Middle School Science

Check out what's happening in Pathfinder science!

8th Grade Human Body and the Rabbit

October 21, 2014 by Shane Boland Harrison | 0 comments

8th grade

The eighth graders have begun an intensive unit on the human body. The first systems to be studied are the muscular, skeletal and integumentary. In order to learn our muscles and bones we have begun to dress up skeletons. The students will be expected to identify 20 bones, 10 muscles and explain the functions of different tissues along with tendons and ligaments. This week’s lab found them dissecting chicken to get a hands-on experience. Please read their blogs about what they learned. These student blogs are located on the side of the front page of this blog.

You may have heard about the headless rabbit our class hung from a tree. We found the rabbit without a head along a trail and decided to hang it up and watch it decay. We witnessed lots of fly activity initially then discovered the soft body tissue had sloughed off in the heavy rain. Maggots were found decomposing the body on the ground. This lead to many discussions by all grades on campus such as, forensic science, why is smells, what killed the rabbit, and recycling of nutrients to mention just a few.

Cutting away the chicken's epithelial tissue.

Cutting away the chicken’s epithelial tissue.

Looking for the tendons.

Looking for the tendons.

Examining the muscle tissure

Examining the muscle tissue

Only at The Pathfinder School could science be this up close and personal with nature!

We see a lot of fly activity

We see a lot of fly activity

Maggots decomposing the flesh on the ground

Maggots decomposing the flesh on the ground

Only the skeleton remained after the strong rain.

Only the skeleton remained after the strong rain.

Not impressed with the smell but loved the maggots!

Not impressed with the smell but loved the maggots!

 

October 7, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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6th Grade Loves Worms

The sixth graders set up two jars layered with leaves, sand, dirt and gravel. Studying decomposers, they added worms to one jar and left the other empty to serve as a control. Our Kindergarten friends happened to wander by while on a leaf hunt and added some of their special colored leaves to the top. We were happy to show our worms to the Kindergarten and they were equally fascinated by how worms move. 

Worm Curiousity

Worm Curiosity

Collecting the substrate
Collecting the substrate

 

Kindergarten Friends

Kindergarten Friends

Worm tickles

Worm tickles

Layering the Jars

Layering the Jars

 

 

 

 

October 1, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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A Visit from an Entomologist

We were fortunate to have entomologist Nate Walton visit our classroom to help conduct a few experiments with the 8th graders. With Nate’s guidance the students set outside red and blue bowls filled with water. The students discovered after a few days that the red bowls held fewer pollinators, especially bees, who don’t see the color red as explained by Nate. The student’s then conclude that birds or other insects, which see different waves on the electromagnetic spectrum, must pollinate red flowers.  

Nate discussing insects with the 8th graders

Nate discussing insects with the 8th graders

We placed the traps outside

We placed the traps outside

 

Insects that were attracted to blue were more numerous.

Insects that were attracted to blue were more numerous.

Being an entomologist, Nate’s pets include insects he is studying. Here is Gabe inspecting a Bess Beatle.

Gabe and the Bess Beatle

The other experiment Nate brought was to see which lines termites follow on a piece of paper. After drawing many colored lines with different kinds of pens, the students noticed a pattern. The termites followed the lines created only by the RED Bic pens. Nate informed us that the ink contains a chemical that mimics the pheromone termites leave along the trail in order to be able to smell their way back to the nest.

Check out the video!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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Fall Experience Pictures

We were blessed with the best weather this year at Leelanau Outdoor Center for our annual Fall Experience! 

August 6, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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The End of 2013-2014 School Year at Pathfinder

In school May brought the Pathfinder talent showcase, which proved to be spectacular. The musicians, dancers, a tae kwon do performance and singers brought down the house especially the whole school performance of Let it go!

Eighth grade graduation was incredible in all ways with our students performing and stating what their Pathfinder education has meant to them. They are now walking into the light of high school and will be missed more than words can say! (Sorry Kacie – don’t know where you went – must mean you are going to stay:))

 

 

August 5, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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End of School Field Trip Fun!

The end of the school year 2013-2014 came fast and furious. Great things happened both in and out of the classroom. Outside of the classroom the 5th and 6th graders went on the Inland Seas Schoolship on a foggy day in May. They learned about the importance of stewardship regarding our Great Lakes and the watershed in which they live. The middle school traveled to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario Canada. While there they saw A Midsummer’s Night Dream and watched Don Quixote fight a windmill in Man of La Mancha as he dreamed the impossible dream. Other highlights of this trip were a visit to the costume warehouse where the students learned about the archives and were allowed to dress up in costumes worn in some of the past plays. A workshop on stage combat was a big hit as was all the fabulous food we experienced along the way. I have decided that pictures speak louder than my printed word so I am including some of the best. Enjoy!

April 24, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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Everyday is Earth Day at Pathfinder

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

                                                Aldo Leopold – A Sand County Almanac

I wrote this quote on the board on Earth Day. What struck me was that every grade was able to connect the content being studied that day to the Earth. One of the middle school through lines is:

What does it mean to be a good steward?

 Our 7th graders have been studying local and global water issues. They created some presentations using the software PowToons. Please take a moment to learn what we, as a society, are up against.

What’s In Our Water? by Noah

“Plastic Pollution in our Waters” by Lillian

“No Fracking” by Gabe

“Asian Carp” by Alex

“Africa’s Water Problems” by Marlee

“West Virginia Oil Spill” by Dakota

April 21, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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Outdoor Education – fire building

One of the first activities we did for our outdoor education MIAD was fire building. Each team was given a space on the beach and three matches to start their fire. Preparation included thoughts on safety and what makes a good fire. All groups were successful and were happy with the activity as the spring has remained unusually cool and the fire warmed us all nicely.

Fire dancer

Fire dancer

Down to our last match!

Down to our last match!

Noah and Tom building their base.

Noah and Tom building their base.

 

 

March 29, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
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Crazy Spring in the Hoop House

Last year we returned from spring break to a hoop house full of greens that had over wintered and were ready to eat. This year we had to shovel snow just to get in the door! Upon entering , we found only one of 5 boxes had survived the severe, record breaking cold of this memorable winter. The 6th and 7th graders cleaned out the dead plants and then planted a full box of arugula, 3 boxes of mixed greens and a few rows of peas. One student, a sixth grader who hasn’t had our plant unit, exclaimed that the pea seeds looked just like the peas we eat! I always marvel at how important hands on learning  is in order to make those connections! The sunshine is warming the house daily but we are still having extreme (-7F) cold mornings. It will be interesting to see what we find when we return from spring break.

We had to shovel the doorway just to get in!

We had to shovel the doorway just to get in!

Our seventh graders - I wonder what Alex is thinking with that smile?

Our seventh graders – I wonder what Alex is thinking with that smile?

Olivia and Anna planting arugula

Olivia and Anna planting arugula

Nick is watering the pea seeds

Nick is watering the pea seeds

Check out the video below!

Hoopin it up in the hoop house!