Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Workshop - Cell Selfies

Today's Wednesday Workshop hosted 20 kids for free hands-on science at John Muir. Students were able to choose their own activity as usual. Four boys spent the entire hour and a half taking apart an old radio someone had donated to our 'take-apart table'. Some other students continued working on an artistic rendition of the solar system to decorate our wind tube with, some made intricate dolls fashioned from foam, corks and paper. A small group of fifth grade students prepared two slides by peeling off layers an onion & swabbing their cheeks. They then looked at, and photographed both types of cells under the microscope. They were able to see that the plant cells have more rectangular shapes (thanks to their cell walls) while the animal cells looked more like 'blobs' (with only cell membranes - no walls). The plant cell pictures above turned out magnificently! Their cheek cell pictures came out a little blurry and you can barely make out one cell in the top left corner of the bottom picture, but we thought the iodine and tooth pick scrapings made for some really interesting art! I'll definitely try this again with methylene blue for the cheek cells & have them identify the similarities as well as the differences.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Simple Machines & Circuits

"I love this place", says a kid who just made a parallel circuit powering a buzzer and a light.

      "I'm so happy to hear that, what do you love about it?"

       "Everything. It's awesome!"

The face of the girl in the picture on the left shined brighter than her super charged light when she finally closed that circuit. The group in the middle picture spent 45 minutes constructing massive series circuits with one another, and the two on the right were determined to effectively use a switch to connect their circuits.

Being our last week of physical science, and at the request of one of my favorite teachers, I wanted the 4th grade kids to have a hands-on experience with circuits. 4th & 5th grades started with a mess of wires, clips, lights, buzzers, motors, switches, batteries & solar panels in the center of their table and were given free range to make connections. K-2 visited six stations set up with examples of simple machines.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Community Science Workshop Network!

I'm thrilled to announce that the JM CSW is officially an affiliated site of the Community Science Workshop Network! You can check it out here - CSW Network. Yeah us!