What Do You Mean, Pluto Isn’t A Planet?

For the last couple of days, we have been scientists questioning, observing, and analyzing. It’s been a lot of fun and the students have had a great time doing some fun experiments including testing the flight of paper airplanes. Yesterday, we continued as scientists as we studied a mysterious substance found in my backyard, called Oobleck. This mysterious green substance has some very unique properties which we took some time exploring as you no doubt discovered when they came home covered in dust! It does wash out, I promise. We started by talking about what properties are and how we can observe the properties of objects. Then I showed them the Oobleck! Kids had a great time mucking around. In doing this, the students discovered that Oobleck was not quite what it initially appeared to be! After a few minutes, students took some time to write down 5 unique properties of this Oobleck.

Yesterday, we set up a scientific convention. Scientists all over the world get together in conventions to discuss and debate important scientific discoveries and questions to come to a consensus on various issues. Scientists use these conventions to come to an agreed upon truth about various scientific issues and thus are very important in the advance of science. The example I gave to the students was the scientific convention where scientists came to an agreement that Pluto was to be demoted to the category of dwarf planet and was not to be in the same category as our other planets. There was a huge debate and lots of arguing but at the end of the day, scientists had come together and agreed to change Science.

So we had our own little convention today to come up with some truths about this mysterious substance. It was a great time arguing and voting. The kids came up with some great points. Here are some pictures from the convention:

We’re going to be doing some neat things in the next couple of days in Science so keep an eye out here for more news! In the meantime, here is a nice video by one of my favorite scientists, Bill Nye, talking about why Pluto isn’t a planet.

Also, I found this great article with pictures showing what we would see in our night sky if the other planets in the Solar System were as close as our Moon is to Earth. The first one is Mars:

Our moon is a pretty big object. It’s big enough to be a respectable planet in its own right, if it were orbiting the sun instead of the Earth. (Actually, it is orbiting the sun in a nearly perfectly circular orbit, that the Earth only slightly perturbs… but that’s a topic for another day.) The Moon is a quarter the diameter of the Earth. Only Pluto has a satellite that is larger, in proportion to the size of the planet it orbits.

But what if the Moon were size of Mars, instead? It would like the picture above. Check out how some of the other planets of the Solar System would look in our sky, if they took the Moon’s place.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

At a distance of about 240,000 miles, the Moon occupies a space in the night sky about half a degree wide. By sheer coincidence, this is almost exactly the same size the sun appears, which is why we occasionally get total solar eclipses. (We don’t get a total eclipse every time the Moon passes in front of the sun because the Moon is sometimes a little closer to the Earth and sometimes a little further away, so it will cover more or less of the sun during any eclipse.)

But it’s interesting to imagine what the night sky might look like if one of the Solar System’s planets were to replace our moon. (We’d have to ignore things like tides and gravitation, but that’s the advantage of doing things in the mind’s eye.) So what would we see if we were to replace the moon with Mars? The red planet is almost exactly twice the size of the Moon, so it would appear twice as big in the Earth’s sky. It would be easy to see with the naked eye details on the surface of the planet that were previously visible only through telescopes. You could watch the ice caps grow and shrink during the changing seasons, see dust storms form and move across the planet and make out features like Vallis Marineris and Olympus Mons.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

Venus is three and a half times larger than the Moon. It would be nearly as large in our sky as the Earth appeared to the Apollo astronauts, when they were walking on the surface of the Moon. There wouldn’t be too much to see, other than vague swirling patterns in the dense, ivory-colored cloud cover. (We’re pretending, of course, that Venus would still have the same atmospheric conditions if it were in essentially the same orbit as the Earth.) It would be an amazingly bright object, however — much brighter than our moon. Not only does Venus reflect six times more light than the Moon, it covers an area 40 times larger… so the night skies would seem as bright as daylight.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

Neptune is more than fourteen times larger than the Moon — and now we’re talking about something that would look really impressive. It would loom like an enormous blue balloon in the night sky. And dominate the daytime sky, as well. All other things being equal, an eclipse of the sun would seem to last forever. Once the sun disappeared behind the edge of the “moon” earth would be plunged into darkness for over an hour and half.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

Uranus, which is nearly the same size as Neptune, would provide a very similar view.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

Saturn would be an astonishing sight. Almost 35 times larger than the Moon, this golden globe would cover nearly 18 degrees of the sky. We’d be a little further away from Saturn than its satellite Dione. In fact, we’d be more likely to be a satellite of Saturn ourselves than the other way around. The rings would stretch nearly from horizon to horizon.

What if we had a planet instead of a Moon?

Jupiter would trump them all. Forty times larger than the Moon, Jupiter would stretch 20 degrees across the sky. It would also look a little different from the telescopic and spacecraft photos we’re used to seeing. This close, we’d be looking “up” at the northern hemisphere and “down” at the southern hemisphere, so the cloud bands would be distinctly curved in perspective. In fact, we’d not be able to see the north and south poles of the planet.

To visualize Jupiter taking the place of our Moon, we really have to use our imaginations. Since we’d be about the same distance from Jupiter as its satellite Io, the earth would be subject to the same tidal stresses caused by Jupiter’s immense gravitation. We might have a much more volcanic-looking landscape around us. There might also be little evidence for life since we’d also be in the midst of Jupiter’s deadly radiation field. But as I said at the beginning, we have to make some allowances for imagination!

Eye Spy With My Little Eyes . . .

Hey everyone!!!

Recently, we have been looking at the properties of Oobleck. Do you remember what properties are? We can find the properties of objects around us by using our 5 senses; what we see, feel, hear, smell and taste.  So,

Properties are the things or words we use to describe different objects so we can tell them apart.

We played with and investigated the properties of Oobleck to help us understand what made Oobleck different from other substances like water or play-do. You had some wonderful properties you discovered as you worked with the Oobleck.

I also had told you that Scientists themselves did not understand why Oobleck had such strange properties but they are working very hard to find out more just like we are!!!! However, the big announcement was that Oobleck was actually a combination of cornstarch, water and green food colouring. You can actually make your own.

1. Mix two parts cornstarch with 1 part water. Get your parents to help you with the measurements. You may have to add more of each to get it perfect. You need to have more cornstarch than water though.
2. Add a couple of drops of food colouring.
3. Play and have fun.

Here is a video showing what Oobleck does when you put it on top of a very loud speaker!!! What do you notice? Would water do this is you did the same thing? Why don’t you try it and find out?

Yesterday was a blast! Literally! To end off our look at Oobleck we took alook at Mars. Now you may be asking what does Mars have to do with Oobleck? Well, that would be a good question!! We talked about Mars because the scientists who created the Mars Rover had to go through the same process to create the Mars Rover that the students did to create their Oobleck Machines.

In the first part of our Oobleck unit, the students had to think about Oobleck, play with it, explore, discover, experiment, test, observe and use their senses. Scientists had to do the same thing. They had no idea what Mars was like and yet had to use what they had (pictures, etc) to come up with a machine that could withstand anything that might happen.

The scientists held a convention to share their ideas, discuss, argue, put ideas together and listen to each other. The students had to do the same thing to create their rules for Oobleck. Finally, both the scientists and students had to use all their observations and ideas to create and design a machine they thought would be able to function on Mars or Oobleck. We had an amazing time discussing and sharing ideas and pictures.

I also showed the students an awesome video showing the Mars Rover leaving Earth and landing on Mars and all the things the Mars Rover had to do in order to land safely and function properly on Mars once it got there. Here is the video:

Oobleck Machine Project

I know that our Oobleck projects have been done for awhile but I wanted to have a chance to showcase our Oobleck machines. If you remember, we had designed our Oobleck machines to deal with the properties we had discovered in Oobleck. We had discovered that Oobleck gets hard when it is squeezed, soft when it is loose in your hand, and is somewhat sticky. Using those rules of Oobleck, students needed to design a vehicle that could handle those conditions as if it was going to be having to drive on a lake of Oobleck.  Now, you can just come and see the finished projects in the hallway outside Mr. Shinness’ office, but that wouldn’t be using cool technology would it? So, here are all the finished projects in an awesome Animoto video.

If you would like to create your own bowl of wonderfully, thick and messy Oobleck, here is a recipe you can use.

Oobleck was the name given to a type of slime in a Dr. Seuss book that was capable of gumming up a whole kingdom. The oobleck the you can make for a science project isn’t gummy, but it does have interesting properties of both solids and liquids. It normally behaves like a liquid or jelly, but if you squeeze it in your hand, it will seem like a solid.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10-15 minutes

Here’s How:

  1. Mix 1 part water with 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch. You may wish to start with one cup of water and one and a half cups of cornstarch, then work in more cornstarch if you want a more ‘solid’ oobleck. It will take about 10 minutes of mixing to get nice homogeneous oobleck.
  2. Mix in a few drops of food coloring if you want colored oobleck.

Finally, as we have two weeks of short weeks, I have decided to still do the spelling lists this week. However, we will do the spelling test on Tuesday of next week. I will put the spelling words on the blog tomorrow along with the link to the Spelling City site. As we ran out of time for our memory verse on Friday due to skating, we will be doing the same memory verse this Friday.

Grade 3’s have a quiz on the 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 times tables this Thursday.

Being A Scientist

What a busy day!!!

Today in science we ended off our look at Oobleck with at look at Mars. Now you may be asking what does Mars have to do with Oobleck? Well, that would be a good question!! We talked about Mars because the scientists who created the Mars Rover had to go through the same process to create the Mars Rover that the students did to create their Oobleck Machines.

In the first part of our Oobleck unit, the students had to think about Oobleck, play with it, explore, discover, experiment, test, observe and use their senses. Scientists had to do the same thing. They had no idea what Mars was like and yet had to use what they had (pictures, etc) to come up with a machine that could withstand anything that might happen.

The scientists held a convention to share their ideas, discuss, argue, put ideas together and listen to each other. The students had to do the same thing to create their rules for Oobleck. Finally, both the scientists and students had to use all their observations and ideas to create and design a machine they thought would be able to function on Mars or Oobleck. We had an amazing time discussing and sharing ideas and pictures.

I also showed the students an awesome video showing the Mars Rover leaving Earth and landing on Mars and all the things the Mars Rover had to do in order to land safely and function properly on Mars once it got there. Here is the video:

More Oobleck and Our First Spelling List!

Well, it has been an exciting day here in Grade 2/3 once again! Today for science, we started taking everything we have learned about Oobleck and it’s properties and have begun the process of designing vehicles that would be able to land/drive on an ocean of Oobleck, explore the ocean of Oobleck and be able to get off the ocean of Oobleck without being stuck.

At our last class, we had a convention. Scientists use conventions as a way to share ideas and to see what other scientists have done. At our convention, we came up with a list of important rules or properties we discovered about Oobleck. The students will have to keep these in mind as they design their Oobleck machines.

At the end of the class, we saw a little video showing what would happen if you walked or ran on Oobleck. Here is the video.

This video could help us understand how a vehicle would work on an ocean of Oobleck.

A big thank you to Aidan who discovered what would happen if you put a pan of water on a loud speaker. Aidan said that the water only splashed an made waves which is very different than what happened to the Oobleck.

On a completely different topic, here is our spelling list for the week. You can copy the words down to work on at home or you can just print a copy of the words using the option on the window below or downloading it from the Box.net widget to the right!

Spelling J2

Have a great night. Book orders are due on the 18th of September!

An Interesting Find

Hey everyone!!!

This week we were looking at the properties of Oobleck. Do you remember what properties are? We can find the properties of objects around us by using our 5 senses; what we see, feel, hear, smell and taste.  So,

Properties are the things or words we use to describe different objects so we can tell them apart.

We played with and investigated the properties of Oobleck to help us understand what made Oobleck different from other substances like water or play-do. You had some wonderful properties you discovered as you worked with the Oobleck. We will talk about them on Friday!

I also had told you that Scientists themselves did not understand why Oobleck had such strange properties but they are working very hard to find out more just like we are!!!!

Here is a video showing what Oobleck does when you put it on top of a very loud speaker!!! What do you notice? Would water do this is you did the same thing? Why don’t you try it and find out?

Finally, here is a Star Wars video for Jacob! I hope you enjoy it!!! I thought it was really funny!

It’s Oobleck Day!!!

oobleck-2It was a busy day in the Grade 2/3 class!! Students had a full day of fun and excitement. In Science this afternoon, I told students about my discovery of an extremely strange substance. On a cruise to Alaska, my wife and I were wondering along a secluded path. As we walked along, I suddenly noticed this mysterious substance lying in pools along side the path. My wife suggested that I collect some samples to bring back to show the students. Once I had told the students how I came to find this mysterious substance, I told the students that Scientists had no knowledge of this substance and how it came to be. All they knew was that it was named Oobleck and that it was not harmful to teachers and students in grade 2/3. Students then got a chance to play with and investigate it’s properties. We also learned and discussed how we use our 5 senses to investigate the properties of objects. As the students got to play and interact with the Oobleck, the students were very thankful that they didn’t have to use their sense of taste!! However, they did make wonderful observations including that it was green and goopy!!! I love things that are green and goopy!!!

As students played with the Oobleck, they were writing down what they saw, felt, heard and smelled and recording their thoughts on pieces of paper. After discussing all their thoughts, they then had to pick the one property they felt was the most important property of Oobleck. Next Science day, we are going to review their notes and create a set of rules for Oobleck. Throughout this unit on Oobleck we are ging to be talking about Scientists and how they work through problems. It is going to be very interesting!!!!!

Parents:

Please practice adding and subtracting facts with your child. Over the summer, some memories can become hazy and students can have difficulty remembering their adding and subtracting facts up to 18. Please review these for them so we can sharpen those response times!!! It also helps provide a solid base for all their math work if they don’t have to be slowed down remembering their basic facts. If you need some ways to create flash cards for your child, check out Flashcard Creator or just make your own on cut rectangles of construction paper. You can also buy them from many grocery stores like Superstore or Staples.

Whoa!!

What a day!! So much happening . ..  So tired . . . so much excitement . . .

Chapel! Lot’s of excitement. Our class actually won a prize for being so full of praise and love for God and worshiping with all their hearts. It was great to see.

Speaking of the bible, the memory verse for this week is from Philippians 4:4-6:

Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: rejoice! Let your greatness be evident to all. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

We had some more Oobleck machines come in from various students. Here are some of the pictures:

In Social Studies we had this great discussion on the community of Chilliwack. I discovered this project that this Grade 3 Girl was doing in Colorado. She was asking people to fill in her wiki site with information about where they were to help her learn about geography; almost like getting people to send her a postcard. A wiki is a neat kind of website where you can allow people to add and change something that you have created as a way to collaborate and build something bigger, more relevant, interesting and powerful. Wikipedia is a very good example of this. Anyway, we decided to add some info about Chilliwack and we got into a great discussion about what picture we could use that would show as much as we could about Chilliwack. We found some good pictures but not all of them reflected the true diversity of what Chilliwack was about. So we ended up do a little bit and then added a message stating that we would add the picture later when we had finished discussing which picture to use. We were looking at the pictures from the City of Chilliwack site which you can see here. I have also added the site to the list of links of the side if you want to take a look at the wiki and what people have added already.

Monday, Monday!!

It was a great day today. We got a lot of work done today and the students are really starting to feel confident with multiplication. Many of them said that before this year, they were worried that they were going to find multiplication hard but now think that it will be really easy which is great to hear though we are still just getting into introducing the concept.

Science today was really interesting. Some of the students had made an actual Oobleck machine out of different materials and we spent a little bit of time exploring their creations and testing how they worked. One of the students then asked a really good question about what an Oobleck creature would look like so we spent some time talking about that. I will put some pictures on the blog of the machines when I get my camera back (my wife has it right now, and is holding it hostage until I bring the memory card back home from school!). I also have some audio clips of students talking about their oobleck drawings and will add those when I have some time.

Here are the spelling words for this week. Again you can see them below, click the link above for download them from the box.net widget on the right hand side.

An Active Monday!

Lots of stuff happening today!!!!

We started our Oobleck machines today! They are looking really good. Aftre looking at the Oobleck, the students wrote down five important properties of Oobleck. After discussing those properties with the class, each group chose 5 properties that we titled Laws of Oobleck. The five laws we came up with were:

  • It melts in your hand sometimes but not always and after it has been used a lot.
  • It melts and dries because it was a solid and a liquid
  • The liquid evaporates but the other stuff doesn’t
  • It hardens in a quick amount of time.
  • It hardens when we squish it.

Now that the laws have been established, students are working on designing a vehicle that could move around on the surface of Oobleck and collect specimans to further study Oobleck before it takes over the world!!!

Students also got their first ten spelling words today. I have put the entire list here in the post. If you can’t see the list, you can click on the document in the Box.net widget on the right side under where it says Class Files. If you click on the file, it will give you the option to download it. You can also click spelling-l-1 to download it.

Read this document on Scribd: Spelling L 1

This weekend, the school is holding a golf tournament in support of purchasing more equipment for the playground. The information is as follows:

September 20, 2008 Aquadel Golf Course, 9am Shotgun Start, includes lunch and prizes for all!  Cost $60.00 please purchased tickets at the school office. :
Sponsor a hole at the golf tournament:
Bronze Sponsor    $  300.00
Silver Sponsor          500.00
Gold Sponsor         1000.00
All cash donation exceeding $25.00 will be issued a Tax Receipt.

Students also have their first bible verse today. They will need to have these verses memorized for FRIDAY!

The verse is Ephesians 2:10.

“We are God’s Masterpiece. he has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good thinkgs he planned for us long ago.”

I have had lots of great comments about doing the favorite verses as memory verses. I believe it is really affirming to hear how the bible affects people and how each of these special verses speaks to each of us. I also have been reading verses I have not heard before which is great for our growth in studying God’s word.

Finally, I was told that I just have to add some of the songs from the Bungee Jumpin’ Cows on the blog. This group is a band from the States that goes around to schools and sings songs that are science related. They are great fun and I actually met one of them when I went down to take a science course. It was great fun and the kids just loved the CD.

Have a great evening!

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