Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fossil Dig






STEM Family night was so much fun! We had a fossil dig in the lab courtesy of the Florida Institute of Phospahte Research. The megaladon teeth were huge! The kids enjoyed a challenge of helping "Mr. Digsalot" excavate a site.

Hovercraft




We used the engineering design process to make a hovercraft. We started out with paperplates, film canister (or vial), modeling clay, and a balloon. However, even after cutting it smaller, the paperplate was too heavy. We redesigned it using a cd and added the straw (cut in half) as a modification for steering. What a fun activity! The clay all over my lab tables, not so fun. :)

Wildlife Biologists



During our final unit, "Circles of Life," our kindergarten students are wildlife biologists. We have explored every animal and insect on our campus! We discovered and are doing a study on our school's family of hawks. We have Harry Hawk, Henrietta Hawk, and Baby Hawks. The nest is quite large and located in a tree outside of the kindergarten building.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pond in the Butterfly Garden

In our pond, in the butterfly garden, our tadpoles have turned into frogs! Hundreds of baby frogs! The local newspaper photographer was there today for our butterfly release...pics soon to follow.

Praying Mantis tragedy






We were looking forward to our newest lab addition, but after 8 weeks, nothing. The egg cases feel spongy, the humidity and temperature have been what was recommended, and nada! I think I am more disappointed then the students! So, of course we had to do an eggtopsy and find out what went wrong. We found eggs inside of the egg case, but when we checked them under a microscope, no movement. Is it too soon? I am keeping an egg case just in case we did not wait long enough. I guess our newest project is on hold until next year...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

silkworms

   Did you know that silkworm larvae have an anal horn? Well, neither did my second graders, but we checked it out under the microscopes today (pics soon to follow). They eat only mulberry leaves (luckily our school nurse, Miss Debbie has mulberry growing at her house) and a lot of them. A  silkworm multiplies it weight 10,000 times from time it is hatched until about 4 weeks later when it has enough energy stored to start spinning its cocoon. 
    The coveted secret of silkworm cultivation began 5000 years ago in China. Sericulture (the production of raw silk by raising silkworms) spread to Korea and later to Japan and southern Asia. During the eleventh century European traders stole several eggs and seeds of the mulberry tree and began rearing silkworms in Europe. Sericulture was introduced into the Southern United States in colonial times, but the climate was not compatible with cultivation.
   Today, researchers use the silkworm to study pheromones and hormones due to their small size and ease of culture. This makes for an interesting class conversation! Today, while checking them out under the microscope, I hear, "Mrs. Lundquist, they are mating!" to which I reply, "No, they are just crawling over each other to get to the mulberry leaf that you took away from them!" So next I hear one say to his neighbor, "No, they only mate as adults, they are just wrestling." This still takes second place to my earlier earthworm hermaphrodite conversation I had with a kindergarten class. I love the little ones!

STEM Family Night




Our STEM family night is this Thursday from 6-8. Pizza, and icecream made with nitrogen!
We have a lot of exciting design challenges planned. MOSI and other community members in one of the STEM fields will be there also.

Sunday, May 27, 2012