Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Science: Endangered Species

After finishing the Eclipse Festival, the intermediate students brainstormed a 'wishlist' of science and social studies topics that they wanted to study next. They voted and narrowed it down to two choices:  government or endangered species. 
Before the deciding vote, the students that suggested each topic stood up and gave a small speech in defense of choosing that topic. In the end, endangered species was selected because they liked that it had the social responsibility aspect as well as learning about the biology of the animals. 

Students selected an endangered species to research. In addition to learning about the animal, they also learned about their ecosystems, adaptations it has made to help it survive, reasons it has become endangered, and how we can help protect it. 
Students conducted research and wrote research books using multiple sources and created biomes of their animals' ecosystems.

They prepared presentations for the primary students. In their presentations, they needed to introduce the scientific name, explain the habitat/ecosystem, describe their animal's food chain, and discuss why they are endangered and how we can help.

They met with Mrs. Martin to talk about the threats to their species and conservation efforts.

On Presentation Day, the animals were grouped according to their habitat. wolverines and gray wolves live in the forest.

Red pandas, bonobos, South China tigers, black-headed spider monkeys, white tiger, and leopards live in the rainforest.

Otters are marine animals and megaladons were marine animals (they are extinct).

Black-footed ferrets live in the grasslands. (This student brought in her pet ferret as well!)

Snow leopards live in the cold tundra.

To begin the presentations, a few students introduced the concept of endangered species to the primary students and then the presentations began!

As part of the social aspect of this unit, the students developed and presented practical ways to help protect animals, both endangered and not.

Following the presentations, the primary students walked around to each animal biome to fill in a fun fact about each animal on their handout.

To conclude this unit, the intermediate students chose a school-wide effort to help protect an animal. 
We learned about a program through the Cincinnati Zoo in which cell phones are collected to help save gorillas. Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan that is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa. By collecting and donating cell phones, Coltan can be extracted and recycled to prevent further habitat destruction. 

For the next several months, we will be collecting old cell phones and will be looking for opportunities to expand that effort into the community as well. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Flight with Mr. Brisco

For the past five weeks, the intermediate students have studied flight with Mr. Brisco. More specifically, we focused on the four forces of flight: thrust, lift, drag, and gravity. In studying these forces and Newton's Laws of Motion, the students used the scientific method to set up investigations and experiments. After each experiment, students integrated their labs into spreadsheets and created a slideshow or prezi outlining what they learned. 

To test thrust, the students launched rockets.

Here is a slide created by a student from this experiment:

To test lift, the students conducted an experiment in which they used the 'wind' from a hairdryer on see how the air going around the wing causes it to go up. 

Here is the slide from a student from this experiment:

They tested drag by creating different shaped parachutes and helicopters and tested each one to see which was most effective.

They tested gravity by exploring how heat can make balloons rise. The students were divided into two groups and each group created their own design for a hot air balloon. Then, they went outside to test their models.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Eclipse Festival 2024

After a month of hard work, the students wrapped up the eclipse unit by inviting the primary class to attend their Eclipse Festival. Since the actual eclipse isn't until 2024, this is meant to be a simulation of what the real thing will be. To prepare for the event, the intermediate students used resources in the classroom or at home to create booths for their businesses as well as items for purchase.


The primary students were given $100 of Monopoly money to spend at the festival and a form to fill out as they go from booth to booth deciding where to spend their money. 

Of course, the students had to first pay for their event ticket.

Next, students paid for parking and then decided on lodging. 
For the outdoorsy visitors, tents were available to rent or patrons could rent space and use their own tent.

For those looking for luxury, The Play Palooza Plaza offered visitors all-inclusive packages featuring nice rooms and unique activities. As an added incentive, price cuts and free pizza were offered to the first students to book a room with them. In addition, students could win a diorama of a room as well as a free 2nd class room by purchasing raffle tickets. 

For animal-lovers, the Paw-za Hotel catered to patrons with pets by having pet-friendly rooms and a cafe that offered human and animal fare. They even offered pet-sitting services for people that wanted a little break from looking after their pets during the festival!

The Eclipse Festival featured a variety of food booths. Logan's Pub had many different pub foods available for purchase such as chicken pasta, salad, and lemonade. 
As vendors made sales, they kept a log of each item and the money earned. 

For a sweet ice cream treat, festival-goers visited Liliana's Creamery. She offered many delicious flavors and even created a special flavor to celebrate the eclipse!

As with every festival, the safety of the patrons is very important. The First-Aid tent was run by a passionate, qualified student. Since you never know when heat exhaustion or a scraped knee will happen, Mrs. Martin would randomly select students to report to the first-aid tent for treatment. Even pets could receive treatment!

When planning for the Eclipse Festival, a few students pointed out the popularity of souvenirs to remember an occasion. These students opened Chavi's Palace selling a variety of items, many of which featured their logo. They sold bracelets, keychains, t-shirts, and stickers. They also offered raffle tickets for a chance to win a solar system puzzle.

Towards the end of the Eclipse Festival, some students had money left over so the intermediate students decided to take up a collection for hurricane relief using the now-empty band-aid box from the first aid tent!

The primary students had such a great time going from booth to booth spending their "money"!

After the booths closed, it came time to choose the raffle winners!

Finally, the main event: the total solar eclipse! Each student received a pair of eclipse glasses and watched as intermediate students simulated the total solar eclipse that will be seen in Dayton in 2024.

Field Day 2018!

As is tradition for the last day of school at Hillel, we spent a beautiful morning at the park for Field Day! We began the day with morni...