To keep parents/guardians up to date on what is going on in their kids science class.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Periodic Table

We have finished our scientific method unit and are starting our Periodic Table Unit.

In this unit the students will begin to understand how this periodic table is organized as well as the makeup of the elements that make it up.

There will be a quiz coming up on Monday that will be testing over Atomic Struture, Atomic Calculations, and Electron Configuration. Click Here for a link to the study guide.

Let me know if you have any questions.
I'll leave you with a funny video of a guy singing all the elements.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heavy Lifting Rocket Lab

Heavy Lifting
The past week students have been working on their first true lab. The lab was helpings students understand the process of the scientific method.

Problem: NASA is asking for help in designing the next generation of heavy lifting launchers. Your job is to design the most efficient way to carry heavy payloads up in to space.

Experiment: Students will use the materials listed to design a heavy launcher and will test it at one of the classroom launch sites. The launch sites will be constructed of a fishing line going from the floor to the ceiling and for your launch to be a successful one it must reach the ceiling (outer-space).

Here is what some students designs looked like.

For each class we had a competition to see who could get the most payload (paperclips) to the ceiling.
Here are the winners for each class:
1st Hour: Dylan Smith, David Zawodny, Brennan Bennett, Kaitland Hill (22 paperclips)
4th Hour: Casey O'Connell, Zach Pelzer, Logan Littrell, Roslyn Zeller (22 paperclips)
5th Hour: Christian Willams, Jessie Willis, Katlyn Shroyer, Brianna Smith-Nimley (26 paperclips)
6th Hour: Cherokee Ledford, Selina Harris, Corey Greim, Austin Williams, Devin Hill (5 paperclips)
7th Hour: Vincent Sorrentino, John Smith, Alex Alexander, Sydney Shea (22 paperclips)
8th Hour: Rylee Pitts, Shelby Starkebaum, Dakoda Riney, Laurren Crowley (OVERALL WINNER, 32 paperclips)

Best Poster: Brennan Richey, Gabby Sauza, Kaitlenn Harvie, Bobby Wilkenson

Here is a clip of one of the winning rockets being launched.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First week of school!

First Week Objective:
Students will be able to distinquish between an observation, inference, and prediction and be able to use these skills within an experiment.

Lab Safety
The first week of school is always a struggle because I just want to jump straight in to talking about science and doing labs but that would be a train wreck without layind down some ground rules. So on Monday we spent a majority of the class time talking about Lab Safety. Students were sent home a Lab Safety contract that needs to be SIGNED by a parent in order for them to participate in labs. Our very first lab is going to be on Thursday so they must have it in by then. If they do not then they will not be able to participate in the lab. If you have not seen this from your child CLICK HERE to print it out.

Observation, Inference, & Prediction
Starting on Wednesday we will be discussing what obervations, inferences, and predictions are. These are important skills to have when experiencing science. Many labs we will do this year will require these skills.

Observation: Using one or more senses to gather information.
Inference: Explanation of your observation based on reasoning from prior knowledge.
Prediction: Making a forecast of what will happen in the future based on past experience or evidence

Next Weeks Objective:
Students will be able to identify the steps of the scientific method and how to use all the steps to perform a quality experiment.

What's going on in the world of science?
Thought I would share this interesting video taken from the International Space station as it flew over Hurricane Irene. It is currently located in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean about 55 miles northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and 70 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island. This position is also approximately 705 miles east-southeast of Miami, Florida. Irene intensified into a Category 2 hurricane Monday evening and now has maximum sustained winds near 100 mph.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A different approach to Grades.

Worried about how this years grades are being determined differently?

At open house I'm sure many parents were slightly concerned with how their students grades were going to be determined this year. A new district initiative has been put in place to make grades weighted primarily on assessments. The 7 minutes I was able to discuss this with you during open house may have left some questions unanswered. Hopefully this will help.

In my science class 70% of the students grade will come from assessments while the other 30% will come from labs & classwork. I know when I first changed to this it made me anxious, as I'm sure it has to many of you. I now believe this will more accurately portray the students mastery of the science content.

Will my student still get homework?
Even though homework is not going to count for a grade it will still be an expectation to complete a homework assignment when given. These assignments will be given when a topic has been taught and we are now practicing how well we know it. This will be a gauge on if the student has any questions over the topic or needs clarification on something. We will check for accuracy the next day on these assignments. It will be very important that these assignments still get completed to help them prepare for the upcoming tests.   

What if my student doesn't do well on a test?
For many reasons a student might not perform to his liking on a test. It happens. There will be opportunities for retakes for full points within a 4 week window after the test. BUT for a student to retake the test they must have a conference with me before that retake. In this conference we will review his science notebook and discuss what they can do to get a better grade next time. We will also review if they have completed all of their homework assignments in that unit and be asked to complete the ones they did not finish. They might be asked to complete a study guide and/or stay for tutoring if needed. 

What about the other 30%?
The other 30% comes from Labs and Classwork. In science lab skills are very important and will reflect on their grade. There are many labs that we will do this year and they will be graded based on their execution of that lab as well as thorough evaluation of the results to make an accurate conclusion. Classwork could be a variety of activities that we do in class but will always be things they only do in class and not have to take home.

I know this is a change to grades so if you have any questions now or anytime throughout the year please let me know and I'll be happy to discuss any issues with you.

I look forward to a great year!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Science Notebooks

This year we will be using science notebooks every day in class. These will be used for bell ringers, to collect notes, lab journals and to keep track of homework due or test coming up.

The reason for these is to better organize students notes and class work. I don't want the notes we take in class to be put on a random piece of paper and then get lost on the way out the door. I want them to be a useful tool in helping understanding the content and used to help study. They will be able to keep them in a safe place in the classroom but can take them home to help with homework or to study for test and quizzes.

Students will be asked to bring in a notebook specific just for science to use. I would prefer the composition notebooks like the one shown because the paper doesn't rip out very easily. A spiral notebook will work if a composition notebook is not available.

Here is a look at what they will look like.

 This last picture would be an example of what an every day entry would look like. Students will always have a "In" or a bell ringer to put in to the notebook and always have an "Out" to put in.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What to Expect this year in Science

What students will learn:
7th Grade Science is a combination of Chemistry and Physics. The use of Scientific Inquiry will be used to investigate these two areas of science.
What students will need:
Students will need to have a science notebook everyday in class. I would prefer the composition notebooks but regular spiral notebooks would be fine.
 Along with the notebook having everything else that is on the Excelsior Springs School supply list will be fine. You can find that list here: Excelsior Springs School Supply List 2011-2012
In 7th grade science Labs will be incorporated throughout the whole year to give the students a hands on approach to learning. For each quarter we will have one major lab we will spend a little more time on that others.
1st Quarter: Skittles Lab (Scientific Inquiry)
2nd Quarter: Chemical Reactions
3rd Quarter: Investigating Newton's Laws
4th Quarter: Building and Launching Rockets. (video below)

What's going on in the world of science:
Some of you may have been following Atlantis, NASA's last shuttle mission, these past couple weeks. This morning, at Kennedy Space Center, Atlantis landed at 5:57 a.m. EDT, after 200 orbits around Earth and a journey of 5,284,862 miles.
Here is an interesting link that explains the future of space exploration. What's Next?