Exploring Oobleck March 7, 2014Posted by MrMusselman in Science, Student Work.
Tags: Grade 1, matter, Memorial, Mr. Musselman
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Students all over Burlington celebrated Dr. Seuss and his imaginative tales by “Reading Across America” this past week. In many classes, students tied in the reading of “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” with a mysterious matter investigation of their own!
First graders at the Memorial School spent several minutes exploring oobleck before sharing description words they could use to explain how oobleck felt, smelt, and behaved. After more exploring, students were prompted with the question, “Is the oobleck a solid or a liquid?” Students were asked to pick one of the two phases of matter and provide a reason for why through evidence they gathered while trying to describe the oobleck.
In the end, most students thought the oobleck was a liquid, using reasons such as, “it’s wet like water,” “it’s able to stretch,” and “it’s milky.” For many classes oobleck makes for a fun start to a deeper exploration in matter.
Connecting STEM and American History Through Water Wheels February 12, 2014Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center, Student Work.
Tags: engineering, Grade 3, interdisciplinary, Mr. Musselman, Pine Glen, video
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Across all of the Burlington elementary schools, third graders visit the Boott Cotton Mills at Lowell National Historic Park as a keystone piece of their social studies curriculum. While there the students learn about the conditions that made Lowell such a great place to cradle the American industrial revolution and get a chance to see and feel what living in and around the mills at the time would have been like.
With Social Studies and Science sharing a block of time, the teachers at the Pine Glen school used the Lowell Mills experience to develop a relevant engineering challenge for their students: constructing water wheels that work!
In the week following the students trip to the Mills, Mr. Musselman from the Science Center introduced the challenge by sharing a short video of the simple machines at work in the Boott Mills and a brief presentation explaining how they were connected to a system of canals and water wheels beneath the mills. The following days were spent using the design process in to accomplish the students engineering goals of developing a water wheel that would rotate many times under the flow of a two-liter bottle of water.
Students impressed with a variety of water wheel designs, some that worked better than others. While students worked independently to create their first water wheel “prototype,” students watched one another’s test runs to glean valuable knowledge and experience about which design flaws to avoid, and which to emulate in their own water wheel improvements.
Many of the products were held on to and stored by the Science Center to use during this year’s National Science Teacher Association’s conference in Boston where Mrs. Jane Lynch, Mr. Musselman and a few Pine Glen students will be sharing their experience with fellow science teachers from across the state and country as they challenge themselves to build water wheels of their own and bring the experience back to their classrooms!
Eggsperiments! February 11, 2014Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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As part of the fourth grade chick hatching experience, each classe participates in “eggsperiments.” During these activities, students learn about the chicken egg, its parts and their function for the growing chick inside. They discuss the scientific process, make hypotheses, record their observations and discuss conclusions about the eggsperiments results.
Eggsperiment #1: Are all chicken eggs the same size? Studments explore and measure the size of each egg. They record their results on a chart and can graph the results.
Eggsperiment #2: How to tell a hard boiled egg from a raw egg? Students explore the differences between a raw and a hard boiled egg. They have to determine which one of their dozen eggs is hard boiled without opening it. There are discussions about states of matter and changes in matter when something is cooked.
Eggsperiment #3: Where is the shell? A chemical reaction! Students observe what happens when an egg is placed into a cup of vinegar. They record their initial observation and continue to record their observations over several days.
Eggsperiment #4: Floating eggs and egg strength! Students discuss the strength of an egg, what the shell is made out of and particpate in different strength tests. Students also observe what happens to an egg in water when salt is added.
Eggspeirment #5: The incrdible egg-egg dissection! Students examine the parts of the egg and familiarize themselves with the function of each part for the growing chicken inside.
Chick Hatching Program February 10, 2014Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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At the Burlington Science Center, we offer a variety of hands-on materials, programs, workshops, exhibits, and resources to aide in teaching Science to 90 elementary classrooms and over 2,000 students in the town of Burlington, MA. Our program is a way of bringing the “museum” way of teaching and thinking into a public school setting. We also offer experiences that are difficult for a normal classroom teacher. Chick hatching is one example where we collaborate with the classroom teacher to bring science to life in front of their students.
Chick Hatching can be a wonderful experience. However, there are many pieces to the chick hatching puzzle. It takes time and effort to hatch living things in the classroom and there are several things to consider before moving forward with such a project. You must have proper directions, supplies, care methods, and safety/health information before hatching live chickens (or any animals) in the classroom. You must also have a farmer who can supply the eggs and take the chickens after they have hatched. I have developed an information packet called “Recommendations for Chick Hatching in the Classroom.” This packet has important questions to ask yourself before deciding to do this in your classroom. You are welcome to contact us if interested in this information.
The overall purpose of the classroom chick hatching program is to help students learn more about the life cycle and behavior of a chicken, while observing live hatching in the classroom. The students will have experiences with live animals, and they will have opportunities to care for the animals for one week after they hatch.
In Burlington, classroom teachers are given relevant information regarding all steps to the hatching process while the Science Center manages the project through the entire hatch.
The eggs are grown in a master incubator at the Science Center for 18 days. There is an activity called “21 Days to Hatch” where students can follow the development of the chicks using plastic holiday eggs and a sheet with chick development cutouts. The eggs are candled once a week to check for fertility and correct air cell development. We have filmed educational videos showing the students a “behind-the-scenes” view of what goes on before the eggs come to their rooms (the master incubator at the Science Center, the candling process). Classroom incubators are delivered to each classroom a week before the hatch and are set up with help of the Science Center.
Before the eggs are delivered to the classrooms, I teach a grade level program on chickens and eggs. The program includes content on birds, eggs and life cycles. I use hands-on Science props (real eggs, model of chicken anatomy, nest box) for visual aide. A live rooster and hen from the farm accompany the program toward the end. The program fosters surprise and excitement within the students. There is a question and answer session at the end for any questions the students or teachers may have.
On the 18th day, the eggs are delivered to the individual classroom incubators and hatch over the next 3 days.
The chicks are then placed into a brooder box (living environment) and are observed in the class for 1 week. The chickens are then returned to the farmer.
Here is a link to a video of the chicks moving aorund in their brooder box.
When our students reach Burlington High School, I often ask what their most memorable experience was from the Science Center. Most common answer is “Chick Hatching.”
Exploring Changes in Matter January 30, 2014Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
Tags: Grade 4, matter, Mr. Musselman, Pine Glen
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Mrs. Visocchi’s fourth graders took on an ambitious new challenge from the Science Center over the past week. Students were asked to explore a variety of physical and chemical changes and determine if new substances of matter had been created or whether the matter there had simply changed form.
Students were first challenged to share what they knew about changes in matter around their home and school. From there, investigations were underway as students observed what happened when different types of matter such as ice, chocolate, salt water, and kool-aid were heated up. Many students realized these changes did not create new substances, but others were less sure and curious about the mysterious gases rising from some of the different pans of melting material.
More investigations were run the next day as groups of students moved from station to station exploring the changes in color between cabbage juice and many home cleaning fluids, the “reaction” between alka-seltzer and water in a rapidly expanding plastic baggie, and the observable decomposition of an apple left out for several days.
All the while students recorded their observations and shared evidence with one another of whether new substances had been made or not. For a grand finale, students observed the change in sodium polyaclorate and water to form “instant-snow” and designed experiment to see if a new substance had been made or if the water could somehow be extracted from the powder again. A few experiments were put to the test, with some powder left out by the window sill over the weekend and others put to the test by Mr. Musselman and his closed system of pipes and graduated cylinders designed to capture the mysterious gases rising from the snow (which were discovered to be water!)
All in all the week long investigation was a huge success, with student performing hands-on investigations, using persuasive evidence to support their claims of new substances being made (or not) and digging deeper into matter, its forms, and its properties. We thank Mrs. Visocchi for allowing her class to be a “guinea-pig” for new lessons from the Science Center we hope to bring to other schools in the future!
Pine Glen Students Play Meteorologists of the Future January 14, 2014Posted by MrMusselman in Student Work.
Tags: Grade 2, Pine Glen, video, weather
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The second grade students and teachers have been busy this past month learning about weather conditions, severe weather storms, and emergency preparedness for dangerous weather events.
Recently the fruits of their labors were shared with the Burlington Science Center. As second grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson writes, “[The] second grade students worked really hard with Miss Fallon and their classroom teachers to create weather forecasting videos. Mr. Callahan helped put it all together. Check them out below we are extremely proud of their efforts! Check out Mr. Callahan’s blog to learn more about how these green screen videos were made.
We couldn’t be prouder either! We here at the Science Center are always mindful of the tremendous work our classroom teachers put in to make our students’ science experiences go above and beyond! Check out each classrooms videos embedded below:
Mrs. Lane’s class
Mrs. Varrell’s class
Mrs. Anderson’s class
May the FORCE be with you! January 7, 2014Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
Tags: forces, Fox Hill, Francis Wyman, K-5, Memorial, Miss Pavlicek, motion, Mr. Musselman, Pine Glen
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This year the Science Center took the Burlington elementary students on an out-of-this-world investigation of the forces that surround us!
Gravity, Newton’s laws of motion, friction, and electromagnetism were all on display as students offered predictions, shared explanations, and volunteered to be a part of the many demonstrations Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman shared through the hour long show.
Students predicted whether balls of different weight would fall at the same or different speeds, replicating the legendary experiment by Galileo on the Tower of Pisa. Students were amazed by the strength of the force of friction between the pages of two phone books that could not be pulled apart. They laughed at the “Loco” Motion Swing as it rolled in the opposite direction of the swinging volunteer, demonstrating Newton’s Third Law of Motion ! But what really stood out to students was the amazing force behind the pencil cannon during the grand finale!
Our hearts were warmed by the wonderful thank you letters written and illustrated by Mrs. Coates class. It’s clear they enjoyed watching the show as much as Miss P. and Mr. Musselman enjoyed performing it!
Thanks to teachers Kim Cook, Carrie Casey, Kelly Floyd, Patrick Murphy and Stephanie Smith for taking these great photos and film of our show. Keep an eye out for the show in its entirety on BCATV later this month!
Students Explore the Science of Static Cling with Digital Simulations! December 17, 2013Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
Tags: electricity, Grade 3, Mr. Musselman, Pine Glen
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Students in Mrs. Doherty and Mrs. Cunha’s classrooms turned to their digital devices to shed light on the invisible world of electric charges. Using free simulations available on the web from the University of Colorado’s PhET program, students first observed how balloons are attracted to sweaters after they are rubbed together in real life with the help of a charged Mr. Musselman before turning to the school’s iPad cart.
With initial observations already made, Mr. Callahan helped students use Qrafter to quickly link to the balloon and sweater simulations online. From there they were asked to simply “explore” and record any surprised they discovered as they recreated the experiment, and toggled options on and off such as introducing a second balloon to the experiment and a wall that the balloon surprisingly appeared to “stick” to as well!
Towards the end of class the students gathered on the rug and shared their most notable observations. Mr. Musselman recorded them on the board, emphasizing important vocabulary words such as charge, attract, repel, positive, and negative. Students did an excellent job, with Mr. Musselman leaving very impressed at the keen observations and conclusions students were able to draw about electric charges!
Enjoy Holiday Mood Cards from the Burlington Science Center! December 13, 2013Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
Tags: experiment, heat, K-5, Miss Pavlicek, Mr. Musselman, video
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This week all Burlington K-5 students will be coming home with a special holiday science experiment from the Burlington Science Center. The holiday mood cards may seem magical but the “thermochromic” properties of the liquid crystals they are made from will lead to plenty of science investigations!
Watch this video to hear a brief explanation from Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman about the many ways you can explore heat energy with the mood cards over the holiday break. The Burlington Science Center wishes the entire Burlington community a joyful and safe holiday break. See you in 2014!
2013 “Name the Alligator Contest” Winner! December 11, 2013Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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The Science Center would like to congratulate Jaden Brehm (Grade 2-Mrs. Small’s class at Francis Wyman School) for winning our “Name the Alligator Contest.” He received an award plaque and a goody bag of science prizes. He also had his picture taken for the front page of the daily Burlington newspaper. Be sure to look for it!
The Science Center hold this contest very year for second grade. The alligator is used for the second grade reptile program by the Science Center and also for other programs throughout the schools.
Thanks to Joe Brown for taking pictures for the newspaper. http://www.joebrownphotos.com/