Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Skype with a Scientist

Over the last month, both of the classes had the opportunity to participate in a program called, "Skype with a Scientist" that I discovered online. This program matches classes with scientists who talk about what it's like to be a scientists studying in their particular field.

The Bair's Den AM had the opportunity to Skype with Kathy, a marine biologist who studies coral reefs and sponges. She is particularly interested in discovering a way to find out corals are sick earlier than people can now to help protect our fragile coral reef ecosystems. You can check out some photos of the work she is doing by clicking here and checking out these pictures from one of her research trips.

The Bair's Den PM had the opportunity to Skype with Sara, a environmental scientist who is studying the effect of climate change in polar regions. She shared a very interesting presentation with us, and she even incorporated everybody's animal from their ecosystem projects into her presentations!

Sara talking about how our animals fit into a food web and what happen if those animals disappear.

We watched her on the big screen, and she could see us from Mrs. Bair's computer.

It was really surprising to hear how climate change affects every animal!

The AM class had the chance to ask questions and asked Kathy about her favorite sea creatures she's studied, how she uses the scientific process every day, what kinds of tools she uses and how she collects data. The PM class had questions all ready, but we didn't get the chance to ask Sara our questions that day. We are hoping to Skype with her again after the PSSAs are over.

We are really thankful that we had the opportunity to meet these amazing women, and it was really interesting to hear how they are using the same process we have learned about in our class!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Being Scientists

This week we started our unit on the scientific process, so we're learning the steps scientists use to complete scientific experiments. We started by talking about how scientists use their observation skills to notice things in the world around them and to help them make a hypothesis. We have been putting our observations skills to keen use by watching the bald eagles and their newly hatched eaglets!

You can check out the live eagle cam here!

Some of the observations we've made so far are:


  • The eagles don't throw up the food for the babies. They just feed them small pieces.
  • The eaglets peep a LOT!
  • The parent eagles don't leave the nest for very long.
  • They eat mostly fish, but they did eat a duck or a goose the other day.
  • Eaglets are white and fluffy when they hatch.
  • It takes a long time for an eaglet to hatch - several hours to almost a whole day!
  • Eaglets are very wiggly, but they also sleep a lot.
  • It's hard for eaglets to sit up when they first hatch, but they get good at it pretty quickly.
We are excited to see more of what we've learned about ecosystem in action as the eaglets, hopefully, grow up. But we know there could be some sad lessons about nature, too. We're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

Here are some screen shots of the eagle family!

The parents sitting on the eggs on a rainy day


Daddy eagle checking the baby and the hatching egg. The hole is called a pip, and then the egg cracks from there.
The two eaglets waiting for mom or dad to come back from hunting

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ecosystem Expo

Thursday, March 9 was a very exciting day for us. After weeks of learning about ecosystems and a week of hard work creating ecosystems, we had the opportunity to present our animals and their ecosystems to friends and family. The students did an amazing job teaching our visitors about abiotic and biotic parts of an ecosystem and teaching everybody about the living things. I am so proud of everybody's hard work and thankful that everybody was able to come and share in our successes.

If you weren't able to attend, it's okay! Everybody will be bringing their boxes home on Monday, along with an interview sheet. You can conduct your child's interview at home just like we did here at school. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from the event!

video

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Owl Pellets


Over the last few weeks, we have been learning about ecosystems. An ecosystem is the interaction between all biotic (living) and nonliving (abiotic) things in an environment. We learned that every ecosystem, no matter where it is located, has four abiotic things. Ask your child what these 4 things are!

Once the abiotic things are in place, the living things of every ecosystem starts with the producers - a fancy name for plants. Plants are called producers because they produce their own food. We learned about this when we learned about photosynthesis. Producers are the key to every ecosystem because they have all of the energy. Once you have producers growing, then you can see consumers in an ecosystem. There are also four kinds of consumers! Ask your child to tell you about herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, and scavengers and what they eat.

With all of the living things in place, we can start to talk about food chains and how energy is passed through a chain so that the living things can survive. We have also talked about what would happen if one part of the chain was broken because a living thing became extinct. That's where the energy stops, and it can have drastic effects on all of the other parts of the chain!

In order to look more closely at food chains, we did a science experiment on Friday to answer the question, "What animals are part of an owl's food chain?" By examining owl pellets, we were able to find out that owls eat a variety of rodents and even other small birds. We had a great time making a connection between what we've been learning and the real world, and we are looking forward to building our own ecosystems the next two week!

Please enjoy this slideshow of us exploring our owl pellets!