Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Separating Mixtures

We have begun our Chemistry unit. Yesterday and today we investigated mixtures. A mixture is a combination of 2 or more substances in variable amounts in such a way that they are not chemically combined.
We tried to separate the mixtures using mechanical means, i.e. picking out with tweezers, sifting, using a magnet for the magnetic items, filtering, and evaporation.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Myth Masters

Today, the sixth graders enjoy a great performance entitled, "Myth Masters". The show was funded by the Parker PTO and put on through the Young Audiences program. Three myths were performed today - Echo and Narcissus, Oedipus and Eurydice, and Phaeton and Helios.

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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bird of the week - XXlX

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Canada goose. The Canada goose is the most wide spread and common goose in North America. This large waterbird has a black head and a long, black neck with a white chinstrap. It's breast is a light tan to cream color with a brownish back and a white undertail. The sexes look alike. It's call is a loud "honk."

There are 11 subspecies of the Canada goose, varying widely in size, with some Canada geese weighing about 7 pounds and ranging almost up to 20 pounds. The Canada goose is a popular game bird, often targeted by hunters.
The sight of migrating Canada geese flying high in a "V" shape form in the fall is quite a sight. Over the past 60 years, there has evolved a fairly large, non-migratory population of Canada geese here in Massachusetts. Many of these birds have become a nuisance, fouling town commons, golf courses, playing fields, and water supplies.
Canada geese feed in flocks and are herbivorous. That means they eat a variety of plant species and parts, especially grasses, sedges, grain, and berries.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Testing the LINX Wind Vehicles

The students have been testing their Wind Vehicles. The challenge is to get their vehicle to go 8M in under 12 seconds, twice in a row.
If they accomplish this, they can try for extra credit by having their car pop a balloon and/or having their vehicle travel 10M in under 20 seconds. Several of the groups have earned both extra credits!

Cribbage Tournament

The 23rd Annual Parker Middle School - Senior Citizen Cribbage Tournament was held this past Wednesday.  16 seniors were paired up with 16 middles schoolers.  The Peer Leaders provided volunteers to help serve refreshments.  Every one had a great time!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

LINX Vehicles - Under Construction!

The students have been hard at work building their LINX wooden vehicle.  Measure twice!  Cut once!

Monday, April 5, 2010

MIT Museum Field trip - 2010

Last week, all of the students went to the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. All students participated in the Programming Mindstorms workshop. This is an introduction to programming robots workshop where they explored what makes a robot tick. The students used the LEGO Mindstorms NXT and NXT-G Programming Environment to get robots sensing, thinking, and moving.
The students also had a teacher-guided tour of the MIT Museum using a gallery activity guide put together by Mr. Williams. They toured the "Robots and Beyond" exhibit.
The "Holography: the Light Fantastic" exhibit.
and the "Gestural Engineering: The Sculpture of Arthur Ganson" exhibit.