Monday, November 30, 2009

Bird of the Week - Xll

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Dark-eyed junco. The Junco is a medium sized sparrow that is gray with a black hood and a white belly. It has white, outer tail feathers that are quite visible when it flies. It's eyes are dark, it's legs are pink, and it's bill is "whiteish". The male and females look similar with the females being a little more paler and browner.

 The first photograph is of a male and the second photograph is of a female.

Junco's are the "snowbirds" of our area, appearing around here only in the winter. They are very common at back yard bird feeders and will sometimes appear in flocks of 25 birds or more. The Junco feeds primarily on the ground, scratching the ground looking for insects and seeds.
Photos taken from All About Birds.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Annual Turkey Trot - 2009

The Turkey Trot is annual tradition here at Parker.

One student from each homeroom is selected to play Pin the Waddle on the Turkey. 

Whichever student comes the closest to pinning the waddle on the turkey has a turkey donated in their name to Turkeys for America.

This organization gives turkeys to families in need during the holiday season.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Determining Density

During the past several classes, we have been determining the density of various objects.  Density = M/V.  The units are g/cm3.

The students have been using the electronic balance scale to determine the mass of the objects. 

For the rectangular prisms, they are using their ruler to measure the length, width, and height of it.  Then, using the formula L x W x H, the students determine the volume of the prism.  The units are cm3. 
 They record all their data on a data chart.

Bird of the Week - Xl

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bird of the Week - X

I chose the Red-tailed hawk as this week's "Bird of the Week" because there was one right outside my classroom window eating a squirrel it caught this morning!  The Red-tailed hawk is the most common and widespread hawk in North America.   It is a bird of open country, but also frequents woodlots and suburban backyards. It is frequently seen sitting on utility poles where it watches for rodents in the grass along the roadside.

This large hawk has long and broad wings. It's wing span is between 45 - 52 inches. That's 4 1/2 feet! The tail is broad and red and most commonly has a pale chest and dark band across it's belly.
The Red-tailed hawk is a sit-and-wait predator, usually watching from elevated perch and then flying down to capture small and medium-sized mammals, birds, and reptiles. It will take young birds and squirrels out of their nests sometimes.

Around here, the Red-tailed hawks' nest is a large bowl of sticks in tall tree. You may also see their nest atop of a utility (light) pole along the highway.
While many eastern Red-tailed hawks migrate, there is a sizable number that live around here year-round.
Photos by Mr. Williams

Friday, November 13, 2009

Measuring the Buoyant Force

Using the tanks of water, fishing bobbers, string, suction cups, and a spring sale, the students measured the buoyant force of the fishing bobbers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sink or Float? - Clay and Aluminum boats

During the past several days the students have been exploring buoyancy.  They took a small, 30g. piece of clay and watched it sink when put into their tank of water.  Their objective was to see if they could get the clay to float and keep at least 2 marbles afloat for 30 seconds.  Almost everyone was successful, with some students getting as many as 9 marbles floating in their boat!

Next, the students were given 2 different sized squares of aluminum foil, one 4" x 4" and the other 8" x 8".  They first predicted how many marbles the small boat could hold and then tested their prediction.  They did the same for the large square of foil.  Some of the large boats held over 100 marbles!