Life Science: Jen

Students in life science have begun to explore the concepts of sustainability and inquiry (formerly called the scientific method). We began by looking at scenarios to identify problems, ask experimental questions and research background information. In addition, we have spent time out back in the trees observing our surroundings. Each student has chosen a “sit spot” that will be theirs for the entire year and have begun to look at the scene through the lens of a scientist. While learning about research during our inquiry study, students were so excited about the idea of global climate change and making changes to stop it, that two students are creating a lobbying campaign with signs to invest in renewable energy and one student has decided to do a grassroots effort by talking with everyone he knows and encouraging them to call their senators and representatives.

Physical Science:  Ryan

Our first unit was Methods and Measures where students performed experiments in order to learn about various units of measure such as the centimeter, gram, and milliliter.  When we experiment, students fill out a graphic organizer structured on the scientific method, which guides them to think about and record the important parts and details of the process.  Our class learned about air resistance, terminal velocity, opposing forces, and acceleration due to gravity by making egg parachutes and throwing them out the window on the second floor into the multi-purpose room (gym). That experiment helped us turn the corner into motion where we continued to explore this topic through hands-on experiential learning followed by classroom discussion, note-taking, and written reflection. Students played ping pong and then diagramed the vectors and forces involved, thereby merging fun with academics, my ultimate daily goal!

Earth & Space Science: Ryan

Our first unit of the school year was Geologic Time, which explores Earth’s 4.5 billion years of history and identifies the timeline on which major events of development, evolution, and dynamic change took place. Students have learned the order of the Eons, Eras, Periods, and Epochs and have identified species of life that have lived in each Epoch.  This puts the hominin, and Homo Sapien existence into perspective as we learned that if we equate 4.5 billion years of history to a 100 foot clothesline, Homo Sapiens came on the scene five hundredths of an inch from the end (i.e. quite recently). From Geologic Time we’ll be moving on to Rocks and Minerals and explore one of Vermont’s unique geologic features nearby in Burlington at Rock Point, which boasts a first class example of a thrust fault. Leaving the classroom regularly to explore the natural world and conduct field research is an essential part of this class.  We’re enjoying our experiments inside (recently we slingshotted golf balls into play sand to observe how impact craters are formed, the ejecta that results, and how this is related to the K-T boundary, which marks the extinction of the dinosaur world wide) as well as our jaunts outdoors!