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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Owl Pellets Part 2

Last Friday we wrapped up our owl pellets experiment. Not only was it EXTREMELY interesting to discover all of the creatures our owls had eaten, but we also learned some important lessons about scientists. It became obvious pretty quickly that we had to take our time and be quite careful as we were opening our owl pellets. If we went too fast we could break or damage bones, or we could have missed some of the smaller bones completely. If we went too fast, we could also break pieces off the larger bones, especially the skulls.

Bronsyn and Rommel examining their bones

Steph and Hunter working slowly and carefully to discover bones

We all really wanted to see the skulls to try and find out what types of animals we had. By looking at the shape of the mouth and seeing the location of the teeth we could determine whether we had a mole, a shrew, or a mouse.

A pile of bones including a skull, left side of pile, and a hip bone (alone at the top)

After uncovering as many bones as possible none of the groups found remains of birds. Many of our owls had eaten either mice or shrews, but we believe we also found the bones of another small creature, a vole.

It was easy to see why it takes scientists to long to make new discoveries. In order to be safe and use the tools properly, without messing up the experiment, it takes a lot of time and perseverance to complete a task. We are really looking forward to working on more experiments to use tools and hone our scientific skills.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Owl Pellets

Last week we began our unit on the tools and processes scientists use to conduct experiments and learn new thing. We very quickly realized that doing an experiment is more about learning something new rather than actually having the experiment work out the way you thought it would.

In order to put our brand new knowledge into practice, we starting conducting our first experiment that focuses on using tools safely and correctly and following the standard scientific process. We are dissecting owl pellets!!!

Ask your child to tell you about his or her owl pellets, and the steps we took to begin dissecting the pellets. We'll be continuing to explore our pellets the next two days, but to keep you all in the look we wanted you to enjoy these pictures from today!