Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Philadelphia Science Festival is a brand new two-week, community-wide celebration of science that will take place annually in April, featuring lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for Philadelphians of all ages. Our own Science NIght will take place right in the middle of this wonderful new event! Check it out at http://www.philasciencefestival.org/
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
As part of our study of air, the 1st grade did some experimentation with the effects of air pressure. First, we tested just how much pressure we could apply to a wall when standing still, walking, and then running. It's a lot harder to press hard on a wall when you are running alongside of it! That's just like air pressure. The faster the air is moving, the lower the pressure. Next, we figured out how to blow up giant wind bags using that same concept. Them it was back to the classroom for more experimentation. Watch for the results of all of our hard work at Science Night in April!
3rd Grade students took advantage of the snow-covered ground to do some animal tracking in Environmental Studies. First, we looked at tracks and scat on the Smartboard before venturing out into the "wilds" of the AFS campus. We discovered many tracks and used measurements and field guides to identify our findings. We found tracks leading to animals homes, and even discovered what we thought was a fox den! It was a very satisfying adventure-filled afternoon in Environmental Studies!
5th Grade students are busy planning and building in preparation for the Egg Drop Challenge. Teams of students will build a container that will need to protect a raw egg from a 34 ft. drop. The designs are really creative this year! Watch for more photos as the students continue to make progress with this project....
Thursday, January 6, 2011
One of the most effective way to model moon phases in a classroom is to use "Moonpops". As the students turn in a circle they can observe the moon phases on the lollipop-like sphere, which is half white and half black. A spot on one wall is designated the sun, the student is the earth and the "pop" is the moon. As the student turns in a circle, keeping the "lit" part of the pop towards the sun, it's easy to see the changing moon phases. Students then created Moon Journals in which they will record their observations for a complete cycle.
Starting January 29th, be sure to check out the new Academy of Natural Sciences exhibit, Bizarre Beasts, Past and Present. It promises to take you on a journey back in time to experience firsthand some of the strangest creatures ever to inhabit the earth. This exhibit explores the forces that cause life to change over time and adapt to different environments. It is sure to be an exhibit that you don't want to miss!
What happens when you mix a hydrophilic polymer with water?? Kindergartners learned the answer to this in the Alligator Polymer Chemistry experiment. The alligators grew from about 10 cm to about 30 cm! We also grew Water Jelly Crystals to illustrate the same principle.
Remember back to the beginning of this experiment? 3rd grade students planted rice from 2009 and 2010 seeds and planted half in peat pellets and half in pots with soil. The conclusion of this experiment was interesting. First, as most students hypothesized, the 2010 seeds did better that the 2009 seeds, most likely because they were "fresher". The pots with soil did a LOT better than the peat pellets. The students concluded that this was because the seeds had more room to germinate in the pots.