gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Designing and Testing Windmills

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3rd Graders continued their work as engineers by designing the most effective windmill to lift up washers in a cup.  Students used their knowledge they gained from the sail boat challenge to make a successful windmill design.  Students had to decide how many blades to use and what kind material and shape to use for their blade.  Many of the students were able to lift 15 – 2o washers by taking advantage of air resistance and adjusting the blades at the right angle.   Students discovered the value of frustration and failure as they made many adjustments to improve their design.

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Journey North Symbolic Monarch Migration

2nd graders are participating in the Journey North Symbolic Migration.  In both Spanish and science class students learned about the yearly monarch migration to the  mountains of Mexico.  Students created their own class butterfly and smaller individual butterflies and sent them to a school in Mexico.  Students in Mexico will house the butterflies in their classroom during the winter and return the butterflies to school’s across North America in the spring.  It’s an exciting project that integrates what they are learning in both Spanish and science.

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Making the Perfect Sail Design

 

3rd Grade Students having been studying the effects of wind and sail design in science class.  They will spend the next few classes making different designs of sails choosing the shape, material, and size of the sail. With this knowledge, the students will be able to build their own windmill that can lift washers off the ground. Students have experimented with different designs to see which variable help the boat travel farther with the help of a fan and a long fishing line track.

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Studying Local Watershed with LMC

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5th Graders were introduced to watersheds in the classroom today by the Lower Merion Conservancy. Students learned about our local watershed (Mill Creek, Shuylkill, and Delware) and created a model of a watershed using a homemade topographical map. Students will be monitoring the Mill Creek throughout the year at nearby Ashbridge Park.

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Our Second Grade Class was outside and found a toad hopping around the campus. What a great way to end the year with the second grade class.  It’s starting to feel like summer around here!

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Making Solar Ovens

 

3rd Graders are finishing the year with their last engineering project. Students designed a solar oven that was stuffed with insulation materials. Since our data indicated the shredded material held the heat the most, we collected materials around the room and shredded them before fitting them into the box.  We reused materials such as foam and styrofoam peanuts to put in our box.  Reusing materials rather than throwing them in the trash is more environmentally friendly.  The biggest motivation was the S’MORES we will be cooking in the ovens to celebrate a year of creative learning in science!

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2nd Grade Gears

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2nd Grade have been learning about gears and simple machines using the Lego WeDo kits in our maker space.  Student built a gator and spinning top and observed the different gears we put in the design.  We used a gear train that included a crown gear and learned how to program the gator to move its mouth and the spinner to spin at different speeds.

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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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Making a Foam Gnome!

4th Graders have been exploring the differences between mixtures and compounds in science.  Students observed a chemical reaction when they added an acid poly A to a base poly B.  The product created was polyurethane foam.  When they mixed the two liquids they created a new compound after observing air bubbles, heat, a change in state, and a change in color.  Students loved decorating their foam gnomes in the maker space at the end of class.

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