Monday, April 30, 2012

Bird of the Week - XXX

Add caption
Male Ruby-throated hummingbird.

This little guy flew into a classroom window.

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. This little, brilliant jewel has just started showing up here in Reading. These little birds zip into your yard, hover, feed, and zip off. Hummingbird feeders and flower gardens attract these beautiful birds. The Ruby-throated hummingbird is the only hummingbird that breeds in eastern United States. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright emerald or golden-green on the back and crown, with gray-white underparts. Males have a brilliant iridescent red throat that looks dark when it’s not in good light. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly straight and fast but can stop instantly, hover, and adjust their position up, down, or backwards with exquisite control. They often visit hummingbird feeders and tube-shaped flowers and defend these food sources against others. You may also see them plucking tiny insects from the air or from spider webs. The Ruby-throated hummingbird spends the winter in southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

When you click on the link to All About Birds, be sure to watch some of the videos of them.
Photos from All About Birds and National Geographic.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

LINX Wind Powered Vehicles

First, we have to decide on a plan.

Carefully aligning their vehicle.
 To culminate our Energy, Force, and Motion unit, the students will be desihning, constructing, and testing a wooden, wind powered vehicle.  The students are working in teams of thre and their goal is to construct a vehicle with a base leass than 200 square centimeters that will travel 8 meters in less than 12 seconds and it must do this twice in a row.  This is our third day working on this project and the kids are off to a great start!

Here's a great looking sketch!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bird of the Week - XXIX

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.

Photos from All About Birds.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roller Coasters!

To better understand the terms average speed and velocity, the students designed and built simple roller coasters out of Hot Wheel tracks and other tracking material.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bird of the Week - XXVIII

Grey phase Screech owl.

Red phase Screech owl in a hole in a tree.
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.

This photo was taken by a former student of mine in her backyard.
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.
Grey phase Screech owl in a nesting box.

Painting done by Roger Tory Peterson,  From Bird Watchers Digest.