Spring Storms

The children love to talk about the weather, and since our springtime is so stormy, I decided to talk about storms today, especially tornadoes. After our discussion, the students investigated the vortex within a tornado tube.


Tornadoes form from thunderstorms, though every thunderstorms does not generate a tornado. An unstable column of warm air rising within cumulus clouds can start to rotate because of changing wind directions at or near the ground. These updrafts create conditions where a funnel might develop. If conditions are right and a funnel forms, it can extend to the ground, forming a tornado.


Investigating Color

Students spent some time exploring the Colored Shadows station I had set up, which affords them an authentic experience regarding the additive properties of color.  Next, we talked about sources of light and about how all the colors in white light are there all the time, but some of the colors are absorbed while others are reflected. Finally, each pair of students got a palette with only red, yellow and blue paint, and they tried a little color mixing of their own!

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The Forest

This week, the children learned about the layers of the forest, then they drew a forest habitat and added forest animals.

A tree’s upper branches are called the crown. The canopy is a horizontal layer of tree crowns making up the top layer of a forest.
The understory includes the shorter trees in the forest. Some are young trees, but others are trees that are just growing slowly because they don’t get much light filtering through the dense canopy.
Forest Floor
The forest floor, beneath the understory, includes leaf litter, rocks, fallen logs, stumps, small plants, moss, mushrooms, and seedlings.
The subfloor includes everything underneath the ground, including soil, rocks, roots, and animal tunnels







Freshwater Ecosystems

I apologize in advance for not having pictures of the students working. They were just having so much fun sharing information about the lakes and rivers and oceans they had visited with their families, that I forgot to get out the camera!

After our discussion I read Frog in a Bog, a lovely book illustrating the interaction between all of the living organisms and non-living elements in this ecosystem.

We went on to find out more about freshwater environments such as streams, rivers, watersheds, ponds and lakes. The students did some drawings in a take-home booklet of the animals and plants they might find in a pond habitat. 


Discovering Circuits

We had a great discussion
today about energy, then
the students investigated
circuits using Energy Sticks.
  • Energy is light
  • Energy is heat
  • Energy makes things grow
  • Energy makes things move
  • Energy runs machines
  • Energy doesn’t disappear

An  Energy Stick makes quite the “buzz” when you’re using it. To the untrained eye, it appears to be a plastic tube with a jumble of wires inside and two silver bands at each end. Well, those silver bands are actually electrodes. All the wires on the inside? They’re a solid state sensing circuit, tone generator, sound transducer, battery power supply, and LED lights. The perfect use for the Energy Stick is as a simple, yet fun, tool for learning about continuity and circuits.