Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can Matter Change It's State?

This week we investigated the question, "Can matter change it's state?"  Each team of students had a beaker of crushed ice and heated it up for 20 minutes.  They recorded the temperature of the contents of the beaker every 30 seconds.  The students graphed the data.

Monday, December 19, 2011

BOTW XV - Monday, December 19th, 2011

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the White-breasted nuthatch. The "upside down" bird is a common bird of deciduous forests and wooded suburbs. The White-breasted Nuthatch can be seen hopping headfirst down the trunks of trees in search of insect food. It frequents bird feeders and takes sunflower seeds off to the side of a tree, where it wedges them into a crevice and hammers them open. In winter, the White-breasted Nuthatch joins foraging(feeding) flocks of Chickadees and Tufted titmice. This behavior helps protect the flock of birds from predators.

The White-breasted nuthatch is about 5 -6 inches long and has a mass of between 18 - 30 grams. It's upper parts are blue-gray with a bright white face and underparts. It's long bill is straight or slightly upcurved. The males and females look alike with the male having a black cap and the female having a grayer cap. They eat insects, seeds, and nuts. Its call is a yank-yank-yank.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Happens to Matter When It is Heated?

Yesterday and today we did three different activities to help us understand what happens to matter when it is heated or cooled.  The three activities were called, "The Ball & Ring" activity, "The Mood Ball" activity, and the "Balloon on a Flask" activity.

The classic "Ball & Ring" demo!

It's expanding!

Now it's contracting!

A real nice sketch of the Ball & Ring demo showing the expansion and contraction of a solid.

A very good write-up of the Ball & Ring demo.

The students were able to clearly see that matter expands when heated and ccontracts when cooled.  When heat energy is added to matter the molecules move faster causing the substance to get bigger, or expand.  When heat energy is taken away, or cooled, the molecules slow down causing the substance to contract.
  The students also observed that this meant that the volume of the substance increased when heated and decreased hen cooled.  Some students were able to make the connection that heating or cooling a substance could change its density.

The "Mood Ball" activity showing that liquid expands when heated and contracts when cooled.

Hard at work!

Another fine sketch of the days activity!

A very good write-up of the days activity.

Heated air expands.

A very nice sketch of the "Balloon on a Flask" activity showing the expansion and contraction of a gas (air) due to heating/cooling.

Monday, December 12, 2011

BOTW XlV - Monday, December 12th, 2011

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Cooper's hawk. As the backyard bird feeding season gets underway, be on the outlook for this fleet hawk dashing into your feeding station and grabbing a bird for a meal! The Cooper's hawk is a medium sized hawk with rounded wings and a long tail. Adults are steely blue-gray above with warm reddish bars on the underparts and thick dark bands on the tail. Juveniles are brown above and crisply streaked with brown on the upper breast. Cooper's hawk and Sharp-shinned hawks can be difficult to tell apart. Here is an article that points out the differences between the two hawks.

The Cooper's hawk rarely flaps its' wings continuously when flying, but rather flies with a flap - flap - glide pattern.

Cooper's hawks frequent wooded habitats from deep forests to leafy subdivisions and backyards. They use their long tail like a rudder so that they can maneur quickly through trees, bushes, etc. in pursuit of its prey - small birds. An attack maneuver they will sometimes use is to fly fast and low to the ground, then up and over an obstruction to surprise prey on the other side.

First photo from:
Second photo from All About Birds.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Is Air Matter?

We jumped right into our unit about Matter by asking the question, "Is air matter"  Our working definition of matter is:  Matter is anything that has weight and takes up space.  We the a demonstration called, "Tha Flask" to help us see that air does take up space.  Next, we massed a balloon to see that air does have weight.

Study Parties!

The past two mornings I have held 7:15AM Study Parties for the upcoming test on Density.  I brought in a box on Munchkins to help them "study".  Each party had more than 20 kids in attendance!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Density - Is all water the same? - 11/30/11

1. Which is denser, warm water or cold water?
2. Which is denser, salt water or fresh water?
Hot water (red) is less dense than cold water (blue).


Let's get some of this ice, cold water!

Carefully layering the fresh and salt water.

Fresh water (yellow) is less dense than salt water (green).