gator science

active adventures in lower school science

LowerSchool MakerSpace

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Lower School students  have been enjoying the makerspace after school.  Some projects include making a homemade speaker for an Iphone, a lighted zipline made of cardboard, a homemade flashlight, a magnetic fishing carnival game, and playing with the ollie.

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littleBits Band

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fifth graders finished the year sharing their innovation projects. The picture above shows a littleBits band that includes a synth guitar, microphone, and drum set.  This project combined multiple creations into one.  What a great way to end a year of Innovation Days!

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Classifying Insect Orders

5th Grade students have been visiting Ashbridge Park each week during the month of May to work on their insect field guide.  The project is part of their Greek Laurel, as all the orders of insects have scientific names that come from Greek words.  Coleoptera is the most common order of insect  (meaning “sheath wings”) and includes all beetles. Students were able to catch the insects with our field nets and observe them in a container.  They described important field marks and made detailed sketches in their field guides.  It’s a great way to end our year long stream study of the Mill Creek.

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5th Grade Super Surber Sample

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5th Graders have spent the year studying the health of the Mill Creek in nearby Ashbridge Park.  This week, students collected three surper samples of  macroinvertebrates found in the stream.  During our day out at the stream we found a large diversity of macroinvertebrates that included midges, caddisflies, crane flies, mayflies, scuds, and an isopod. We brought the three samples back to the classroom and counted all the different types of macroinvertebrates found in our samples.  By doing this study we will be able to find the mathmatical value that indicates the health of the stream.  Thanks to Tom and Chelsea from Lower Merion Conservancy in Gladwyne for helping us complete this project.

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5th Grade Stream Study finds drop in Chloride Levels

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During a week of heavy rains, the fifth graders tested the stream for chlorides and found a significant drop in the levels measured after snowstorms in January and February.   The rain caused a rise in the water level.  Water was traveling quickly and causing lots of white caps over the rocks.   The lower levels of chloride in the water is beneficial to the many creatures living in the stream.

January Blizzard Chloride Level – 600 g/mL

February Snow – 240 g/ mL

March 14 Chloride Level – 120 g/mL

 

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Stream Study after the January Blizzard

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5th Grade students tested the Mill Creek to see if there was any changes due to the recent blizzard last weekend.  We gathered the sample of water near Ashbridge Park by the side of the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work parking lot.   The clear stream was moving faster and seemed higher than the last time we visited the stream a few months ago.  We recorded the following data after bringing the water back to the classroom.

air temp – 5 C   water temp – 3 C

current weather – cloudy skies

Nitrate – 2 ppm

pH – 7.5

Chloride – 600 mg/L

Dissolved Oxygen – 7 ppm

 

We found the chloride level to be particularly high for the stream.  This can be explained by all the salt that accumulated in the stream after the winter storm.  All the salt from the roads enters the watershed into our local streams.  Looking forward to measuring data for the month of February – wonder if we’ll get more snow?

 

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Season of Lights

During Innovation Day this week the fifth grade students were working on designing a paper circuit using cardboard, copper tape, and a 3v battery. Students chose holiday themes, sports themes, and animal themes to celebrate their successful circuit.

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Students were busy in our Maker Space Club after school today at Shipley. We were able to do some tinkering by tearing apart some computer laptops, a VCR, cameras, a computer mouse, and an electric pencil sharpener. Students were amazed by the electronic circuitry and metal parts that made up the machinery. Some students saved materials to be reused and two of our students wanted to complete an art project with some of the parts of the computer.  Can’t wait till next week in our Maker Space!

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Testing the Xpult

5th Graders have been working hard using the Xpult in December. Students are collecting data by testing 4 different variables; the launch angle, number of rubber bands, the pull back angle, and the kind of ping pong ball.  After graphing the data and doing the testing in the science room and maker space, students will take the Xpult challenge and land a ping pong ball 10 straight times into a bucket in the center of the room. What a great way to study kinetic energy, potential energy, and engineering.  Students are looking forward to the competitions in the next few weeks.

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Harvesting Classroom Cherry Tomatoes for the Dining Hall

Students have been caring for different garden vegetables in the classroom aquaponics system.  The Tilapia fish at the bottom of the system help supply nutrients to lettuce, basil, cherry tomatoes, and eggplants.  We harvested the cherry tomatoes today and served them in the lower school dining hall salad bar.

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