Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Surviving the PSSAs



Over the last few weeks, we have been working very hard to complete the PSSAs in reading, math, and now science. All the hard work does have its perks because we have been able to have some time to be creative and to play. We just wanted to share a little snapshot of some of the things we have been doing to "just be kids" after all of our hard work!

We just played! Tag, gymnastics, and learning how to make grass whistle were all fun to try!

We also did some creative indoor activities! While this is one of our successful runs, we had many other attempts at some crazy domino creations!

video


Friday, April 1, 2016

The Scientific Process

This week we started looking at the scientific process in more detail. The scientific process is the steps a scientist takes to come up with a do an experiment. We started by looking at the first two steps: observing and asking questions. Many people think it takes something special to be a scientist, but all you really have to be is observant and curious. You have to look at things carefully, think about what you know, and then ask questions!

To get some hands on experience with this, we split into five teams. Each team was given a wrapped box, and we had to use four of our five senses (no tasting, please) to figure out what was in the box. We are working on being very specific with our observations so we can explain why we came up with the inference we stated for the contents of the box. We ended up finding out that being a scientist can be very challenging, but it is also a lot of fun!

This small orange box made lots of people wonder about the contents!

Although this box was bigger, it didn't feel very heavy.

It was difficult to write our observations because we were all pretty sure we knew what was in this box!

For it's small size, this box was pretty heavy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We Have Eaglets! UPDATED!

The first egg in the Pittsburgh nest has hatched!! You can view them by clicking here!

Here's a screen shot from dinner time tonight (Tuesday) around 7:00 PM. The second egg should be hatching  sometime in the next 12 hours!


The second egg DID hatch around 9:40 last night. Here are some pictures from breakfast time this morning a little after 8:00!




Sunday, March 20, 2016

The State Capitol

On Wednesday, the Bair's Den and the other classes on Team 4A travelled to Harrisburg to tour the state capitol building and the Pennsylvania State Museum.

The capitol was VERY busy, so we didn't get to take the normal tour. We spent just a few minutes on the second level of the rotunda. Even though we were there a short time, it was very obvious that the building really is priceless. There was beautiful artwork, and everything is covered with gold leaf!



The ceiling of the rotunda from the steps - a good view of some of the original artwork and gold leaf
After we left the rotunda, we visited the House of Representatives. Even though they were getting ready to go into session, we were able to learn about how the house members conduct votes, the stained glass windows that represent Pennsylvania's industries and resources, and the GIANT lights! One large light weighs as much as an elephant!

A view of the 203 seats in the House 

An example of one of the stained glass windows in the House of Representatives ~ there are similar windows in the Senate

A man who is 6 foot tall can stand inside these large lights to change the bulbs.
After leaving the House we had just a moment to walk through the Senate chamber before they started their session. It was very beautiful, but we were not allowed to take any pictures. After we finished our tour we were able to visit the interactive welcome center and have lunch before we headed off to the museum.

While there were many exciting things to see in the museum as we completed our scavenger hunts, we were most excited to see the original Charter of 1681. King Charles II of England repaid a debt owed to William Penn's family by giving Penn land instead of money. The Charter of 1681 was the official document written by the King's representative that gave this land to Penn. While there is always a copy of the charter in the museum, this year the original Charter was on display to celebrate the 335th anniversary of PA becoming a colony. It was really cool to hear about the charter, feel the material it was written on (they had a sample), see an example of the King's official seal, and see how different English was written long ago.

The first page of the Charter of 1681 kept in a temperature and humidity controlled case
One of the middle pages of the Charter - there are 4 pages all together

The final page of the Charter - the only signature on the document is in the lower right corner - it is the signature of Pigott, the King's representative who actually wrote the document. The King's seal represented his official signature.
There were some other important documents from the archives as well. One was the actual document that abolished slavery, and the other was the land grant in which the Lenni Lenape tribe agreed to allow William Penn to live on the land that was given to him by the King of England.

Treat between the Native Americans and William Penn

While a busy capitol made for a short tour, we were very lucky to be able to see this incredible documents at the museum. The capitol building and museum are both open to the public to tour if you and your child would like to do more exploring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Natural Wonders of the World

Thanks to a vote for informational and historical fiction reading, the kids in Mrs. Bair's reading clinic are currently learning about the 7 Wonders of the World. In ancient times, there were seven amazing creations that were dubbed the 7 Wonders of the World. Unfortunately, of those 7, only the Pyramids of Giza still remain. As part of the millennium celebration, a new list was created. And addition to the 7 finalists many other sites around the world were shared as wonders of nature, science, and technology.

Each student in the clinic is going to have the opportunity to pick from this list of 7 wonders, create their own list of questions, and create a presentation to teach the other students about the wonder. While we had some time to check over these during clinic today, many of the kids wanted to look over them at home, too. Below you will find out list, along with some new additions that I thought the kids might be interested in learning about! Happy researching!

Chichen Itza
Great Wall of China
Machu Picchu
Taj Mahal
Colosseum
Petra
Empire State Building
Itaipu Dam
CN Tower
Panama Canal
Channel Tunnel
Golden Gate Bridge

*Great Pyramid of Giza
Space Needle
Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
Burj Khalifa
Niagara Falls

Friday, February 19, 2016

Science Olympics

Yesterday we had a very exciting morning in the Bair's Den. As part of our unit on the scientific process and scientific tools, we have been learning about the different tools that scientists use for measuring and observing. We also talked about the units that are measured by each of those tools.

While it's important to understand what the tools are and what they measure, our most important lesson was HOW scientists use tools. Measuring is a very exact activity, and it takes a lot of time and patience to measure anything accurately.

To practicing our measuring skills we participated in 8 different activities that included the standing long jump, the estimation challenge, the left handed sponge squeeze, the dictionary drag, the paper plate discus, the big head challenge, the right handed cube grab, and the temperature challenge. By completing these challenges, the kids developed their skills using thermometers, measuring tapes, rulers, meter sticks, trundle wheels, balances, and a graduated cylinder.

Take a look at the pictures below to see the Olympics in action!

Grabbing cubes and determining their mass in grams

Estimating and measuring the hallway using a trundle wheel

Measuring how far we jump in the standing long jump

How many grams of force does it take to move a dictionary?

How far will a paper plate fly?

Squeezing water into a graduated cylinder to practice measuring volume

Timing 2 minutes to see the temperature of our hands

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Eagles are Back - Updated!

Today we were excited to find out that the bald eagles are back in their nest! We were able to see them adding many leaves to the nest to prepare for laying eggs! You can follow the eagles 24 hours a day by clicking here!

Thanks to Bronsyn, we have another eagle cam to follow! The Hays eagles are located near Pittsburgh, and they already have laid one egg that they are incubating in their next! You can check out their nest by clicking here.