ACChaos (Austin Community College Hands-on School) came to visit. This organization consisted of six ACC physic professors who truly interacted well with the fifth graders. They visited our class and brought with them over 70 mini labs. The labs included results and conclusions as well. Besides being fun, these activities helped students learn in a way that will stick with them the rest of their lives. ACChaos did an outstanding job of working with students, teaching and creating enthusiasm for science. Avery exclaimed, "i thought that that day in science was the best day ever. Everything was so cool, and it was a really fun way to learn new things.'' Makenzie explained, " I thought that the hands-on school was really fun and opened a whole new world into science for the 5th graders. I honestly learned so much and got to see so many new things that I had never heard of, like a rock that floats in the water, no trick just plain old science. I hope the fourth graders next year get to enjoy a science year with my favorite teacher Mr. Matus." Chelsea said, " It was so very cool to see the science people come by. I thought that science was very lame at first but now I know that science can be used for mysteries and I love mysteries ."
Students got to play cards games to represent a food chain or food web. Each card contained either a consumer, producer or decomposer. The card also indicated where the fit into the food chain. The owl, cat and lady bug were the tops of our food chains. Of course all of the producers began the process. A spin was placed on varies card games like Gin Rummy, War and Go Fish. Students got to make their own card game as well. These card games help reinforce the concept of energy flowing from one organism to the other and that the sun was where the energy first came. CJ stated, "It was interesting that we could learn about the food chain playing a really fun card game, it was better than Go Fish!" "I really liked this game because it was a fun way to practice for a test.
Students made their own solar stills using two different size cups, plants and plastic wrap. They understood that the most important item we needed to make the water cycle happen was the sun. After a few minutes with sun shining on the stills, we could see condensation. To help reenforce, the four steps of the water cycle. Lauren stated, "Solar Stills are a great way to see the water cycle happen!" "Solar stills is a really cool way to see a different way to make fresh water", exclaimed Emily.
Students acted out a scene from an awards show like the Oscars. This ceremony was called the Solars. The different parts of the water cycle were represented and discussed why they were important to the water cycle and why they should win the Solar Award. The Sun was in charge of giving the awards because the Sun is the reason there is a water cycle. Without the Sun, there would not be enough energy to create and continue the water cycle. Pablo stated, "The At The Solars play was very interesting with water cycle and how it works!" " I thought that At The Solars was exiting, fun, and helpful in our learning about Earth's water cycle," exclaimed Emily.
Students got to see the water cycle happen right in front of their eyes. A pot of water was placed on a burner. The burner represented the sun. Students quickly understood that without the sun, there would not be a water cycle. The heat made the water boil and change into steam or water vapor. The steam represented evaporation. An aluminum tray filled with ice cubes was directed over the steam. The ice cubes represented the cold temperature of the atmosphere. Water droplets formed on the bottom of the tray introducing condensation. Students understood the concept of warm meeting cold which creates water droplets. Once enough condensation was created, the droplets fell because of gravity and precipitation was formed. Finally, a tray on the table collected puddles of water...accumulation. Camille replied, " I think it was very cool and the fifth graders next year will like it too!" Nico stated, "The water cycle demo was well thought out, but it could have used more details for accumulation like a "river" flowing back into the steam pot. Overall, it was the best science demo I have seen in a long time."
In groups, fifth graders observed a data table with high and low temperatures and amounts of precipitation from 3 cities: Anchorage, AK, Houston, TX and Cincinnati, OH. The given information was about the climate. Groups had to answer a series of questions about current weather based on their data and apply it. They also had to compare the responses with the other regions. Kate stated, "In Comparing Climates, I liked when we made up the weather forecast for three days in a certain month. I had to base the forecast off of the monthly climate given." "Comparing climate was really entertaining. I enjoyed writing in my own weather diary. It actually was much more fun that I anticipated it to be." Nishtha admitted.
Students used given data about the heights of tides to created a line graph. They plot points from 4 locations: Bar Harbor, MA, Monterey, CA, Virginia Beach, VA and Galveston, TX. They noticed that the moon effected the tides further north because it is closer to the moon. They also, realized that the highest tides were during the full moon for the same reason. Kate said, "I really liked Tide Heights, it was fun to compare the higher tides right next to the lower tides. I noticed that when it was a full moon the tides got higher and when it was a new moon the tides got lower." The students also got to work with fourth graders to learn about the moon's effect on the Earth and its water. "I think that Tide Heights was a great experience for Mrs. Grossimon's class and our class. I had a lot of fun talking with a younger friend about the differences in the height of tides, and charting it with colorful colors. It just made the project seem a hold lot brighter!" Nishtha commented. Working with the younger grade, let the fifth graders guide others to learning as well as gave them the confidence in knowing they understood the topic of the moon's effect on the Earth.
Students learn the difference between climate and weather. Basically, climate is the temperature, amount of precipitation, wind speed, etc. over a period of time in a certain region. Weather is what is happening now in regards to temperature, precipitation, windy speed, etc. Students charted the current temperature and precipitation for Austin over a span of time and graphted it. They also visited a website to discover information about Austin's climate for the days that they observed the weather. This helped them compare and contrast weather and climate for Austin. Cole exclaimed, "This was cool to see how the temperature is different from the average". "The Climate Watch helped me understand climate much better!" Lexi explained. Austin chatted "I thought Climate Watch was cool because we got to track all the weather just like meteorologists".
Science students learned how to read a weather map. They also watched different forecasts about the weather from the local meteorologists. They learn about warm fronts (red lines with humps), cold fronts (blue lines with points), highs (pretty or little weather) and lows (possible bad weather). Bear announced, "I liked this, it was fun how we got to know how cold it was in certain areas or raining in areas. It was just really cool." Jan Jadric also said, "I think the weather map was cool and interesting". Students were able to read a weather map, interpret the symbols and predict what was going to happen in certain areas after time.
Students tracked the phases of the moon from various websites. At certain times during the day, they were even able to see the moon during the day. "I thought the moon phases were very decorated with information the help us understand the moon," stated Daniel. Cade thought that the moon phases were "fun and also helpful in our learning about the moon and the different types of phases and how it revolves around the earth." Students were able to follow a pattern and predict about when the next full, quarter or new moon was going to occur.
I hope you enjoy learning how the garden changes throughout the school year.