Middle School Science

Check out what's happening in Pathfinder science!

October 26, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison
3 Comments

It May be Gross but they are Learning!

In the last few years I have acquired or found dead animals. There have been two pig’s heads, a big salmon, a headless rabbit and this year a chicken. We hang these bodies in a tree down near the beach. Some students are disturbed by this but most are fascinated. Last year, students found a headless rabbit and we learned that some owls decapitate their prey and feast only on the brain! The bodies then go through the process of decomposition. Flies land and lay eggs that hatch into maggots, which feed on the body. Insects can be seen crawling all over and the smell of bacteria off gassing is evident. This is the natural nutrient cycle. It is difficult for students to understand how all of the elements found in them have been here since the beginning of time and are merely recycled. When we went to hang the chicken I had one student ask “What happened to the rabbit?” Such a great question to start a great conversation!

The chicken pictured here was donated by Mr. Matt who is growing meat chickens and had one die. This is a good science experiment from which many students will learn a lot about decomposition and the nature of nutrient recycling. And besides it is Halloween!

Chicken decomposition!

Chicken decomposition!

May 10, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison
0 comments

Pathfinder April 2015

I have been a bit out of commission due to a fractured knee. I want to thank all of my students and colleagues for their kindness and patience as I work to negotiate my way around on crutches.

I am embedding a video of pictures from April using PhotoPeach. I apologize to the mobile users who may not be able to view it.

Enjoy!

Pathfinder April 2015 on PhotoPeach  

May 3, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison
0 comments

Global Water Issues

The 7th Grade class researched global water issues and created a PowToon to demonstrate their understanding. If you would like to read a description of their project check out their blogs connected to this page. Enjoy!

Arie’s

Macy’s 

 Jolie’s

Cassidy’s

Olivia’s

Anna’s

Emlin’s

Lauren’s

February 2, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison
0 comments

Another Week of Deep Learning in Pathfinder Science!

In 6th grade we are learning about how scientists classify matter. We performed the amazing Bubblelcious Bubble Gum experiment where students predict whether the mass of chewing gum will increase or decrease over time chewed. The students mass the gum over set periods of time while chewing it. It is a disgusting experiment but the student’s never forget! They also realize just how much sugar is added to the gum and how quickly it dissolves.

Measuring the mass of chewed gum!

Measuring the mass of chewed gum!

Volume of the gum

Volume of the gum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The concepts of density and buoyancy were also explored in an activity called “Dunkin for Density” The students are challenged to get a film canister to sink, one to float and one to hang in the middle of an aquarium. Building on the formula Density = mass/volume the students calculate the density after finding the mass and volume of film canisters with various amounts of pennies enclosed in them. In order to achieve neutral buoyancy, density has to equal 1. Some students realize they need to make the mass equal to the volume and approach the problem-using math versus trial and error.

So Close!

So Close!

     

Checking volume

Checking volume

 

Hopeful this will be the one!

Hopeful this will be the one!

 

Seventh graders are studying bacteria and viruses. In order to appreciate the good bacteria in our lives we made yogurt. The students were challenged to come up with an experiment that proves the bacteria in the yogurt use the lactose in the milk. Students brought in soymilk, lactose free milk, grape juice and goat milk. You can read about their experiments and the results on their blogs, which are attached to this blog.

Yogurt experiment

Yogurt experiment

Scalding the milk

Scalding the milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking the recipe

Checking the recipe

It tastes marvelous!

It tastes marvelous!

 

Grape juice yogurt!

Grape juice yogurt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight graders finished up their unit on the nervous system. During this unit I have each student research a street drug to find out how it affects the brain. I then invite a fellow teacher to come in and talk about his brother’s death from a heroin overdose at the age of 20. It is very powerful as he describes his brother and everything he has missed in his life. Many tears are shed and the students come away with a very real example of the devastation drugs can do to a family.

 

 

November 12, 2014
by Shane Boland Harrison
0 comments

Check out our student blogs!

The 7th and 8th graders have been actively blogging about our Pathfinder science class and other school activities. Please be sure to check out what is happening in their classes by clicking on the link to their blogs located along the right side of this front page. Be sure to leave a comment and let them know what you think! Thanks

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