Thursday, October 30, 2008

Science Test

Yea, it's that time! Time for a test! Your test is next Tuesday, November 4th. All 92 of you will take it at once during period 2. I'll explain how this works in class. To best prepare for the test, here are 4 things you should do:
1. Do your Chapter Review to the best of your ability. We'll correct it class on Friday.
2. Work on your Study Guide. Do a little of it at a time. The sample questions on your Study Guide must be answered in full and complete sentences on a separate piece of paper by Monday. Refer to your Science binder for help. We will go over it in class on Monday.
3. Make sure your Science binder is complete and in order. See me if you are missing anything. This is where most of the test questions will come from.
4. Review this Blog. Looking at the photos, videos, and reading what I've written, will help to refresh your mind as to what we have been working on.
In addition, I am having 3, optional "Study Parties". They will be held on Friday (Halloween) at 7:15AM and again at 2:30 - 3:00. The other one will be Monday morning at 7:15AM.
Good luck!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bird of the Week - Vlll

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the American crow. The crow is widespread, common, obvious, and known to most people. What a lot of people don't know is how complex their life is. Young crows remain with their parents until they can find a home of their own, and individual relationships may last years. Young American Crows do not breed until they are at least two years old, and most do not breed until they are four or more. In most, but not all populations, the young stay with their parents and help them raise young in subsequent years. Families may include up to 15 individuals and contain young from five different years.
American Crows congregate in large numbers in winter to sleep in communal roosts. These roosts can be of a few hundred, several thousand, or even up to two million crows. Some roosts have been forming in the same general area for well over 100 years. In the last few decades some of these roosts have moved into urban areas where the noise and mess cause conflicts with people.
The American Crow appears to be the biggest victim of West Nile virus, a disease recently introduced to North America. Crows die within one week of infection, and few seem able to survive exposure. No other North American bird is dying at the same rate from the disease. If you see a dead crow, do not pick it up! Tell your parents about it.
The American crow is omnivorous. This means it eats food that is animal or vegetable. Things such as waste grain, earthworms, insects, carrion, garbage, seeds, amphibians, reptiles, mice, fruit, bird eggs, roadkill, and nestlings are part of it's diet.
The male and female Crow look alike, however, the male averages slightly larger. Crows live in out area year round. It's common call is a harsh "caw." It also has a variety of rattles, coos, and clear notes.
To learn more about the American crow and to hear it's call, click on the this link:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Volume of a Solid

This week we have been finding the volume of a solid. First, we worked at determining the volume of a regular shaped (rectangular prism) object using the formula V = L x W x H. The units were cubic centimeters (cm3). Using wood blocks and a metric ruler, we measured the length, width, and height of the blocks to the nearest mm. We then used a calculator and multiplied the length times the width times the height and rounded the answer off to the nearest tenth. The units were cm3. We next worked on finding the volume of an irregular shaped object by displacement. We put some water into a graduated cylinder and recorded it's volume. We then lowered our object into the water and the water level went up. We recorded this new level of water and then subtracted the original amount of water from the new amount of water. The result was the volume of the object placed into the water. The units were cm3 or ml.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bird of the Week - Vll

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the European starling. The Starling is not native to North America. All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds released in New York's Central Park in the early 1890s. Today, European Starlings range from Alaska to Florida and northern Mexico, and their population is estimated at over 200 million birds. Its successful spread is believed to have come at the expense of many native birds that compete with the starling for nest holes.
The Starling is a stocky, black bird with a short, square-tipped tail. It is about 8 - 9 inches long. It has pointed, triangular wings and has a long pointed bill which is yellow in the breeding season (spring and summer). It has shimmering green and purple feathers in the spring. The male and female birds look very similar.
While many Starlings migrate, some do winter over in our area. Starlings eat many kinds of invertebrates, fruits, grains, seeds, and garbage. They forages(look for food)in open, grassy areas. They feed in large flocks, often with blackbird species. Starling nest in cavities (holes) in trees.
For more information about the European starling and to hear it's song, click on this link:
Photos taken from All About Birds.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Liquid Colors

In today's activity entitled, "Liquid Colors", the students practiced using 25ml graduated cylinders to accurately measure small volumes of colored water. There was a series of procedures to follow, and if the students followed the steps and were accurate with their measurements, a specific set of colors and amount of water was obtained. We did 2 trials of this activity.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Field Trip to Plum Island

Last Friday's field trip to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge (Plum Island) in Newburyport, MA went very well! While the weather was partly sunny, the wind was blowing quite strong. This kept the bird watching below average. We did see the following birds: Lesser yellow legs, Great blue heron, Great egret, Gadwall (duck), Yellow-rumped warbler, and several others. We walked the Hellcat Trail through a marsh and then continued it up into the sand dunes where we got spectacular views of the ocean and the salt marsh. Here are some photographs from the trip.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bir of the Week - V

This weeks "Bird of the Week" is the Downy woodpecker. The Downy woodpecker is the smallest and most common American woodpecker. It is found throughout most of North America from Alaska to Florida. It lives in a variety of habitats from wilderness forests to urban backyards, and comes readily to bird feeders. This small woodpecker is about 6 - 7 inches long. It has a black and white plumage and a small, pointed bill. The male has a small, red patch on the back of its head while the female has a black patch. Can you tell which photograph is of the male?

They eat small insects found on the branches of trees and the stems of weeds. They nest in the cavity (hole) in a tree or tree branch.

To learn more about the Downy woodpecker and to hear it's call, click on this link:

Photos taken from Cornell's All About Birds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bird Migration Research

The students have been researching a bird from a list of birds I gave them. This list reflects some of the birds we might possibly see on Friday's field trip to Plum Island. Using the Computer Lab and/or the laptops, the students are visiting 3 bird identification sites I have posted. In addition, books and maps are available for them to use to help them complete a series of questions about their bird. They also have to label the summer (breeding) and winter ranges of their bird on a map of the western hemisphere. They also have to get a picture of their bird. They can download one from the Internet and print it or they can draw/paint a picture of it. This work is being done during science classes. The 3 bird identification sites are listed on the right hand side of this blog, too.