Thursday, July 30, 2009

So......I have decided that blogging isn't for me. I really thought all the quirks were out of my blogging at home after the first weeks of class. But now that I went to school and was working on my paper (different computer) and I realized that none of my posts (besides Monday- the one I did while I was in Vermillion) were on the blog. Ugh...I don't understand! I think it just must be my connection at my apartment. Frustrating! But I will try to do a summary of what I had written in the blogs. This may be interesting.....

Tuesday was a fun day. I really enjoyed Darwin's demonstration with the cup trick and soaking up the water. I think students would be very enthused by this. I was really enjoyed the levers lab. I think this is a great way for students to work with different types of levers and calculating mechanical advantages. Just looking at a book and its pictures students may be a little confused where the pivot point is, but when they can play around with them hands on, they just to experience it instead of trying to imagine it. I really could see myself doing this lab with some variations. As for the afternoon, I was very thankful for the time Brenda and I had to work on our project. It was a little frustrating, but it all ended up ok.

Again the demonstrations were great. I LOVE Darla's card lesson on accuracy and precision. This seems a little difficult for the students to remember the terms but I like the way Darla presents them in a fun way. I hope to do this next year. It was neat watching the crystals grow. Also, the afternoon session was filled with great labs. I like the thermometer lab and letting students explore the different efficiencies between the various ones that were made. Then burning food was also very "cool". I think it is a great way to cover laws of conservation of energy and also mass. It is a great way to show converting food energy and heat energy.

I thought John's balloon demo was very fun. I think I would just vary it to taking a balloon outside. But the way he presented it is way more exciting! The food demo was also very fun and informative. Today was full of plenty of explosions, which is also fun. I don't know if I would be brave enough to have any of these demos. But I do think it is very important to have conversations about the dangers of some household products, so maybe even watching movies on explosions over youtube might help get some points across. None-the-less they need to be exposed to this one way or another. Finally to wrap up the day, making wind generators was a great way to explore different variations in a popular energy source.

Again sorry about this.....I thought it was working, but I guess I was wrong.

Thank you Miles, Kathy, and Paul for everything. I really enjoyed the two weeks of class and am excited about the new ideas that I have obtained!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thursday and Friday--overdue

Well, we finished the week with some exciting stuff. There are a few of the ideas that I will use that we went through on Thursday. The presentations on Friday were good. I think these classes are soooo good because of not just the content but also the conversations that we have with other teachers. As a presentation or demo was finished, you would here comments from others about different techniques or extensions that the teacher does in their classroom, or they have seen before. Getting other teacher's websites was also good as the ideas were great too. Hope all of you enjoy the rest of your summer and have a fantastic school year.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thanks to all the teachers in this workshop. I learned so much this week just in the conversations I had with each of you. The demos each of you did were fantastic. Thanks so much to Paul, Cathy and Miles for all your efforts in making this workshop a success.
Everyone's willingness to share and learn was inspiring!
Have a great summer everyone1
Darla VG

Thank you All for a Great Week!

Thanks to Miles for his inspiration (and perspiration), great sense of humor and Paul for his great teaching ideas, help and wonderful all of you for sharing your great talents, experience and teaching ideas. I will post your presentation materials and pictures of this last week, shortly. Have a great rest of the summer and school year and take care of yourselves!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I apologize for not posting regular this week. I have enjoyed meeting everyone and our activities. My favorite activity was the crystals lab we participated in yesterday. There are kits that you can buy at Hobby Lobby and catalogs that have crystals you can grow on rocks in the classroom. I thought this crystal lab could be used for many different activities and enjoyed listening to everyones suggestions.
As I watch and participate in the labs, I reflect on how these labs could be used in the resource room. I would like to teach an overview of material first, before the material is learned in the general education setting. After the students have a bit of knowledge about the subject matter, teach them a lab to present to the general education students about the upcoming subject matter (such as plate tectonics, or mixing solution for the crystals). After the lab the students would continue to participate in the inclusion classroom but would have knowledge of the subject matter already. I believe in presenting and teaching or repeating classroom instruction if at all possible.
I realize that some students would be reluctant to do this lab teaching but I think this could be successful with a good co-teaching relationship with the science teacher.
I also think that the special education teacher could prepare and teach certain labs and material but this information is probably for another class and also depends on the teachers and relationships involved.

As I read through some of the information on Niclola Tesla, I remembered a video I had at Woodfield. If I remember correctly, the video was called, 'Tesla, Master of Lightning'. The video wasn't the most interesting video for at risk students but if I showed this video again, I could pull bits and pieces from it. Nikola Tesla designed the Tesla Coil. This coil is an extremely high voltage transformer. The reason that the Tesla Coil is unique is because it creates powerful electrical fields.

"Snack Tectonics"

The demonstration on plate tectonics that I presented this morning is called "Snack Tectonics". I love using this with students. At Woodfield Center, we had a weather fair and one of the girls used this demonstration with her subject of plate tectonics.

Here are links to this activity. I hope you and other teachers use it and enjoy it!

This link is a question page to the activity.

Thursday's Good Ideas

This morning illustrated why doing or demonstrating something has so much more impact than reading about it. This results in actions taken. I now have a terrific lab for endo/exothermic reactions, plus a sense of being able to explain the chemistry behind the reactions. Blowing corks out of bottles would be an excellent supplement when the four stroke engine is explained. The most enjoyable part of the day is realizing the summary project is done! I really enjoyed collaborating with Gus; PLUS his twelve words per minute typing skills far exceeded my four words.
It takes but one good new idea to make a day worthwhile. Today was highly profitable.
It was a good day today. I really enjoyed watching all the explosions this morning. I feel confident that I could do one of these now that you showed us how. The endothermic/exothermic labs were good and my special ed kids could actually feel the differences in the beakers so that would work with them. They wouldn't know the chemical equations but I could try and explain the way the heat moves so they could understand. I liked the way the heat was termed either downhill or uphill, that was understandable.
This afternoon when we built the wind generators, it was good to make it a contest. We really tried to win, and learned a lot from the other teams. I think kids try harder when something is made into a competition. All of the lessons we learned today would have to be toned down for my special ed kids but they are certainly worth trying. I will also pass on several ideas to our physical science teacher . I am still enjoying doing all the demos and experiments. Hands on is always good.

Thursty Thirsday's Real Blog

Needless to say Thirsty Thursday was a real blast. This morning we had some excellent demos. Plate tectonics and the giant water bottle explosion. Was a super way to some positive movement through the days activities. We did an exothermic and two endothermic reactions to be followed by a couple small explosions. By blowing these things up it created a windy environment for this afternoon's lab working with the mini wind generators. It got very competitive worse than the kids. It was interesting and fun to see the creativity and technology cross for end products. I already have a wind energy unit planned for next year and am already looking forward to it. I have done the exothermic and endothermic reactions in the past and still plan on doing them. I do tend to steer away from some of the mini explosions with ethanol for personal reasons but do have the kids do a unit on the making and testing of bio diesel over three 90 minute block class periods. They love this lab because many are from farm backgrounds and want to test and compared. We have gotten as high as 90% purity based on acetate chromatography. We do burn it but it doesn't explode. What a great day and week. Thanks to all the staff and students. Darwin

Dr. Koppang Igniting Ethanol


Each day has been filled with good information that we can use in our classrooms this year, and today was no exception. Angie's demo my Jr.High students will love! I liked John's also and thought it was great that the balloon not only got smaller but then expanded when it warmed up again. I was glad it didn't break, for my kids this would be a good thing. The endo- and exothermic reactions was great and I can use that for the PS students. The exploding things I may have to hold off on. Yes, I agree they need to know how dangerous some of the normal, household substances can be, but on the other hand, given the tendencies of my students, I'm not comfortable adding to that part of their knowledge. It would really have to depend on the class. The wind energy is something I am very interested in. We had a problem with our cork today, so I might try this with some floral foam. That should be light weight enough but still be strong enough to hold the blades.
Day 3 and 4

Day 3 am: chemical microscopy. I can extent the lab on saturated solutions to include the viewing the crystals being formed. Until now, I let the solution dissolve and "reclaim" the salt that is left behind and forms.
I used my laser pointer with the polarizing filters and got some interesting results. The filters attenuated the light to the point where it blocked it. Later when we had the prisms I shown the laser through them. To my surprise you can see the beam IN the material being refracted more distinctly than with white light. With the class doing it you would have to caution students on use of the light, and monitor closely.
Day 3 pm: Thermometers and calories: What eye-openers! It was amazing to see the amount of oil dripping from the Cheetos. I would definitely make certain I had more mature students helping with this one because of their (hopefully) improved experience and judgement dealing with fire. Have it take place in the HS lab where they expect to see smoke rolling from once in a while. My room has carpeting... a concern. I generally avoid open flames in that room. A good activity to use with a health or physical science unit.
Day 4 am: The Calcium Chloride and what it does to an icy slurry would more clearly show an endothermic reaction than the vinegar/baking soda I do now, although the V/BS reaction is more exciting. Actually understood the balancing of a chemical equation, thanks for helping me understand it, John.
Day 4 pm: I really appreciate that the instructors are allowing us the freedom to leave when we feel we have completed as much as we can at location. Blogging from the quiet of our home office is relaxing and more time can be given to reflection. Thanks for the presentation for mid-level and elementary lessons and labs on energy. I think its good that secondary types know what content we teach, and more importantly how we teach it in terms of activities and depth. Thanks to our third helper this afternoon...IT made possible our fantastic results from our generator!

Last week was Nicholi Tesla's birthday. Google recognized this so I followed up on their suggested sites. Although we celebrate him in schools by using variants of his coil, his more important contribution was for introducing Alternating Current as a more viable alternative to DC power generation, and especially distribution. In the great contest with each innovator Edison+DC, Tesla+AC, Tesla won. Electrical generation at the Niagara Falls was set up as AC later. Isabel, SD had just had gotten DC generators and equipment installed when REA came in with AC. The DC equipment was never used, I hear. (I trace my origins to Isabel)
Although Marconi is credited with the invention of radio, Tesla, who had successfully tested and demo'ed one several years earlier, let him have that credit because Marconi had used numerous innovations first used by Tesla to make radio possible!
Because of his personality, he never received credit for many of his accomplishments...died mid 20th century penniless.

Thursday's Science Thoughts

I loved the plate tectonics demo today. I want to share this with our Junior High teacher so she can do this with her 8th graders. I also learned some new vocabulary today. Great idea, Angie.
The exothermic and endothermic reactions today were very good, and I will use them as demos in my classroom. The Burning of the money was awesome. I will do that one and it is important to understand why the paper didn't burn. Thanks Dr. Koppang for the explanation at my level so I can retell it. I want to try the demo imitating a spark plug and internal combustion for a engine piston. I hope I can find a Tesla coil. Thanks also for the heads up on the static electricity initiated by moving in and out of nylon covered car seats which could cause a explosion with gas vapors when filling up the car at a gas station. Everyday science safety is important. This afternoon I enjoyed the making of a wind turbine and really think that Junior high or even lower level students would enjoy this activity. I appreciate the time given to make up my solutions for tomorrow activity and appreciate the computer lab accessibility to write up my demo and activity. It was a good day.
Blog for Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thoughts for Wednesday by Cathee, Sonja and Kim
Today in the “One Room Schoolhouse” we learned about crystallization, microscopy and polarization. Some of the concepts that were used/taught during the session would be above the learning ability of most of the children I teach. I can see how some of the concepts can be incorporated into my curriculum by keeping it simple and showing the students the actual “growing” of crystals. Crystal shape is a difficult concept for many of my junior high students.
During the afternoon session, we used a calorimeter and different types of thermometers—these were definitely concepts that could be understood and taught by the older students to the younger students. I (Cathee) have done the calorimeters, but this was an alternative way of using the same technique to learn different concepts. These lessons covered applied to standards such as safety, laboratory technique, use of the microscope and cooperative learning. We also used technology when we used the LabQuest and the temperature probe. The elementary standards that were touched on were transfer of energy, preparing slides and students being able to classify matter based on physical and chemical properties.
Once again the hours that we are in class and are doing experiments go much faster than just during lecture. This is definitely a reflection that we are going to try to keep in mind as we prepare for each of our classes this fall.
Today was interesting and provided activites that I could use in the lower elementary level on a simple scale. I would be able to use the fan activity and have the students make a fan stucture like we did today and experiment with what works best for movement. Showing how chemicals make water warm and cold would be good on a small scale - showing how de-icer works in the winter.
Thursday..........Shelly would use the morning's activities as a teacher directed activity with the students reading the temperature probe and touching the beaker. If opportunity arose, I would pair my students up with a high school student to complete activities using chemicals.
Darla could use the concepts of the exothermic/endothermic reations in physiology or biology. RElating the idea that food is energy is important for the students to understand. The idea of exo or endo is often difficult for the students to remember, pairing them with an elementary student to whom they would have to explain and really understand the concept would help with their retention of the material.

The kinetic and potential energy concepts are hit on very minimal in Darla's and Shelly's classes, though again the topic of energy is always relevant. Using some of these activites on our enrichment days will be beneficial.

Darla & Shelly

Silver crystals in the eyepiece

Silver Crystals

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Wrap-Up

I thought today was helpful in terms of using simple concepts to demonstrate activities useful in the elementary classroom. Once again, all levels can use the information presented to a different degree. It is much the same in our class as it would be in a real setting because of the wide variety of backgrounds. Some of us have little or no science background whereas others have a lot. Also, some of us have life science or chemistry where others may have more of a physical science understanding. I think each day gets us thinking more and more (or at least it should) about what things we can incorporate into our own teaching at various levels as well as the corroboration that may be necessary for this type of teaching to work. I love all of the ideas so far!

Wet Wednesday's Blog-Darwin

I really enjoyed the crystal lab that we did with the polarizing lens and I definitely will try this, probably even before school starts. It was a great refresher talking about the L qand R molecules and chirality. I will love doing the copper and Ag. Making the thermometers will really help around the gas laws and the genral idea of increments and where they come from. I currently do the calorimeter lab and do it again with a hot metal in a double walled aluminum calorimeter in the Physics classes. I think it is nice to introduce them to both types. I use regular thermometers in one and digital thermometers in the other. I believe students will benifift from both methods. We even try plotting a warming curve when we burn a pecan. I thought the day was great. Thanks.


Today's labs were fantastic. My son is always waiting for me to get home so he can see what we have done. He is great for my debriefing! We discuss all aspects of the day, unfortunately, I use that then instead of the blog!
The crystals today were great. I used to teach in a multi-age classroom and really loved it. I see so much value to cross curricular teaching. Our staff works very well together and would embrace this, but time constraints on us as far as planning goes holds us back. Several of these activities would fall into multi-disciplinary units. I will get together with some of those teachers next week and discuss how we can implement these together. (Particularly the science teacher.)
I also liked the math involved in the calorie activity with the cheetos and peeps. My kids would "eat" that up!! :) hahaha I will try that this year when we are working with unit rate.
These are great activities, however, about 2 o'clock, I really need to work on focusing. My attention is scattering at that time!

Wednesday profitable

The morning session was really interesting. I learned a lot more about polarized lenses. Really liked the petri dish and vegetable oil illustration. It would be pretty cool to have polarized filters in my microscopes; difficult? price? Our chemistry class will definitely be doing the copper wire and silver nitrate exercise. It's very inexpensive and really illustrates single displacement nicely.
The afternoon was interesting. I think,with some practice, the high school kids could pair up with younger ones to make pretty cool thermometers. I can visualize these things placed strategically around the elementary school with daily readings being taken.
I really liked Darwin's wave demo this morning. That will help me out a lot with the PS class. I also enjoyed Donna's because the kids do get confused between accuracy and precision, they basically think of them as the same thing. Bernard's was also good, and gets the students out of their seat and being part of the demonstration. I will be able to use some of the microscopy with the Earth science students, and I think they will enjoy being able to see the crystals grow. Those are also materials I can easily get to my building. I also liked the polarized light. Even if it isn't something that we get to talk about in class much, it still would be good to just peak their interest, and tell them they will get to learn more about it if they continue to take science classes. The thermometer activity I can use with the Jr. High students and I think they will definitely get good information out of that. The nitrogen in the tire thing, I will most definitely check in to! The burning of the food was good. I'm not sure about open flames with my students...this might be something I would have to modify and really control. If I did do it, I would like to address the Law of Conservation of Energy, and also the Law of Conservation of Mass. All in all, a good day.


Interesting Lab on the Crystals. I would probably share this information with my Chemistry teacher, so he could use it. I loved the small interesting demos. Example, the transfer of energy using the ball by Darwin, and the oscillation waves. Thanks, also to Mr. Kastein for the demo on Center of Gravity. I want to make one of those toys as soon as I get home. The two types of glass rods in benzene showing light refraction and the suggestion to use a small beaker into a small beaker and then pour vegetable oil/mineral oil to see/not see the small beaker anymore was very good. Other refraction information was about diving in a swimming pool, driving on hot roads and glasses. The information about polarized light and Karo Syrup, I will also use. Discussion of Windshields was good. I will relate to the students the information as everyday Science.

I overheard another veteran science teacher relay to a new science teacher the demo on how to show the 2nd law of motion(F=ma) with a fishing weight on one end of a string versus no weight at the end of a string. Very Nice and thank you for sharing.

I enjoyed the unit of making different types of thermometers. Nice review of why we don't use water in thermometers. More interesting was the blurb about nitrogen tires and nitrogen air in those tires in cold temperatures because the nitrogen molecules are large and not permeable in that type of tire. (New information to me) And everyday science for my students.

The calorimeter exercise needs to be modified to be safer at the elementary level. Open fires and Kids do not match. Personally, I do not let my sophomores do anything with propane bunsen burners. I use hot plates. This is a teacher demo and I probably would not let the students do this. Sorry.


Did everyone get the announcement about this blog being a SPAM???? I got it for last week's blog also.


The crystal lab was very intriguing. I plan on using a portion of this in my AP Chemistry course. I think seeing actual crystal through the microscope will have more substance than seeing them on a flat piece of paper. The determination of the amount of energy involved when burning a piece of good was good but I would go into much further in my chemistry classes. The amount of work we did in class would be appropriate for younger students. Donna's demo. today with the cards was excellent. I discuss the difference between precision and accuracy in my classes. This was not only educational but drew in the idea of magic which made it very entertaining.


Darwin's demonstration was very entertaining. He presented it with much enthusiasm which I think must have a great affect on his students. This is something which I would really like to try. I enjoyed today's lab activity with the simple machines. I have taught physical science and have done labs with simple machines. I found this approach very simple to understand and I felt the approach made the concept more concrete. It is a good idea to have students bring in types of simple machines from home giving them ownership for their learning.

Crystals/Polarizing, Thermometers, Calorimeters
We could differentiate between different types of crystal by the way they rotated plane or polarized light. It is interesting to see how cotton and wool have different degrees of color and uniformity (cotton versus silk versus wool). Could see a variety of shapes in crystals that didn't take a long time to grow and using the copper wire and silver nitrate would be good to show students how fast a crystal can grow. The thermometer lab gave a simple picture of temperature fluctuation (elementary) and gave high school students a variety of thermometers to construct with different efficiencies. The calorimeter lab showed the simple basics of converting food energy to heat energy. Dawn and Barb
Posted by dawn at 2:08 PM
Darla and I enjoyed the crystal activity. We will use the activity more as a demonstration where we will have the high school students show the elementary students what they will be searching for on their slides.

This afternoon activities were insightful and the activities were at a level where 5th and 6th students will be able to complete these activities with some assistance from the high school students.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Today's demonstration was a nice refresher. It had been a long time since I had thought of some of those concepts. It was nice to see how many different things can be used as levers. The key here is that the items are tools that children of all ages see and use in their everyday lives (hopefully anyway). I think there is a way to "level" down almost any subject of interest to those of a younger age. We just need to be creative! Also, we need to make sure that we don't make it too easy that it might become boring or monotonous for our particular age group. In an elementary or middle school classroom this can be difficult because all skill levels are in the same classes whereas in a high school AP chemistry or physics class you might only have those who are particularly interested or talented. I am excited to see the different presentations Friday.
Today was an enjoyable day for me. I enjoyed Darwin's demo this morning and am anxious to try that myself, and also to see what other examples people bring in. The lab on the levers was good, I do something similar, but once again don't take it as far as we did today. I will have to review this lab when I get back to school and see what modifications I can add. I appreciated the time we were allowed to work this afternoon on the project for Friday. We got a good portion of it organized and planned out so I feel more comfortable about being prepared.

Day2: levers

Good day with was good to hear the secondary people use the advanced vocab and get their "slant" on it. I noted that the 5th grade standard goes a little further than I thought to include compound levers and further, to include trading force for distance. So thanks to today's labs, I feel more confident in presenting that. Definitely would help to get the "big guys" down to our level for the last part.
Found the health standards site for both 5th and 6th, and some standards could be met through these activities also.
The following specific science standard was met: 5.P.2.2, and from the health standards: and

Lever 2000

Going over the 3 classes of levers and the 6 simple machines was an excellent way to work our way into the end of the morning and into the afternoon activities. This was an excellent review for me. I do a couple different activities with levers to calculate efficiency and torque. We also work on an efficiency and mechanical advantage of different pulley setups. It was kinda nice to get started on our activities that we will be doing at the end of the week. The secret powder in the packets I used came from Boreal Laboratories. It is called ASAP short for A Super Absorbant Power.

Love the Magic of Science

This morning activities on levers was a very good refresher for me. I haven't taught Physical Science in 20 years. So many everyday tools are different types of levers. Review of the simple math also really helped. I really appreciated the time alloted for preparation for our activity in the afternoon. We needed to downgrade some of the material for the lower grades and discussion between myself and my partner was essential. Looking forward to seeing everyone's great ideas. I was in awe with Darwin's little demo. Those are the things that make kids think and gets them excited about science. Knowing what the chemical is in the cup and where that chemical is used in our everyday life makes it all the better. It is those things that I really need.
Thanks, Darwin. I am excited to see what others have to share.

Tuesday's Blog

Wow we got used to some levers today. I really liked all the examples of different levers. This is way better than just showing students a picture of each example. When they actually had the lever in front of them they could play with it and experience what part is the pivot (fulcrum) and which part the force is applied and resisted. I also liked the tip of which was is the middle (fulcrum, F(effort), or F(resistance) )would determine if it was 1st, 2nd, or a 3rd class lever. I think tools like this are very important to present to our students, because even as obvious as something may seem to you, it may not be apparent to others.

Leveraging out on Tuesday

We learned more about levers than I ever could imagine ... maybe more than one needed at most any level. Much of it was interesting and fun. After lunch, it was ... not quite so. In physics, if I get to them, I like the reference to "what's in the middle." Having an opportunity to select and initiate our presentation was a big help for Gus and me. The problem? Constructive detail can easily slide into ignored minutiae.

Monday's Class

I think the labs on Monday were very interesting. I think that the students would be very enthused by the egg drop and the removal. I had never seen this before (besides the Full House episode :) ). I think I could maybe use this in my physics classroom. The Bell Jar was also pretty neat. I thought it was interesting when you pulled the water out and it was still cold! I think that would be a great demonstration/experiment for students. The lung concept was also a great/inexpensive way to show pressure/volume relationship.

Here are my content standards:
Egg Drop/Removal
9-12.P.2.1 Apply concepts of distance and time to the quantitative relationships of motion using apporpriate mathematical formulas, equations and units. (possibly with equipment)9-12.P.2.2 Predict motion of an object using Newton's Laws.

Bell Jar
9-12.P.1.7A Apply the kinetic molecular theory to solve quantitative problems involving pressure, volume, temperature, and number of moles of gas.

9-12.P.1.7A Apply the kinetic molecular theory to solve quantitative problems involving pressure, volume, temperature, and number of moles of gas.
9-12.P.1.3 Predict whether reactions will speed up or slow down as conditions change.

Tuesday's post

Today's lever activity was insightful. This activity again would lend itself to working with proportions and solving equations (formulas). The measurement aspect of this would be great. The students should already be able to measure in cm/mm, but it would be good review.

I like integrating as much of what I can into other aspects of the students' lives. When Paul had us balance the meter stick on our finger, it reminded me of the activity I do in my classroom that I can now talk about science with! I use that analogy to demonstrate that if you keep your eye on where you want to be....your goals....rather than the here and now....your finger and the end balancing on are much more successful in life. Have your plan and work toward any point when you take your eyes off of it, if even for a moment....the balance can be lost and you need to redirect.

Monday's results

The egg in the bottle was a great reminder. I have never done it with water, I have always used a match in the bottle. Also, I knew there was a way to get it out, but I had forgotten that. Teaching math for as long as I have, these demonstrations have slipped my mind! In math I can tie these in with the formulas and math. This would fit in when we are talking about proportions. The celsius temperatures is another area that I can use with my students. They are not very familiar with body temp, room temp. etc.
The students in Sioux City schools work with the FOSS kits and after this morning's activity with the levers, I am going to work closer with their regular classroom teachers to determine what unit they are on and then use the FOSS website to expand and build on the activities they are working on in class. I would like to have more hands on activities they can use to understand concepts such as bringing in different levers used everyday. I enjoyed learning about levers myself this morning and am beginning to understand science a little better!
As an elementary resource teacher that works with students in reading, math, and writing, I very very rarely work with science. However, after working with the activities yesterday, I may begin to add a science unit with the students that corresponds to what they are learning in the classroom. I think that the students get lost in the regular classroom with the concepts of science and the terms used and adding activities in the resource room such as the bell jar to show how the lungs and diaphram work, or the egg drop to help them with observation, and predicting will begin to give them background knowledge that they can apply to science in the classroom. Yesterday's activities could be used to apply the content standard of students understanding and applying the skills used in scientific inquiry. They are able to begin to understand and apply the processes and skills of investigation and then anlyze and interpret information from scientific information.

Paul does a good job!

See Paul work.


Today when we talked about levers it was a definite flashback for us to college physics. It has been awhile for some of us, that haven't touched on this concept. The hands-on was great, but the lesson will have to be adapted for both elementary students and for the high school biology teacher. We would definitely offer less levers for the children to use. But depending on the age of the students we would maybe get the students to add a bit of inquiry into this by bringing some levers from home. By tying this into the human body--we should be able to bring the biology students into the classroom to work with the younger kids. Teaching the students some shortcuts, such as FRE (based on what part is in the middle, is the type of lever. For example, 1st class F (fulcrum) is in the middle, 2nd class R (resistance) is in the middle, etc.) Allowing the students to use manipulatives to model each class of lever will allow the students to understand the concept more clearly. It was a good day, and we feel that we are well on our way to getting our project ready. Cathee, Kim, and Sonja
Darla and I enjoyed the activities this am. We've both decided that with these activities, we would each introduce the activity and then bring the students together to have the high school students demonstrate the levers to the sixth/fifth graders and then help them with the different levers in classifying them.

Because our K-12 is one building, we decided to bring the 5th/6th to the science room to complete the activity. Darla's room has all of the equipment to complete the activities which makes it more efficient than hauling the equipment down the hallway. This will also help prepare my 6th grade class transition easier to 7th grade.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 1- Darwin (I copied this from word and clicked edit Html and it pasted in fine.)

First of all, I thought the day went extremely well. I have never actually done the egg drop before. I just gave directions and instructions to my wife. She did the other method for a science methods class at Anderson University. I am too chicken to blow air in the glass bottle to force the egg out. But my wife will do everything I tell her, NOT. Ha! This activity works get with the gas laws in chemistry as proven and will also work great in Physics when we talk about air pressure. Being a burn victim I have had to wear a Jobst suit, a pressure suit used to help keep down scar tissue from growing up to an inch thick on the body. They also helped with veracious veins. These suits were designed to put at least 28 pounds per square inch on my body. This is just a little higher than atmospheric pressure. It took an hour to put one on from neck to toe. Acid base reactions in chemistry and physical science are definitely covered territory. Balancing reactions and solubility versus insolubility could also be addressed. The pop bottle lung and the vacuum bell jar are both excellent for covering the gas laws and vapor pressure versus atmospheric pressure. I do the bell jar experiment already at the high school level. I have a portable hand pump that works great. At a previous school, which I won’t name, Baltic. I had tire pump I was able to reverse the leather cups or seals on and got it to work as a vacuum pump. This is not possible with all tire pumps. These activities will be able to address many of the high school standards and many of the elementary and middle school ones as well. I also know they meet many of Florida’s state and Pearson’s National standards. Many of the standards for scientific process or methods are met at both levels. Safety standards for the egg drop in the areas of boiling water, disposing of broken glass, acid handling and safety wear are also incorporated here. Eggs could be boiled ahead of time for lower elementary, depending of comfort level and classroom climate. The three lab activities could definitely be handled by the high school taken into any of the levels below. I will probably ask for guidelines from the lower staff of when they cover their topics during the year and try to match up as best we can. If all else fails I know my wife would love to have us.


As a middle school teacher, I am always looking for activities that grab my students attention. I would use the Egg Drop lab as an introduction when we begin talking about the Nature of Science. Standard(6.N.2.1.) This lab raises up a lot of how, when, and why questions that would get my students thinking scientifically. I would implement the Bell Jar lab when I discuss the Earth's atmosphere. Standard (6.E.1.1) Atmospheric pressure and temperature play a key role in our lives each and every day. In this lab, students are able to see its effects.

Monday's Activities

I really enjoyed today. I have done the egg drop demonstration in my chemistry classes. The only difference is that I use a burning piece of paper and I do not attempt to remove the egg. I have simply used this demo. to introduce pressure and to show that pressure differences cause the egg to drop. I will use this further to discuss such things as acid/base rxns, solubility, ionic bonding, and Henry's law especially in my AP Chemistry class. I think this would be a great demo. to take to an elementary classroom. I especially liked using the pressure probe to collect the pressure data and they use the graph to make evaluations. The other demo. which I use in the classroom is the idea of boiling water with pressure changes and changing the size of a marshmello. I use this to discuss Boyle's Law. I found the lung simulation very interesting.
The activities today were lots of fun. I enjoyed them greatly. I have previously done the egg drop with fire, but I love this demo so much more. Getting the egg to come out with acid/base reaction is so good. In the past I have done this by myself...but I think I will let the students do this procedure in groups. I think they will learn so much more if I discuss after the observation. I introduce this demo when we start talking about breathing in the Respiration System. I can't wait to do this in the future. I'm excited.

Day 1

Enjoyed the day!
All of the inquiries woould be comprehensible at some level for fifth and sixth grader, and, many could be performed by the students in my lab sessions. I would have my students do the actual hands-on procedures, except where boiling water is involved. That is when I would entrust mature HS stu's. While doing this they could be telling their elementary partners what is happening in a way elem. stu's would understand. This may help their comprehension too. In the past I have done these more dangerous tasks as demo's while the students onserve and record for later discussion.
Some things I have done in either 5th or 6th grade are using short glass Coke bottles for exploring the reaction of vinegar and baking soda. The same equipment is used to show the relationshop of heat or loss of heat on air molecules. When the balloon finally pops erect it's greeted with cheers! I find that PETE bottles con't work well because air escapes around the threads of the bottle and balloon. They alse flex and detract from the effect. Taking a PETE bottle partially filled with very warm water, seal it, pass it around for kids to sqeeze. Then have it shaken and observe again by squeezing. They're amazed that it can't be compressed as much.

I'm finding it challenging to keep up with the chemistry presented, but that's okay.

I found out today that a pressure cooker actually raises the boiling point of water!
I found out that after processing this as a WORD document that it can't be copied and pasted on this posting!! UGH!

The technology was an adult, I like to see data and numbers, but as an elementary teacher, I want the kids to hypothesize what will happen and to what degree of intensity.
I do the lung thing with the kids in a health unit...I'll have to ask Pat if his stu's would like to show how pressure can be measured with technology.
For today's projects, the followint standards would apply, bu not limited to:
5th and6th Grade Nature of Science: Indicator 2: Apply the skill necessary to conduct scientific investigations.
6.P.1.2. Studnets are able to classify matter based on physical and chemical properties.

Question for the blog: I also cover body systems in science. Are standards published for that?

HS Physcial Science Core Standards that apply to day 1

Egg drop into flask/Egg removal
9-12.P.1.3 Predict whether reactions will speed up or slow down as conditions change.
9-12.P.1.4 Balance chemical equations by applying the Law of Conservation of Matter.
9-12.P.1.5 Distinguish among chemical, physical, and nuclear changes.
9-12.P.2.1 Apply concepts of distance and time to the quantitative relationships of motion using apporpriate mathematical formulas, equations and units. (possibly with equipment)
9-12.P.2.2 Predict motion of an object using Newton's Laws.

Adding hot water to a can or heating up a pop can and inversely putting it in cold water.
9-12.P.1.2 Describe ways that atoms combine.
9-12.P.1.3 Predict whether reactions will speed up or slow down as conditions change.
9-12.P.1.5 Distinguish among chemical, physical, and nuclear changes.
9-12.P.1.7A Apply the kinetic molecular theory to solve quantitative problems involving pressure, volume, temperature, and number of moles of gas.

Bell jar
9-12.P.1.3 Predict whether reactions will speed up or slow down as conditions change.
9-12.P.1.5 Distinguish among chemical, physical, and nuclear changes.

Balloons activities/Lung
9-12.P.1.7A Apply the kinetic molecular theory to solve quantitative problems involving pressure, volume, temperature, and number of moles of gas.

Aligning labs to standards ... streeeetch!

1. Before starting each of our exercises, there was a brief safety discussion, and issues specifically relevant to immediate labs.
9-12.N2.2 safe labs

Egg Drop; post-lab discussion; 9-12.P.1.2 describe how atoms combine.
9-12.P.1.5 Chemical vs. physical change
9-12.P.1.7A Apply kinetic molecular theory and Charles Law
9-12.P.1.9A Describe characteristics of equilibria.
9-12.E.1.3 Assess how human activity has affected water and atmosphere.

Bell Jar; 9-12.P.1.7A Apply kinetic molecular theory and Boyle's Law
9-12.P.1.9A Describe characteristics of equilibria.
Lung; 9-12.N.2.1A Can manipulate multiple variables with repeated trials.
9-12P.1.9A Describe characteristics of equilibria.
9-12.P.1.7A Apply kinetic molecular theory with Boyle's Law
9-12.N.2.2A Use statistical analysis of data to evaluate validity of results.

Reaction to Monday's Activities

Today's lab was interesting. I don't remember using the egg drop technique in high school, however, I do remember my teacher using a bell jar with a rubber glove or something on the wide end and simulating a lung/diaphragm relationship with a balloon. It must be the best way if it's still around. I think it is great that the kids will be able to build their own using a few inexpensive items. Younger kids will have a good time making them and the older kids can reinforce the pressure concepts as well as use math to chart differences as we saw on the lab quests. There are numerous concepts/standards that are addressed for both levels I'm sure. It was another good day!
This was a good day! I came away with some new websites to use as resources for my classes, and some interesting new demonstrations/labs to try with my students. The egg drop and removal they will like and that is nice for me because we don't have any materials that could cause problems. The bell jar concept is a good visual. We usually play with the balloons but I haven't used the marshmellows before. The lungs will be a good one for demonstrating the differences in pressure and addressing the pressure to volume relationship.

Assignment for Day 1-4

Hi All,
For each day, post your impressions/reactions to the activites and materials presented. Also be thinking about the following questions as you plan for Friday's presentations/your paper and work with your partner.

Consider these questions when designing your project/presentations this week:
1)How might you incorporate these concepts (labs and discussions we had today) into your classroom curriculum?
2)How would this impact your instruction, especially meeting standards (use your own standards if you are out of state, etc) at all levels.
3)How can each partner work together to meet each others' as well as mutual standards.
4)What safety considerations should you have in place when you and your students work together on these projects?
5)How could you explain the process of collaboration that you and your students will be doing to another teacher?

You will be answering these questions as we progress through the next few days. Think about them and discuss them as you plan.
Have a great evening.

Day 1

Here we are --- yeah!
The long involved trail
I made it, YAY!!
Here I am...finally!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I would like to welcome everyone to the One room school house short course! We are very excited to have you in this class. We are looking forward to sharing some ideas that you can use to have your high school students help teach elementary students some science concepts. Hopefully this will help reinforce these ideas to the older students as well as help to build some excitement in the younger students. Please feel free to share ideas that you are already using in your classes. This will be a great opportunity to share and discuss topics to cover as well as to build a network of people to keep in contact with to continue this sharing process. I for one know that the main benefit of these classes is interaction with each other and the building of a professional community that we can use to bounce of ideas and also share our resources with. I am looking forward to meeting all of you Monday morning! Paul


We are happy that you have chosen to participate in our week-long short course. We anticipate that you will not only gain a lot from the presenters but also from each other. We will be working together to develop a model for your high school students to work along with your elementary students. There will be a lot to chose from and you will put together a project that your students will do together.

Be sure to accept your invitation to our short course blog. We will be using it daily to answer questions, comments, gather resources, leave homework assignments, etc.

We look forward to a great week. See you, soon.