Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pantyhose please?

HI All,

If you have any old knee high pantyhose that we could use for an upcoming project I would really appreciate it! I would like to have 20 pairs to cover all of my classes. We will be using them to learn about photosynthesis and the impact of changing abiotic factors on that process.

Here are a couple of images of chias from last year!

Week of 9/22

HI All,

It was great getting to meet so many Parents on open school night! I hope that you encourage them to stop by the blog every so often to see what we are up to!

On Monday we finished the last of our eco-sphere creations. Hopefully we balenced them appropriately with the right amount of producers, consumers, decomposers and abiotic factors. We'll checking in on them this week and journalling our observations about them.

We then went over our returned lab reports on the mealworm experiments. For the most part they were very good. There were a few issues about graphing and the elaboration ideas that we reviewed. Next we reviewed the HW on testable or researchable questions and caught up on a few cornell notes.

Wednesday and Thursday we conducted "mini-bio-blitz '08!"

We searched the campus for insects, plants, trees and other living things that were not already identified on our pre-existing bio-blitz list for 2007! We did pretty well and had a good time discovering the producers and consumers on our own property! We then used them in the Inspiration food web project being produced in tech class and discussed their role in the Scofield energy pyramid.

Classes on Friday (due to rain) stayed inside and produced powerpoint energy pyramids. Great job!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ms. McMInn in the Wilderness!

Click here to hear about a REAL adventure that Ms. McMInn (our 8th grade purple team science teacher) is having in the Tundra!

Drop her a comment on her blog as she researches the northern forest and tundra ecosystems!

Ask her some questions related to biotic/abiotic factors, food webs, and enrgy flow!

Mr. Forde :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm running for president!

Beach Clean up SUCCESS!

Hi All!

Twenty four students and three adults descended upon Cove Island Park from 10 am to 12 pm on Saturday and did a wonderful job improving the beach ecosystem by removing many pounds of dangerous debris and recording it for the International Beach clean-up effort. We were the largest group present at the event. Our group represented an large increase over last year and impressed our Sound Waters host. Here is a picture of our group! Great job!!

Thank you to Mr. Fallon (and his son) and Ms. Sileo and the following students:

8th graders: Anna D., Janet C., Francine B., Nicole C., Daniela R., Stephanie P., Sydney P., Jennifer Y., Gabor K., Nikita J., Harsha B. Deepali P., Alden P. , Erin M.

7th graders: Jineida H, Frank G., Brian D., Jack H., Sirish B., Enesa P., Michael I., Matthew I., Skyler I.

Week of 9/15

Hi All,

It was an eventful week at Scofield! On Monday we finished cleaning up our notebooks. On Tuesday and Wednesday we conducted out our population study (see last posting.) On Wednesday and Thursday we started learning more about food chains and webs and we discussed why we are solar powered. Did you know that we are all really solar powered?

Here are two images from our attempt to make an actual food web using yarn and playing the roles of producers and different level consumers.

On friday our first teams tried their hands at creating their own balanced ecosystems. They carefull measured and then included abiotic factors, producers and consumers. These are sealed up to make them air tight. Let's see how long they will survive! Hopefully they will do well! Here are some pictures from their efforts.

I created a mini-ecosystem of my own. It is a minnow, a water plant, some gravel and a snail. I sealed them up and will observe how long they will work as an ecosystem. What do you think will happen? Why do you feel that way? Respond to these question for extra-credit! :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Population study

Hi All,

I thought I would show some images from our mini-population study that we did overt he last few days. Student teams were given samples from plants on a section of our property and the they were challenged to do a population census or count. This reinforced the definitions of the words organism, population, community and ecosystem.

The students did a great job! Here are a few of the images of them at work.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Week of 9/8

It was another fun filled week in science class!

The students started off the week by preparing for our first lab report of the year (Due Monday 9/15) and by planning their own research by developing and investigable question about mealworms. They then spent the entire next class actually conducting their research! The diversity of projects was amazing. Teams were testing the response of mealworms to different tastes, sounds, lighting and temperature conditions and textures. Some even developed mazes to use with their worms! What an interesting set of inquiries!!

See the short slide show to see some of the teams in action.

Next we turned out attention to the nature of life? We pondered the question, "What does it mean to be alive?" We brainstormed what living things have on common. The students then met my "sewer lice" and "glue monsters". These demos were designed to show how something can appear alive even when it is not. I hope they weren't too creepy for some students! (ask your child about them) We then examined soil samples for signs of living (BIOTIC), non-living (ABIOTIC) and once living components.

Here are two pictures from that activity.

We ended the week by cleaning up our binders a bit and reviewing the "martian and the car" HW sheet and doing our last ALIVE activity where the students separated items into categories of "living", "not living", "once living: and "not sure". In some cases it wasn't s easy as it sounds. For example, a chair is non-living unless it is made of wood that was once living. :-)

It continues to be a blast working with the new 7th graders.

All the best. Mr F :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Week of 9/2

HI All,

The first week of science went very well. I learned more about my students and we started using our science process skills to get started in class.

On Tuesday we did the "Are you squeamish?" and "Are you a scientist?" inventories. We then analyzed the data as a group. This helped me learn more about the students better and produced some great questios about the upcoming school year in science class.

On Wednesday we looked at images and tried to describe them in great detail. This was a way of working on our observation and description skills. After mixing them up we then tried to match the team descriptions to the images.

On Thursday we worked with mealworms and observed them and created a notice/wonder t-charts. This allowed us to generate questions that could be reviewed to determine whether they were researchable or investigable. We discussed this at the end of class.

The following slide show shows the kids at work.

On Friday the students conducted a teacher designed investigation to determine if mealworms would be attracted to vinegar, sugar or salt solutions. It involved careful observation and data collection. We will discuss the results on Monday. I hope to have student generated investigations next week along with coverage the topics of "What s life?" and "Abiotic/Biotic factors".

I hope you enjoyed this week! It was a nice start.

Mr. Forde