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Protect that Popsicle! Sun Shade Engineering June 14, 2017

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On the hottest day yet this year our Francis Wyman Kindergarteners were furiously planning, collaborating, and building their sun shelters to protect Mr. Musselman’s popsicles! As the year winds down all of the Kindergarten classes will be partaking in this challenge… just as long as the sun stays out! Thanks to Mrs. Duncan for sharing these photos of her classroom’s constructions!

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Exploring Magnetic Forces with Francis Wyman Kindergarteners May 11, 2017

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Mr. Musselman opens with a “magic”… oops, he meant magnetic ladybug!

Scientific thinking and investigation is a big part of Mr. Musselman’s magnet program for Burlington Kindergarteners. Yesterday it was Francis Wyman’s turn as Mr. Musselman performed three programs to six kindergarten classrooms. During the program students are frequently asked to observe the magnets revealed through the program with their “science observing glasses”, keeping a watchful eye for patterns in the magnets’ properties (such as their poles) and the way in which magnets behaved when close to one another!

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These bar magnets poles are attracted to one another!

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Unbelievable! The magnetic poles of the same kind repel!

Students put on their “prediction hats” to make educated guesses about which materials would attract to the magnets. Many guessed that all the metals would… but to our surprise only some did!

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Prediction hats ON! Which materials in our “pond” will attract to the magnetic fishing pole?

Students also learned the difference between permanent magnets and Mr. Musselman’s incredibly strong but temporary electromagnet! The students were in uproar when four students were unable to out pull the electromagnet in Mr. Musselman’s version of tug-of-war!

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Its an electromagnet tug-of-war! Who will win? The kindergarteners or the electromagnet keeping the rope connected?

A special thanks to Mrs. Duncan for sharing these pictures of her and Mrs. Marsh’s classroom. The Science Center is looking forward to developing an updated “Push and Pull” forces unit for Kindergarteners next year. The magnet program is sure to be an exciting part of this new curriculum.

Kindergarteners “Protect the Popsicle” in Engineering Challenge June 14, 2016

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Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Parnell are wrapped up their year long investigation of weather and temperature with a challenge putting students engineering skills to the test! Our newly developed “Protect the Popsicle” challenge pits students love for these summer treats against the ultimate source of light and heat energy, the sun!

Students in both classes investigated how heat causes many kinds of matter to melt before investigating the many kinds of shade shelters humans already use to stay cool, particularly in the summer sun!

Protecting the popsicle with our shade structures. What materials do we need? #elNGSSchat

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Students then designed and constructed solutions to the challenge of keeping a popsicle frozen in the sun with the help of a shade shelter. Students then considered how to test the shelters, ultimately deciding it would be best to put them out in a sunny spot outside because “we want to be challenged.”

Finally have a nice day for Mrs Duncan's students to test their shade shelters and protect the popsicles!

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The results were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Teachers poured what had melted after roughly 10 minutes into a graduated cylinder and kept the frozen contents in the plastic sleeve before asking students to consider how they could tell which shade shelters worked the best. Students were able to determine that their shelters worked well because “more freezepop was left in the plastic” than Mr. Musselman’s control popsicle left out in the sun. Then students counted up from their amount of melted popsicle to Mr. Musselman’s with the help of unifix cubes and other counters to determine the difference between the sunny and shaded popsicle!

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Thanks to Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Parnell for working on developing and piloting this new kindergarten engineering challenge! We are excited to share it with all of the Kindergarten teachers next year! Check out Mrs. Duncan’s blog post for even more information and pictures on how the challenge went.

“Superfish” Explores Aquarium Creatures Parts and Functions with Kindergarteners January 26, 2016

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Memorial kindergarteners observing the octopus suction cups during their Superfish show! #bpschat

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Every year before Burlington Kindergarteners venture to the Aquarium, Mr. Musselman visits the school to explore the many different creatures special features in a show known as “Superfish.”

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Students learn that all animals can be broken down into two groups, those that have a backbone and those that do not. These creatures are known as vertebrates and invertebrates.

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Mr. Musselman highlights creatures students will want to stay on the look out for, and asks students to imagine how their different parts help each creature survive. Students share how the mollusks shell provide protection, as do the exoskeletons of the horseshoe crab and lobster. One lucky volunteer gets to observe first-hand how the suction cups of a seastar keep them safely glued to the rocks of our shorelines.

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The “Superfish” comes out toward the end of the show as Mr. Musselman describes the different parts and functions that all fish share. A great white shark jaw fossil makes for great intrigue, but is outdone when students line up at the end of the show to examine an octopus close up (before seeing a live one at the aquarium later in the week.)

Up in the Clouds with Mrs. Hoyt’s Kindergarteners November 19, 2015

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Kindergarteners offer answers as to why predicting the weather is so important.

On Tuesday Mr. Musselman visited Pine Glen Kindergarteners in Mrs Hoyt’s class to take part in her “Everybody Reads” series! He brought along one of his favorite books as a child, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judy Barrett. Mr. Musselman tied in the imaginative story of wild weather in the land of Chewandswallow with students own “Weather Wednesday” investigations. The class discussed why it was so important for the people of Chewandswallow to predict (make a thoughtful guess in Kindergarten speak!) what the weather would be like and how they would prepare for the weather each day.

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cumulonimbus cloud can bring heavy rains, wind, and even lightning!

As a follow up, Mr. Musselman came in again on Weather Wednesday to share with students how clouds can be used to predict the weather. Students examined different kinds of clouds and shared what kinds of weather they would have to prepare if they saw these clouds outside their window. Mr. Musselman wrapped up the presentation by showing students how to make their own cloud, stopping at each ingredient to give students time to think about where on Earth they would find heat, water, and cold air to construct the much larger clouds in the sky!

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Our cloud is so thick we can’t see through it! Warm water, cold air, and a little dust and smoke was all it took!

 

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Our classroom cloud even came with its own rain! It’s “stuck” to the bottom of the cold pie pan but could fall on us at any second… watch out!

The Curious Mystery Animal November 1, 2013

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Mr. Musselman recently collaborated with Laura D’Elia, Dan Callahan, and Kindergarten teacher Mellissa Parnell on developing a unit where students explored animal families while learning how to read and glean important facts from notes and other non-fiction. Their full blog post can be found on the PineGlenLTC blog here.

The curious mystery animal gave kids a chance to not only learn about animal families and pick out important facts from reading but make claims using evidence, an important scientific practice! The concept of visualizing data in the form of a graph was also introduced when “Dr. Curious” visited the Kindergarteners to hear their persuasive arguments first hand.