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Investigating the Sun with our First Grade Sky Scientists September 27, 2017

Posted by MrMusselman in Science, Student Work.
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Photo Sep 26, 1 09 34 PM

Over the past two weeks, first graders at all of the Burlington elementary schools have been starting their exploration of the patterns we see in our sky by observing their shadows to answer the question: Does the sun move in our sky?

Just about every first grader acknowledges that the alternating day and night we experience is a pattern, but how and why this pattern occurs is often a mystery. To help uncover this mystery, Mr. Musselman has been spending time with each and every first grade classroom outdoors with chalk, clipboards, and some clever use of student feet to observe and measure how student shadows change over the course of the day and how it relates to the sun’s position in the sky.

Students work together (just like scientists!) to trace one another’s shadow.

Early morning shadow measurements at Pine Glen with Miss Jackson’s first graders.

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Then they record the time of day and the length of the shadow by counting how many steps they can take toe-to-toe.

Measuring our morning shadow length with our footsteps.

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Once the measurements have been taken and the time recorded, students add this information to a chart, collecting their data for the day on the chance a rain shower might come and wash their shadow tracings away!

Recording our shadow data into our notebook.

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Later in the day the students record to observe the changes to the length and direction of their shadow. Many students are surprised to see just how far their shadow has moved. They take time in their notebook to describe the new location of their shadow in the sky, sometimes using the cardinal direction they are facing (with the help of Mr. Musselman’s compass app) or by describing an object on the ground that the sun is over.

Afternoon shadow sketches. What happened to the sun?! #bpschat

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Our shadow is a little bit slanted! What does this tell us about our sun?

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The results are in. Our shadow changed and the sun has changed its place in the sky! #bpschat

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Students also take time to observe the shadows of their friends and look for patterns there too. Do all of the shadows appear to be pointing in the same direction? Are all the afternoon shadows shorter or longer than the morning shadows? Are these patterns too? Students answer these questions and make predictions about where they think a shadow might be cast later in the day before wrapping up their day 1 investigations with Mr. Musselman.

On day 2 students return to their shadows once more around the same time they visited the previous day. Is the shadow the same or different? What do we think our shadows will be like at this time during the winter? We will have to investigate more then to find out!

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Tidepool Create-a-Creature Activity June 21, 2017

Posted by bsciencecenter in Science Center, Student Work.
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The Science Center takes all first grade to Marblehead Neck for a parts and function field investigation of tide pool animals.  When the students return, they brainstorm about the animal, their parts and their functions.  They then imagine, design and create a new tide pool creature.  They test their creature in a mock tide pool bin to see if their animal survives the motion of the waves.  Check out the video of some first graders from Fox Hill sharing their “create-a-creature” and putting their creations to the test!

Flamingo Experts Visit Memorial First Graders April 1, 2015

Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
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When Mrs. Panagiotopoulos’ writing chose flamingos as the subject of their research project, Mr. Musselman put in a call with some friends at the Stone and Franklin Park Zoo. The Stone Zoo is home to one of the most successful flamingo hatcheries in the United States! Fast forward to this afternoon, when zoo educators Miss Marley and Miss Caitlin came to visit Mrs. P’s class and share some feathery facts with the curious first graders.

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Miss Marley with video from the flamingo hatchery at the Stone Zoo.

 

Miss Marley and Miss Caitlin started by sharing some video filmed by the chief flamingo curator talking about some of the special things zoo keepers do to keep track of the flamingos and their offspring, set to hatch next month. They put little bands with different colors on the flamingos’ legs to indicate whether they are male or female.

Because the shrimp-like krill flamingos eat can be expensive, zoo keepers feed the local flamingos a mix of nutrients that flamingos need in a mix they call “flamingo chow.” Students got to look at the flamingo chow using magnifiers.

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What do we find in “flamingo chow”?

 

Flamingo feathers come in pink, white, and black. Students got to touch the feathers and feel the difference between the soft underside and smooth outside of the feathers.

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Flamingo feathers are beautiful!

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Observing the soft side of flamingo feathers.

Students also got to touch a replica flamingo skull and real pieces of flamingo eggs. They were much larger than the baby chick eggs hatching in their classroom right now!

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The flamingo egg was very fragile!

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Checking out the flamingo skull.

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Flamingos are filter feeders. Their beaks help them catch krill in the water.

 

We would like to thank the zoo educators, Marley and Caitlin for coming out to Burlington and visiting our classroom and the Science Center!

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Miss Marley with a baby chick from the Science Center!

 

Investigating Light and Sound at Francis Wyman January 20, 2015

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Before holiday break, all the first graders at Francis Wyman were busy investigating light and sound energy.

All along Ms. Farmer was good enough to take photographs of the students experiments, observations, data records, and science diagrams. Thank you so much Ms. Farmer! Her blog with all of her unit photos can be found here.

There was lots of fascinating science phenomena on hand as students explored how sound waves traveled through different types of matter and observed how objects of different shapes and sizes created different sounds.

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While exploring light, students used special glasses to decode hidden messages in the scramble of letters. This led students to realize that some light flows through objects better than others, which led us to experiment with even more materials to determine which ones blocked light, bounced light, or allow light to pass through the best.

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Exploring Oobleck March 7, 2014

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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!

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Students exploring oobleck.

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What words can we use to describe oobleck?

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.

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“The oobleck can be stretched into different shapes!”

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“Oobleck is squishy!”

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.

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“Oobleck can break into many parts.”

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“Oobleck takes the shape of the cup!”