• Mystery Science

    Posted by Martha Wells on 3/16/2020 11:20:00 AM

    Hi Parents,

    We have used Mystery Science to support our Science Units.  We would like to suggest a few to use over the next month, if you would like.  https://mysteryscience.com

    This is the unit of study that Joelle and the kids were just about to finish

    Spaceship Earth

    Sun, Moon, Stars, & Planets

    New Units of Study

    Watery Planet

    Water Cycle & Earth's Systems

    Energizing Everything

    Energy, Motion, & Electricity

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  • Earth’s rotation

    Posted by Joelle Cowan on 3/6/2020 1:00:00 PM

    Our intrepid group is continuing forward with examining the varying levels of daylight on Earth through the year.

    The past few classes have delved into the theme of the Earth's rotation. We went outside this week to determine our understanding of the cardinal directions as related to the sun's observable position in the sky (assisted by a compass). We also talked about ancient Babylonians and their development of the understanding of how the stars show evidence of the Earth's movement through space over time. Yesterday, we talked further about shadows as evidence of the Earth's rotation.

    All-in-all, students are building up the layers of understanding that will hopefully lead to a complete picture of how the Earth moves in and through space and how that all contributes to our experience of varying levels of daylight through the year. 

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  • Day and Night

    Posted by Martha Wells on 2/14/2020 9:30:00 AM

    Lots of great discussion surrounding the scientific concepts of seasons and day and night on Bainbridge Island. Working in teams, students have been exploring these concepts through labs 

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  • Beginning of Astronomy and “Which one doesn’t belong”?

    Posted by Joelle Cowan on 2/7/2020 12:00:00 PM

    This week, we dove into our focus question "On Bainbridge Island, why are there more hours of daylight in the summer and fewer hours of daylight in the winter?" Students began with some exploratory experiences, using background knowledge, globes, flashlights, and a video contrasting the the winter and summer solstices. They then were encouraged to come up with their best hypotheses to answer our focus question. 

    Now that students have some tentative ideas about why there are different levels of daylight throughout the year, we will begin building their knowledge base, working toward a more complete understanding and scientific conclusion to our focus questions. It's going to take a while! 

    Also this week, we began our class time with a quick exercise called "Which One Doesn't Belong," which can be found at wodb.ca. The exercise is a great opportunity to stretch their reasoning and communication skills. The best part (or worst, according to some students!) is that there is neither a right nor wrong answer. It's all open to flexible thinking and communication.

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  • Finished properties of matter

    Posted by Joelle Cowan on 1/31/2020 2:15:00 PM

    Wow, what a January! 

    Despite all the snow day interruptions, we somehow managed to wrap up our study of the properties of matter this month.

    Students seemed to enjoy working through testing a variety of objects for 6 observable properties of matter. During a lab that spanned a couple of days, they measured mass, relative density, solubility, magnetism, conductivity, and physical state of matter and recorded all of their findings in their science notebooks. We also enjoyed a couple of quick quizzes to see what we knew and didn't know about matter.

    We finished it all up by making oobleck and recording some data about the natures of this non-Newtonian fluid. Have them explain oobleck to you; better yet, make some at home and enjoy the oddness of this matter!

    Our next unit will be Astronomy. We'll dive into that on Tuesday!

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  • More properties of matter and the scientific method

    Posted by Joelle Cowan on 12/20/2019 3:00:00 PM

    Our second try at the ice melt/conservation of matter lab was so much more successful! Just FYI, it takes almost 3 hours for an ice cube to melt all the way in our classroom. Fortunately, we were able to set up the lab during our morning circle then come back to a melted ice cube on our triple-beam balance at class time. The fully melted ice cube and the triple-beam balance's precision made the concepts so much more understandable. This experience also gave us an excellent demonstration of the way science goes sometimes!

    It also gave us a great opportunity to talk about the specific steps of the scientific method. We discussed and documented these steps in our science notebooks, and we'll keep referencing this documentation when we do future labs and discussions. Indeed, our discussion on Tuesday was a great example of the opportunities for reflection that crop up in every science conversation. Some great questions were asked, and we used them to form hypotheses and think through experiments that might prove those hypotheses.

    In addition, we talked about the way particles move and the degree to which they have mutual attraction in all of our three main states of matter. Then the students used their bodies to demonstrate the particle movement in the three states of matter - you might be lucky enough to have them demonstrate at home. Watch out if you ask them to show you "gas"!

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  • Properties of Matter

    Posted by Martha Wells on 12/10/2019 9:00:00 AM

    Last week, we began exploring our new unit - Properties of Matter. 

    After discussing the three (main) states of matter, we explored whether air has mass. We formed a hypothesis, took observations, then formed a conclusion based on the evidence, all based around balloons and a scale. Looks like air still has mass!

    Then, on Thursday we explored matter even further and examined whether a melted ice cube has the same mass as when it was solid ice. This lab was a bit more challenging, due to a variety of factors, so we will examine this one again! The experience gave us an excellent place to start when we next discuss the scientific method and how quality observations can be made and relied on. Next time, we'll use triple beam balances. 

    Despite our variable results with the ice melt lab, the students are doing some quality work! Below you'll see an example of the lab sheets that the students are using to help guide their explorations.

    ice melt lab

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  • Food chains galore!

    Posted by Martha Wells on 11/25/2019 3:00:00 PM

    For the last couple of weeks, Joelle has been leading the 4-5s on a whirl through the concept of food chains.

    First, we worked through a Mystery Science lesson on the big picture of what defines a food chain and ended with a fun card game to delve deeper into the connections. Then, we worked through a lesson on how nutrients are balanced in an ecosystem by producers, consumers, and decomposers. On Thursday, we started to work through a card game that asks students to make a balanced pond for a big fish to live in. It's a complicated game with many moving parts, but we are working through understanding it and will play it tomorrow! 

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  • Create a BIOME to add to Biosphere 2

    Posted by Martha Wells on 10/31/2019 8:50:00 AM

    We finished reading about Biosphere 2 with regard to Ecology and Human Impacts and for the past two weeks the students have been working in pairs designing their own BIOME to be added to Biosphere 2.   The students requested to make a slide show for their presentations.

    The assignment:

    Designing a new BIOME to add to Biosphere 2
    With your partner, brainstorm, design, draw and explain your new biome.  Remember, each person in the partnership must be an active member in the process.
    For your new BIOME, you must include:

    • Name of biome
    • Size with statistics 
    • Number of scientists living in the biome
    • Function of the biome
    • Descriptions of labs that will be performed in this biome
    • Needed materials, etc to be brought into the biome from the outside

    Next week, the students will be making their BIOME presentations.


    For Veterans Day, we will be studying the Code Talkers of WWII



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  • Science: Ecology and Human Impacts

    Posted by Martha Wells on 10/1/2019 3:00:00 PM

    We have been reading a very interesting booklet about Biosphere 2 in Tuscon, Arizona.   We have reviewed the Non-fiction structure to support learning about new concepts.  The students are learning how to use post-it notes to keep track of main ideas in each section.  Later, they will be using their notes to write a summary of what is a Biosphere. 

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