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.
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!
Our seventh graders – I wonder what Alex is thinking with that smile?
Gabe and Dakota using the forces of pull and push to clean the snow off the sides
The 7th graders invited their kindergarten buddies to our classroom to make ice cream! After mixing milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a small plastic bag and placing it in a larger zip lock bag the concoction was tossed back and forth while surrounded by a snow salt mixture. The groups took the temperature of the snow before adding salt and found it was 2 degrees after the salt was added the temperature dropped to -13! This was cold enough to lower the freezing point of the milk mixture. Sprinkles topped the ice cream and brought many smiles.
In 6th grade we are studying the characteristics of elements, compounds, and mixtures. I have a lab I call “Potions” where the students are able to explore how different substances react, dissolve and behave when mixed together. Inevitably they start to ask what we can mix that will blow up. My chemistry background is not very advanced but luckily Mr. Hansen has a degree in chemistry and worked in the field for years. The students asked him to come in and “blow something up”. After rifling through the lab cabinets he found some potassium permanganate and glycerin. The result was a chemical reaction, which produced a spectacular fire!
Thank you Mr. Hansen!
Wowed 6th graders
Zoe Sobeck, an alum, was visiting and was able to write out the formula for the chemical reaction! Thanks for your skills Zoe:)
The 6th graders recently performed the traditional Bubble gum experiment. The question they were challenged to answer was “ Will the mass of Bubbalicious bubble gum increase or decrease over time chewed?” It is always evenly divided over those who predict increase due to spit or decrease due to flavor loss. The students collaborate in groups as to how they will find out the answer to the question, what data they will need to collect and record and who can chew gum (unfortunately those with braces are automatically out). Because we have also studied how to find the volume of irregular objects the students use graduated cylinders and place the chewed gum in them and noting water displacement to find the volume. Density is then calculated. Overall this is a disgusting FUN experiment where big concepts are learned and remembered for life! For those inquiring minds the answer is the mass of the gum decreases by 70% as the SUGAR dissolves. This is enough to make anyone’s teeth ache!
Cassidy and Emlin finding the volume of chewed gum – yuk!
Anna and NIck recording data for the chewed gum.
Lauren is writing down qualitative and quantitive data as the others observe the gum.
Our annual Science Expo was a great success! The 6th grade wax museum students came alive as they recited their scientific autobiographies. The 7th graders were on hand to explain the projects they did following our experimental design model. And once again the 8th graders gave multiple rides on their school made hovercrafts. Many alumni, happy to come back to Pathfinder for science fun, staffed the family science table, complete with goop, wacky submarines, hoop airplanes and balancing sticks. This is always a special night that leaves me marveling at my students and their creative brains.
Cassidy portraying Jane Goodall with her awesome hand painted poster!
Macy as Temple Grandin explaining her humane inventions for animals.
Emma really dressed the part to explain the life of the Father of Printing..
Loads of goop, hoop gliders, balancing sticks and penny boats were made, with the help of alumni, all in the name of science!
The knitting MIAD (Multiple Intelligence Arts Domain) has been stitching up a storm. With the help of Bobbie Stevens, an alumni parent and former employee, and music teacher Lynne Tobin the girls have learned how to knit, purl and pick up dropped stitches :). Our plan is to make a blanket for our school’s upcoming fundraiser. Each student is knitting a square.
Ms. Tobin and Lily conferring.
Olivia proudly wearing the headband she made in class!
Using photo – sensitive paper the 6th graders created Valentines for their sweethearts. The intended beloved included parents, a dog, a chicken and an A+ test. After choosing objects to place on the photo paper to block the UV rays from the sun they stopped the chemical reaction by dipping the paper in water. Then using their physics vocabulary words they wrote poems to go along with the photos creations.
A poem to a mom and a poem to a dog. Can you guess which is which?
To a special mom who anchors LOVE despite the weight!
During our unit on digestion the 8th graders literally burned calories. By lighting a peanut, piece of popcorn, and a potato chip on fire the students observed how much energy was stored in each food item. Homemade calorimeters were used. These cans were filled with water and the temperature change was noted before and after the burning of the food source along with the mass of the item. The students were amazed at how long the peanut burned. They realized that when we eat food, our bodies convert the stored energy, known as calories, to chemical energy, thereby allowing us to do work. After plugging our data into the formula we were able to compare how close we came to what the package said the calorie content was per serving. Some values were close while others not so much. Percent error was then calculated and questions asked.
Billy is checking how the temperature of the water is changing as the peanut burns.
Zach lighting a food item
An additional lesson was the proper way to strike a match. Many students had never done this before!