO. students were read clues and had to find the answer on their FUNGI card.

I think it went well and the students got a good review.

11/16/10

Tuesday, November 16th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students are completing work on their cell unit assignments. (Last day for work is Thursday.)

6th Grade

Today we began to review for the final exam. Students watched a video about bacteria and one about protists.

If you would like to help you student prepare for the final exam on Thursday, you can help them review the unit notes. All the information the need to know can be found in the notes.

11/15/10

Monday, November 15th

Here's what we did in class today.

7th Grade

Students continue to work on their cell unit assignments.

The last day I will accept work is on Thursday. Friday, students will take the final exam.

6th Grade

Today ended work on the microorganisms unit assignments. I an in the process of grading the last assignments. Everything will be updated in the computer by Wednesday at the latest.

11/11/10

Tattooed Mars

As I was growing up, I loved reading about Mars, the canals, and the civilizations. Of course, there are no such things as civilizations and canals on Mars.

The other day, the NASA Image of the Day was called Tattooed Mars. This picture (caption below the picture) looks just like the drawings and visions of Mars that I hoped we would find. Looking at this picture, in fact, sure brings back memories of a young scientist learning about Mars! I wanted to share it with you!

Originally released Aug. 1, 2007, this image is of Mars' Russell Crater dune field, which is covered seasonally by carbon dioxide frost. This image shows the dune field after the frost has evaporated from solid to gas, with just a few patches remaining of the bright seasonal frost. Numerous dark dust devil tracks can be seen meandering across the dunes.

Thursday, November 11th

Here's what we did today.

7th grade

Students continue to work on the cell unit assignment.

Based on the number of students that are completing assignments, I've changed the due dates. The B1 workbook is now due on Friday, November 12th. The B2 workbook will be due on Thursday, November 18th. The cell unit final will be given on Friday, November 19th.

6th Grade

Students continue to work on the microorganisms unit assignment.

The last day to turn in work will be on Monday, November 15th. We will review on the 16th & 17th. The unit final will be given on Thursday, November 18th.

If you would like to help your student study for the test, click here to get a set of notes.

11/10/10

Wednesday, November 10th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continue to work on the cell unit assignments. Students should have completed up through the C3 Layer workbook. Assignments through the C3 Layer have been entered in the computer.

6th Grade

A student brought some pond water to class. It was, without question, the best pond water I've seen. You could easily see hundreds of paramecium. Students spent the hour looking at the samples and writing up their observations.

Our last day for working on the microorganisms unit assignments will be on Monday.

11/9/10

Tuesday, November 9th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Student continue working on their cell unit assignments.

Most students have completed the work through the C3 Layer. One group of students is actively working on the A Layer assignments.

6th Grade

We're entering the homestretch of the microorganisms unit assignments. We will finish work on the unit next Monday. The unit final exam will be given on the 17th with an opportunity to retest on the last day of class for the trimester (November 22nd).

11/8/10

Monday, November 8th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continue working on the cell unit assignments. The C3 Layer workbook should be completed by tomorrow.

6th Grade

All student should have completed assignments through the B1 Layer. The proficiency levels have been updated in the computer.

11/4/10

EPOXI Flyby of Comet Hartley 2

The EPOXI space probe completed a flyby of Comet Hartley 2 today. It flew within 435 miles of the Comet.

The EPOXI probe was first launched as Deep Impact. On July 4, 2005, Deep Impact launched a probe that crashed into Comet Tempel 1. This gave scientists a chance to better study the composition of comets.


Deep Impact was in good enough shape that its mission was extended. One of its mission to observe stars to identify possible giant planets that move in front of the star (transits the star). The flyby of Comet Hartley 2 was also a part of the mission, which has now been completed.

The pictures show the nucleus of the Comet. It has been described as looking like a "peanut" or the "drumstick" of a chicken!

It's quite a picture, no matter what it looks like!

Thursday, November 4th

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continue to work on their cell unit assignments. All student should be working on the C3 Layer assignments. Proficiency levels up through C2 Layer work have been updated in the computer.

6th Grade

Students continue to work on their microorganisms unit assignments. All student should have completed all workbooks up through the C3 Layer assignments. Proficiency levels up through the C3 Layer work have been updated in the computer.

I'm a little concerned a significant number of students in my 2nd & 6th hour classes have not finished up through the C3 Layer. I even have a few students working on the C2 Layer (which should have been finished last week).

Please check your students proficiency levels. If they haven't completed through the C3 Layer, please mention to them they need to get caught up.

11/3/10

Wednesday, November 3rd

Students are still working on their workbooks. 6th Grade students will finish on November 15th with the microorganisms test on November 17th.

11/1/10

Monday, November 1st

Here's what we did today.

7th Grade

Students continued working on their cell unit assignments. All students should have completed the C1 Layer work by October 28th. The proficiency levels for C1 have been entered in the computer. All students should finish the C2 Layer work by tomorrow.

6th Grade

Students continued working on their microorganisms unit assignments. All students should have completed C1 & C2 Layer work. The proficiency levels for C1 & C2 have been entered in the computer.