We had a wonderful year of STRETCH, Science Club, Science Fair, and Science Olympiad! Check out the following pictures from the last week of classes where we made kaleidoscopes as well as the "year in review" videos that I put together for each grade! Enjoy your summer and see you next year! ~~Mrs. Cook~~
Words alone cannot express how proud I am of all the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders on our Science Olympiad team! They worked so hard throughout the year and all their hard work paid off as our team placed 2nd place and earned the Silver Medal at the Science Olympiad on May 13, 2017! Just look below at all the smiling faces beaming with pride and all the smiling parent coaches. :) Some highlights:
John Henry and Reece's pasta tower never crumpled even under more than 22lbs of pressure and it went on to win first place! (be sure to check out the video below)
Clia and Madison's awesome and unique design on the mousetrap vehicle got them gold - this was a product of many hours of getting together, redesigning and fine tuning their vehicle. Great job ladies!! (check their videos below)
Kylan and Koakai's amazing and aerodynamic bottle rockets shot up and stayed up in the air the longest and got them the 1st place medal! Woohoo! Great job guys - all those practice sessions paid off. :)
Great job everyone - let's do it again next year!!!
As a finale to everything we have learned in class and on the field trip, I thought it would be great to finish the year with a guest speaker to teach the 4th and 5th graders all about seabirds and their challenges. I invited Emily Severson from the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project to talk to the class about how we identify seabirds, their habitats, some of the challenges (both natural and man-made) that they face and how we can do our part to help them. The students learned what to do if they every come across a stranded seabird and how to help them. They also learned about how they breed, where they nest, and why artificial lights confuse them and sometimes cause them to be disoriented and stranded. The students had lots of questions for our guest speaker and would love to get involved on more nature hikes to learn about birds. Here are some pictures and video of the guest lecture:
On Thursday, April 27, Denby and I took our 5th grade class to Waihee Refuge for a field trip. Because it was a smaller group, we were able to really get in depth, get hands on and had an amazingly fun learning day. Denby is an absolute wealth of knowledge and shared some really awesome stories about the history and nature of this special place - she made the day such a sucess and we are so grateful to learn from her!! The students learned about what makes the Waihee Refuge unique:
history - the students learned about the history, the Hawaiian villages, the Heiau, and why the land is so important for us to preserve (it was sold to a golf corporation at one point!)
dunes - the native plants, birds, the ecology of the sand dunes, and the restoration projects taking place
watershed - we did a segment in STRETCH class on watersheds and this trip helps solidify that knowledge and actually give the students a very good visual and an "ah-ha" moment when they saw Waihee Stream and how it empties out into the ocean
hands-on activities - we did beach clean ups and reenacted a historical story. During the beach clean up we were able to use the tablets to track the different kinds of debris we found. We also had a lesson on native plants and had the students find them and categorize them into different species. Check out the following pictures and video of the awesome field day:
After our Citizen Science training in January 2017, I was excited to do a Watershed segment in our 4th and 5th grade STRETCH class. We spent about 6 class sessions (3 weeks) on this segment. The students learned about our environment, what’s so special about Maui’s ecosystem, our watershed and where their water supply comes from in their various neighborhoods. We discussed water as a source of our food and livelihood and why it’s so important historically to set up villages by source of water. We also discussed human, plants, and animals’ impact on these water sources and how pollution came into play.
Then we dived deeper to discuss native plants and how they are much more efficient in water usage and complementing our Maui ecosystem. Along with native plants we also discussed native animals and bird species which all play into the delicate balance of a healthy watershed. On the opposite spectrum, we discussed invasive species and what it’s done to our landscape as well as some conservation actions that have helped in the recovery of our native forests.
Then we dove in to make a model of a watershed with our kits (diatomaceous earth, food coloring, clay, spray bottle, plastic bin, gravel, sand, pebbles). I had the students set up a village with mountains, hills, lakes, valleys. Once that model was set up, I gave the students food coloring and we used that to model the effects of pollutants in our water system. Then we took it one step further to have students engineer dams and other devices to block, prevent, or reverse the effects of pollution. The students had a lot of fun with this challenge - some of them engineered blockades to prevent pollutants from emptying out into the ocean and killing our reefs and sea life. Some students invented apparatuses to dilute and purify the polluted waters.
Overall, the students really enjoyed getting their hands dirty and building, designing, testing, re-designing and collaborating with each other. This is definitely a segment I will repeat again for my younger students. This year, I did this watershed segment with my 4th and 5th grade class and next year, I plan to do a version with my 3rd and 2nd graders!
One of the coolest things that we do in STRETCH is teach students different ways to reuse and re-purpose things that may easily be thrown in the trash. With a simple rectangle box (or even a paper towel tube) and an used CD, we were able to make a spectroscope with my 1st and 2nd grade students. A spectroscope is an instrument that splits light into different wavelengths which we see as "colors." At the top of our device, we made a little slit for the sunlight to hit the shiny surface of the CD and on the side of the device, we made a cut out for the viewing hole. The result is rainbow-tastic! Check it out below. :)
After the Science Fair the 1st graders were pumped about science and I decided to give them a fun little challenge - pasta towers! The challenge is to build the tallest tower with spaghetti and marshmallows and it's a bit harder than it looks. This challenge has been a Science Olympiad favorite year after year (the older students usually build a tower and they also use glue guns). But for the first graders, we were able to use this challenge to review some math, geometry, and bridge building concepts we learned before and of course employ our good old friend, the triangle. The 1st graders stepped up to the challenge, worked well in teams and even got a marshmallow or two in the process!
On March 9th we held a jam packed Science Fair night. All the STRETCH students are required to do a science project each year. There were tons of parents, siblings and proud students who demo'd their projects, videos and showed off their hard work. Below are some pictures of 1st grade projects as well as videos from the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. Awesome job overall to all the students!
The Kindergarten Science Club also explored some cool experiments with color this past quarter. We did a color wheel by diving up a paper plate into 6 equal parts and coloring it with the colors of the rainbow. Next we tried two different ways to spin the color wheel super fast. As our eyes watch the color wheel spin, a magical thing happens - the color wheel looks WHITE! The wheel is spinning too fast for our eyes to discern the colors clearly and hence our brain signals to our eyes that we are seeing the absence of color - white!
In another session, I had the budding scientists think about leaves and change of season. Why do some leaves become yellow, orange, red and fall off the trees during autumn and winter seasons? Just like polar bears, some leaves go into "hibernation" mode for the winter and stop producing chlorophyll which makes them lose their green color and thus revealing their "true colors" of yellow, orange, and red. During the winter months there is also less sunlight and the effects of photosynthesis slows down. To illustrate this process, we used yellow, orange, and red crayons to color an entire sheet of paper. Then, we painted over the paper with a layer of green tempera paint. When it dried, we used toothpick to draw leaves or essentially picking off the green paint to reveal the beautiful yellow, orange, and red foliage inside.