Life Science: Jen
Students have learned almost everything there is to learn about the complex structures of cells at this point. Early in the year, we learned about organisms that were made up of just one cell and even organisms that had cell structures without “brains” (the nucleus) to control them. This month though, we put that knowledge to good use when we learned how all the different parts of the cell work together to stay in harmony. Students learned about the many different parts of a cell and even had to sell one on an infomercial, where they creatively explained the functions of their organelle and made a pitch that Billy Mays would have been proud of. We have since moved onto cellular reproduction learning about mitosis and meiosis. Students have learned the ins and outs of how our specific cells clone themselves on a regular basis and how specialized cells go through a much more complex process to make unique versions of each generation, so that they are not a complete copy. Ask your students what they know while they are creating amazing mitosis posters. Coming up is the study of how cells in plants and animals perform the complex processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and how those two processes are similar and different.
In February, students explored physics, studying visible light, how it moves, and how the eyeball translates light into useful information. We started an optics unit by learning/singing The Electromagnetic Spectrum Song by Emerson and Wong and discussed basic components of refraction, reflection, and absorption. Students designed experiments or re-enacted experiments done by others in lab and presented Google Slides to show their understanding. Finally, in early March, several students took part in the dissection of a cow eyeball to link the refractive properties of the convex lens with the lens in animal eyes and study the limitations and abilities of the eyeball to use light! Students who did not wish to participate in the dissection were asked to sculpt the eyeball out of clay and label its parts.
Earth & Space Science:
In Earth & Space Science, we’ve been learning about space, namely constellations and fun facts concerning scale and star systems. For example, while listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson on StarTalk, the students were impressed that one cubic centimeter of neutron star matter has the same mass as 200,000 elephants! We learned that some “stars,” such as the North Star (Polaris), are actually star systems, made up of multiple stars. On multiple occasions in February, the projector was set up in the music room downstairs, which would cast ten thousand stars onto the ceiling. Using a laser pointer, we eventually became quite familiar with stars like Dubhe, Thuban, Rastaban, Eltanin, Vega, and Grummium. Astronomy is an ageless discipline, full of wonder; it’s been an absolute joy to witness students befriend a sky of intimidating scale through the connection of constellations.