In science we have been learning about rocks and minerals. Mr. DeWire taught us how to identify rocks based on their properties.
We also learned that there are three types of rocks: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic.
Rocks are classified as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic depending on how they form.
Here is a video with three students and our good friend Perezoso the sloth that explains how these different rocks are formed. We hope you like it!
(A special thanks to Nora’s 1st grade brother for being the voice of Perezoso!)
In science we are learning about rocks and minerals. To get us started, our friend Mr. Dewire from “Nature Scapes” visited our class to share some cool rocks with us.
Properties of Rocks
Mr. Dewire told us that there are six properties that we can use to tell rocks apart. Remember, we already learned that properties are ways of describing things in science. So here are the six ways to describe rocks and tell them apart:
Rocks of Connecticut
We also got to see some of Connecticut’s most common rocks. They are:
(This post was originally posted on the collaborative blog Our World Our Numbers. Be sure to visit that blog for lots of great posts from elementary classes around the world.)
We wanted to add a post about some animals from Connecticut, but couldn’t decide on which local animals to talk about (there are so many!) So we decided to share information about our state mammal, the sperm whale, even though we don’t really see them here in Connecticut.
Sperm whales are amazing animals. They aren’t the biggest whales in the world (the blue whale is much bigger), but they are the largest of the toothed whales.
We made a VoiceThread about sperm whales and the incredible number facts that help to explain them. We tried to compare some of these numbers to a typical 3rd grade student (8-9 years old). We hope you enjoy the VoiceThread!
(You can watch it in a larger format here.)
(Sperm whales are massive, but blue whales are even bigger! Here is a link to an amazing interactive about blue whales from national Geographic.)
In science we are learning about Properties of Matter. Properties of matter are the ways that we can describe and compare matter.
Some physical properties of matter are: flexibility, absorbency, transparency, hardness, buoyancy, and many others.
We did a science activity to investigate the properties of:
Solubility - if an object of matter dissolves in liquid, Buoyancy - if an object sinks or floats, and Density - how thick different objects of matter are.
We wanted to see if an egg could become buoyant. Normally they sink, so we wanted to see what would happen if we changed the water they were in.
We added salt to the tap water, one teaspoon at a time. Salt is soluble, so it dissolved easily in the water.
After each teaspoon of salt, we put the egg back in to observe the result.
If the egg wasn’t floating, we added another teaspoon of salt and stirred it in. Then we tested the egg again. We recorded each teaspoon of salt that we added.
Here is a slideshow of our experiment:
Eventually, all the eggs began to float!
Then we recorded the final data, and wrote down why we think the egg began to float.
Our new science unit is all about Properties of Matter. Properties of matter are the ways that we can describe matter. Some physical properties of matter are: weight, texture, color, absorbency, transparency, and many others.
We did a science activity to investigate the property of Buoyancy: if an object sinks or floats.
Mr. Salsich gave partners a limited amount of materials to try to build a boat that could float and also hold marbles. We tried to see how many marbles our boats could hold without sinking.
Here are the materials we were given:
A 6″ x 12″ piece of tinfoil, 6 popsicle sticks, 4 rubber bands, 4 straws, 2 pieces of sponge, and one piece of modeling clay.
We didn’t have to use all the supplies, but these were the only materials we could use.
Here is a video showing what we did and what we learned:
(Special thanks to Ryan’s mom for helping test the boats!)
Last week we ate fruit from the prickly pear cactus. Prickly pears grow in the dry habitats of the southwestern United States.
We first learned about prickly pears when our classmate Cole brought back some prickly pear pads and fruit from his trip to Arizona.
Mrs. Fraher’s class also sent us some prickly pear jelly (which was delicious!) but we wanted to try to the real thing.
Mr. Salsich got some prickly pear fruit from the supermarket for us to try. When the fruit is sold in a store, the spines and stinging hairs (“glochids”) have all been removed, so they are safe to hold and to eat.
Here is a video of us trying the fruit, with our reactions to it, and some of the things we learned from eating it:
Today we started practicing for the World Education Games, which will officially take place March 5-7.
Every year students from all over the world compete in friendly, 60 second competitions of math, spelling, and science. It is a great way to get faster at math, spelling, and keyboarding – and it is a lot of fun!
When we played today we played against students from as far away as Nigeria and Hungary, but we also played against some of our friends right in the classroom!
It will be fun to have practice games, and the real thing on March 6, 7, and 8 will be very exciting. Last year 5.9 million students from over 235 countries combined to correctly answer 293,571,830 math questions! Wow! How many will we answer this year?
Since part of the fun is seeing what country you will be playing against, we will keep track of the countries we have played against in the comments.
Click here (or in the Learning Links) to visit the website and login to compete with students all over the world.
Our last post was about the blazing hot desert habitat of Arizona. This post takes us to the opposite extreme – the frigid arctic habitat!
We learned a lot about habitats and adaptations in the fall. Now we are also learning about how to write informational paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting details.
As a class we wrote some informational paragraphs about the arctic habitat. These were our four main topics – Arctic Conditions, Physical Adaptations of Animals, Behavioral Adaptations of Animals, and Plant Adaptations.
Here is a slideshow of our paragraphs. The topic sentences are highlighted in red.
Can you find some good “transition” words or phrases in our paragraphs?
We have also been practicing fluent reading and speaking. So, a few of us rehearsed the paragraphs and then read them for a video about the arctic habitat. We used a “green screen” to make it look like we were actually in the arctic!
Here is the video:
We have been interested in the desert habitats of Arizona since the beginning of the year. Maybe because we have a huge papier mache cactus and life-size desert diorama in our classroom!
And also because in September our classmate Cole went to Arizona and brought back lots of cool stories and specimens!
Here are a few pictures of what Cole brought back from the desert:
A few weeks ago we received a package from Mrs. Fraher’s third grade class in Gold Canyon, Arizona with some souvenirs from the Sonoran desert.
Here are some pictures of what they sent us:
They also sent us postcards, newspaper articles from their town, and a piece from a “jumping cholla” cactus, which we had to be very careful with because the spines can hurt a lot!
Finally, we had our first video chat of the year with our desert teachers from Mrs. Fraher’s class.
The Skype call was lots of fun and They shared some amazing facts with us about the desert habitat where they live.
During the Skype call we learned more about cholla cacti, prickly pear cacti, and roadrunners. Here are some of the facts we learned:
Prickly pear cactuses are covered in spines; long needle-like ones and tiny hair-like spines. The small spines are called glochids and they are much more painful and harder to remove than the long ones.
These cacti grow in flat segments called pads. The pads face east and west so they don’t get the full force of the sun during the day.
Prickly pears grow a juicy, sweet fruit that is purple. The fruits are covered in the small hair-like spines.
Many animals have adapted to avoid or ignore the spines and eat the juicy pads and fruit. The prickly pear is an important food supply for birds, insects, and mammals such as jackrabbits and javelinas.
Roadrunners are birds in the cuckoo family. They have X-shaped feet with two toes in the front and two in the back. This helps them stay balanced and run extremely fast. Roadrunners can speed along at 17 miles per hour!
They have long tails that they use as rudders to help them steer.
Roadrunners mainly feed on insects, fruit, and seeds but they will also eat snakes, lizards, and bird eggs. They love quail eggs!
Sometimes two roadrunners will work together to kill larger snakes. They will kill the prey by using a strong blow with their beak to the base of the snake’s neck, or they will bang the prey’s head against a rock.
Thank you to Cole and Mrs. Fraher’s class for helping us learn more about the deserts of Arizona! Be sure to check out the great desert posts on Mrs. Fraher’s class blog.
This website from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has lots of great links to learn more about desert plants and animals.
Two weeks ago, on October 29th, the east coast of the United States got hit by a massive hurricane named Superstorm Sandy.
Here is a picture of the hurricane on October 28, the day before it hit us:
When the storm hit us in Connecticut we got strong winds that knocked down hundreds of trees and lots of flooding from the ocean storm surge.
Many of the downed trees fell on power lines, so most of us lost electricity for almost 5 days! Because most of the town was without power, we didn’t have school for a whole week. While there was a lot of damage to the town and it was difficult without power, luckily no one was seriously hurt.
When we got back to school last week we talked and wrote about our experiences from the hurricane. Here is a slideshow of some of our writings and photos we took from the mighty storm: