In the second session of the biomes STEM lesson for 3rd graders, we needed to add consumers into our biodomes. (All teams already have thriving plants (producers) growing in their biodomes - and now we can put some critters into the biodome as our consumers!) The 3rd graders enjoyed some time outside in the garden and fields searching for creepy crawlies and all kinds of bugs to feast on their bean plants. Our ecosystem is almost complete - next step would be the "decomposers."
Our 2nd grade STRETCH class also learned about how to harness the power of wind and use wind energy to make work easier for our daily lives. We explored making windmills out of different material, working with waterwheels, and making a free standing windmill to wind up a paper clip. We discussed how a concept as easy as this was used to help people pick up heavy things such as fetching water from a well. This group of students are super smart and fast in understanding the concept and bringing it to life!
The 5th grade STRETCH class took the initial concept they learned from windmills to making a waterwheel. They designed the shape of their fins made from recycled water bottles hot glue gunned onto a spool. We then made a base for the wheel to cycle out the water. In just a short session we had many successful waterwheels up and running!
The 5th grade STRETCH class had their first experiment exploring wind power and building the most effective windmills. We tested 3 types of material: construction paper, printer paper, and card-stock paper. Each team built 3 types of windmill and tested them. We concluded that card-stock definitely made the strongest sail. We will be applying this theory in the next segment of water wheels.
For our 3rd grade STEM class, we kicked off the year with a segment on the different biomes around the world and exploring our own unique biome of the tripical rainforest in which we are all so lucky to live in! The land mass of the Earth can be divided into these major biomes: tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, temperate grassland (steppe), Mediterranean, desert, savanna, and tropical rain forest. The class discussed how certain animals and plants have adapted to thrive in each biome - why is the arctic fox white? Why is the trunk of a cactus green? We learned that animals and plants alike have adapted and learned to conserve their energy and need for water according to the biomes that they live in. For example, cacti have green trunks and no leaves because they have transferred the work of photosynthesis to their trunks/stems - therefore, they are much more efficient at converting sunlight to energy and producing their own food.
We also discussed the drastic difference between a biome like the tundra where there is a layer of permafrost year round and the landscape is completely treeless to a temperate deciduous forest where are are huge pops of color and 4 very distinct seasons. We explored the wide varying range in rainfall from the dessert (less than 1" per year) to the tropical rain forest (avg. 180" per year). We are super lucky to live in the most diverse, rich and lush biome - home to the most number of species of animals and plants! Each 3rd grade team made biodomes so they can explore the concept of a self sustaining ecosystem. Check out the photos below:
We blasted off the year with a segment on rockets for the 5th grade STEM class! A rocket in its simplest form is a chamber enclosing a gas under pressure. A small opening at one end of the chamber allows the gas to escape, and in doing so provides a thrust that propels the rocket in the opposite direction. We learned about the importance of Newton's 3 laws of motion in building a successful rocket and discussed the principles of gravity and thrust. Then we examined some important tricks in making a successful rocket: the shape of the fins, the length of the chamber, the tip of the nose, 3 fins or 4 fins, how to minimize drag, and explored the design of the launcher and launch tube. We also explored the different ways in which we can make a rocket whether it's through physics or via chemical reaction.
For our first rocket experiment, we built a simple but effective rocket out of a paper tube, foam fins, and an earplug for the tip of the nose. Our homemade launcher was fashioned from an old kite pump with a launch tube made out of straw and a stand made from a configuration of small PVC pipes. Take a look below!
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: