Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles!

We are bringing together many of the things we have learned this term by doing this experiment.  The kids are using the Scientific Method to investigate the problem.  They have to measure the footprint of the bubble to the nearest 0.1 cm. 

Title: Bubbles

1. Problem: Given the supplies you have, which brand of dish washing liquid will make the biggest bubble?
2. Hypothesis:
3. Experiment:
A. Materials (list)
soap solution
paper towels
metric ruler
safety glasses

B. Procedures (numbered sentences)
First, make a data chart. Then:
1. Obtain your materials, clear off your desk, and read the entire experiment before you begin.
2. Put 10 drops of soap solution on your desk.
3. Place the end of the straw under the surface of the bubble. Blow gently in the other end to create a bubble on the surface of the desk.
4. As soon as the bubble bursts, measure the diameter of the bubbles footprint and record it. Wipe the surface dry and repeat from step # 2.
5. Practice this several times until you are good at it. Once you are good at blowing bubbles, record the diameter of the next 5 bubbles you blow under the Grand Finale. (Remember, it’s the next 5 bubbles you blow, you can’t pick and choose the bubbles you want.)
6. Find the average diameter for those 5 bubbles and record it.
7. Clean up.

4. Observations:
Your observations will include 2 things. One is your data chart. On your final draft you can write, “See data chart” and attach your data chart to the end of your lab report. This is known as your Quantitative results.
The second part of your observations will be the Qualitative results. This is where you write what happened and any interesting things you observed.

5. Conclusion: In your own words, you will answer questions A, B, C, and D that are on your Scientific Method Guidelines sheet. For this experiment, I also want you to answer the following questions.
1. What are the controls in this experiment? The controls are the parts of the experiment that are kept the same throughout the experiment.
2. What is the variable in this experiment? The variable is the part of the experiment that is changed. It is what you are testing.
3. What are some possible sources of error in this experiment? A source of error are things outside of your control that might have had an impact on the results of your experiment.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bird of the Week - Vll

This weeks "Bird of the Week" is the 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.

Photos taken from All About Birds.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bird of the Week - Vl

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Mourning dove. Believe it or not, the Mourning dove is one of the 10 most abundant birds in North America. This medium sized, pigeon like bird is about 9 - 13 inches long with a wing span of approximately 15 - 18 inches. It has a small head with a long pointed tail and a light grayish-brown body. There are black spots on its wings. The sexes similar in appearances, but the males are slightly larger and slightly more colorful, with a bluish crown and pink chest.

Mourning doves feed mostly on ground, especially on relatively bare ground, where they eat seeds. Mourning doves usually feed in pairs or flocks.
In many states in the country, the Mourning dove is a game bird, meaning that it can be legally hunted.

To hear a two minute radio program about the Mourning dove, click here and then click on Play MP3
Photo taken from All About Birds

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bird 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.

Photos taken from Cornell's All About Birds.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New England Aquaium's "Women in Science"

On Thursday 6 girls had the special opportunity to attend the New England Aquarium’s “Women in Science” program. Ten Greater Boston middle schools were selected to bring 6 girls each to this program. Lily, Jane, Isabella, Sarah, Larissa, and Claire won the lottery we held to determine who from my 4 groups could go. Mrs. O’Connell joined us and the 8 of us left Parker a little after 7:00AM!

We arrived a little after 8 and signed in, had breakfast, and found out our schedule for the day. The first session was a behind the scences look at several various aspects of the aquarium. Jane, Sarah, Claire and I went behind the sciences of the Cold water exhibit where we observed the large Octopus. The girls, and me, got to touch and feed the Octopus. She would latch onto our fingers, hand, and arms with its suction cups. We also saw up close and personal sea anemones, lobsters, sea clams, and a Goosefish.

Lily, Jane, Larissa, and Mrs. O’Connell went behind the scenes to observe the breeding Jellyfish. These jellyfish are part of an ongoing exhibit.

 They also hand a first hand experience with the where the aquarium stores their creatures used for their Outreach program. The girls observed and handled Sea stars, Sea scallops, Moon snails, Spider snails, crabs, and Sea urchins. The scientists and aquarists talked to the girls about their jobs and the skills needed to perform the jobs.

For second part of our morning, we revolved through 3 stations. At each station there was a scientist, an assistant and an Aquarium volunteers. They shared with the girls their story of how they became involved with marine sciences and the various volunteering and job opportunities at the aquarium.

The first rotation was an introduction to the Aquarium’s Rescue & Rehabilitation program. The Aquarium staff showed their emergency response vehicle and demonstrated the various materials and resources they had at their disposal to help sick and injured seals, turtles, and other marine mammals.

These second rotation had us observing the marine mammals they were rehabbing and working with. We started off with the Harbor seal that they keep outside.

 The staff was feeding them and discussing the various needs of these captive seals. Our 6 girls also had a “private” viewing of a feeding going on at the other end of the tank. The access door was open for the staff member to feed the seals and she let the girls get really close to them and showed the girls the hand signals she used to make the seals turn in circles. The girls quickly got he 3 seals doing 360’s! We saw a Fur seal and heard how the scientists train and rehabilitate these creatures.

Our last rotation had us learning about the Penguins on exhibit at the Aquarium. There are 4 different species there and we learned about the Penguins and the care involved with them.

We had a great pizza and salad lunch followed by an IMAX showing of the film, “Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean”. It was great!

We then return to the aquarium where we had free time to explore the various exhibits. We had the drag the girls out of there at 3:30!

The girls were great! They asked lots of insightful questions and took full advantage of the opportunities presented to them!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Measurements - Finding the volume of a rectangular prism

All matter has a volume.  We have practiced finding the volume of a liquid using a graduated cyclinder.  The last couple of days, we have been learning how to determine the volume of a rectangular prism. 

Using the formula  V = L x W x H, the students have been measuring wooden blocks to determine their volume.  The metric units used are cubic centimeters (cm3).