The Science School Yard: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Garden Measurement

We are busy with our third grade scientists. They are learning how to use the metric system in order for them to learn how to be geologists. Next week, they will be getting rocks to measure. Why not go outside and use the garden get a head start!

Using Technology In The Garden

We have just been awarded a $3500 grant to keep our garden growing. How exciting to be able to order an 8 x 12 greenhouse for our garden. We are writing another grant to try to secure Ipads for our students in our garden club to create videos using our new You Tube channel, TJschoolgardenclub.  We are using QR codes and teaching our students how to use Aurasma to link pictures to our You Tube channel. We will be displaying these codes in our school library around gardening and veggie books. We will be adding videos that the students create that tie in our garden harvest or harvest of the month facts. October is Farm to School Month. This Wednesday, we will be making a video to share some of the great things we are doing to celebrate our garden adventure.  See if you can connect to our first trial run.

Science News For Students

This is a great science site for upper elementary classrooms that a colleague shared with me. Each story tries to explain difficult concepts in easy to understand language. He used it with upper grades.  At the end of the article, they have "Power Words" (vocab) from the article. My enrichment group that I am working with use these  stories to practice summarizing and main idea.  

There is also a section for teachers. In the upper right of the main page is a link "For Educators." Click the link then scroll down and there will be a section on the right called "In the Classroom." Click the read all stories link under that and it groups stories by topic, so you can quickly find articles that relate to the current science unit of your class. This site is a great way to have classroom teachers find ways to add more science rich stories into their day. 

The direct link is:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Farm To School News

Thomas Jefferson Elementary, where I teach science to 385 K-5th graders just made the National Farm to School News. Check out the link to see the great things we are doing to plant magic through our school garden. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Camouflaged Cephalopods

The moving rock trick. Is it really a rock or is it an octopus? The amazing thing about this octopus is that even though this octopus is color blind, they still can change color. This animal can create color match patterns. Take a look at this cool video to see how these animals can camouflage right in front of your eyes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What We Did Our First Week... We Got Growing!

What a great first week back. The garden has provided us with such great learning opportunities. The kindergartners and first graders went to the garden to use their five senses. They saw tons of vegetables that the older students planted last year. The popcorn felt rough and smooth, pokey and soft. We smelled herbs that flavored gum such as peppermint and spearmint. We even smelled herbs that made pizza sauce. We heard everything from an airplane going by, to our classmates excited to see the pumpkin patch.  We even got to taste something new... a ground cherry. Most of the kids were very brave and tried this new fruit. The students described it as a cross between pineapple, orange, and I don't know "it just tastes good!"

Our second graders used the garden to be scientists. Scientists use tools to learn about the world around them. They used their senses and recorded what they saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted. They used hand lenses to investigate the garden even closer.

Third graders are learning about he metric system and how to measure. They used a metered tape measure to find out the length and width of different leaves in our garden. Did you know that some of the corn leaves were over 89 cm long? We noticed that the herbs in the garden have leaves that are small, but sure pack a flavor. Our bean leaves at the longest and widest often measure the same both in length and in width.

Forth and fifth graders went out to the garden to set up an experiment. The forth graders were learning about energy. Newton's third law states: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We used alka selzer tablets to test stored and kinetic energy. We saw how carbon dioxide gas was stored and needed to be released. The top popped off as we made observations. Fifth graders took the experiment one step farther. They are learning about variables. We tested a control, using 1/4 of a tablet with 1/2 a film canister of water. Then each group changed one thing. We concluded that the less water the better the thrust.

What a great first week. I can't wait to see what this year brings.