Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Student Plays - Greek Myths

Students in groups 66 & 67 performed their plays of several different Greek myths last week. They did a great job! The plays were: The Story of Theseus & Minotaur, The Story of Echo & narcissis, The Story of Odysseus & His Travels, and The Story of Atalanta.
Mr. Olivo streamed the plays live over the internet for friends and family to watch live at home!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bird of the Week - XXXl

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Northern flicker. This large woodpecker is the fourth woodpecker to be on the Bird of the Week, along with the Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied woodpeckers. Flickers are large, distinctive woodpeckers that are often seen on the ground in open areas, eating ants and beetles. In flight, these large brown, woodpeckers have a white rump that is very visible and a flash of yellow in the wing. The face is gray and there is a black patch just below the throat. The male has a red "moustache". There call is a long, loud, "laughing-like" sound. Look for flickers in open habitats near trees, including woodlands, edges, yards, and parks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bird of the Week - XXX

This week's Bird of the Week" is the Eastern Screech owl. This small owl, about 10", has ear tufts and can be found in either a brownish-gray color or a reddish-brown color. The male and female birds look alike, with the female slightly larger. Believe it or not, the Screech owl is common in Reading, however, because it is nocturnal, we don't often see or hear it. They found in most habitats with trees, including urban and suburban areas. If you are careful, patient, and lucky enough, you may spot a Screech owl sitting in a hole in a tree. You may hear one of it's two common calls at night; a descending whistled whinny, or a whistled trill on one pitch.

The Screech owl hunts and eats large insects, small rodents, crayfish, earthworms, and small songbirds. They nest in tree cavities (holes) and will readily nest in man-made nest boxes.
Photos from All About Birds and Roger Tory Peterson print from Bird Watchers Digest.

More LINX Wind Vehicles

A lot of progress has been made during the past day in accomplishing the goal! Two teams have all ready acheived the goal of getting their vehicle to travel 8M in under 12 seconds twice in a row.

Monday, April 13, 2009

LINX Wind Vehicles

The students started a design engineering project last week. It is called the LINX System and they had to design and build a wooden, sailed powered vehicle that:
1. had a base with an area less than 200 cm2
2. could traveled 8M in under 12 seconds.
3. and could do this twice in a row.

The kids had saws, hand drills, glue, triangles, and wood that they could use to construct their vehicle.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bird of the Week - XXlX

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Wild turkey. If you have ever seen a Wild turkey, you can't miss it! They have a bronzy iridescence to their body feathers and their wing feathers are barred black and white. The male is much larger with a more prominent beard, and it's head and neck are completely bare, often with a blueish color and with red wattles. A wattle, or beard, is the skin that hangs from the turkey's throat.

The male Turkey, called a tom, gobbles to attract females, called hens. When she appears, he struts around her. He has his tail fanned and held up vertically, lowers his wings so that the wingtips drag on the ground, raises the feathers on his back, throws his head back onto his back with the bill forward, and inflates his crop. He makes occasional deep "chump" sounds, followed by a low "humm," and accompanied by a rapid vibration of his tail feathers. During the strut his facial skin engorges and the colors intensify, especially the white forehead.

Baby turkeys are called "poults." The male Wild Turkey provides no parental care. When the eggs hatch, the chicks follow the female. She feeds them for a few days, but they quickly learn to feed themselves. Several hens and their broods may join up into bands of more than 30 birds. Winter groups have been seen to exceed 200.

The Wild turkey was a main part of Native Americans and early settlers diet. By 1857, there were no more Wild turkey's in Massachusetts due to over hunting. In 1972 and 1973, the Massachusetts Department of Wildlife released 37Wild turkey's that were captured in New York into western Massachusetts. These turkeys survived and bred and between 1979 and 1996, Mass wildlife officials trapped more than 500 turkeys in the Berkshires(western Mass) and released them elsewhere in the state. Today, there are an estimated 20,000 Wild turkeys in Massachusetts!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cribbage Tournament

The 21st Annual Parker Senior Citizen Cribbage Tournament was held yesterday after school in the cafeteria. It was a big success! Former Parker math teacher Bob Ohlson started this tournament and ran it for 20 years. Upon his retirement, I took it on. Mr. Ohlson returned to play yesterday and helped me out a lot with hid sage advice. Sixteen Reading senior citizens came to Parker to compete for a trophy, to have fun, and mingle with the middle school kids. The kids were great! Besides the 17 kids playing (1 filled in for an absent senior) we had another 7 kids work as helpers, greeting the seniors at the door, serving refreshments, and assisting me with all the "stuff" that needs to get done. Ray and his senior partner Helena won and Mark Anthony and his senior partner Bob finished second. It was a wonderful afternoon for all and we are looking foward to next year's tournament!

More Straw Rockets

Today is the last day of MCAS tests!!! It is also the last day of launching the Straw Rockets. Each group has had two classes during the testing to launch their rocket. Joining Eli & Bryant on the "Bucket List" were Maddie, Tim, Courtney & Krystle, Reggie & Alex, Madison & Katy. Many other students came very close to accomplishing the goal of having their rocket land in the bucket.