Here are some highlights from the first few months of science. All of our curious Stephen S. Wise Elementary scientists are experimenting, observing, and discovering as they perform hands-on activities and experiments.
First graders are gardening in the Peah Garden. First we planted small plants of broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and chard, which have grown into vigorous healthy plants. We planted narcissus bulbs and small onions, and radishes, carrots, and lettuce from seeds. We also tend the garden, weeding and spraying natural pesticide made of hot pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Our garden is flourishing! Soon we will harvest our winter crop to donate to the Valley Shelter.
Second graders learned all about sound and hearing and made sounds and music in many ways. For example we made music using “palm pipes” - PVC pipes we tap against our palms. We learned that the frequency of the vibration determines the pitch of a sound, and smaller pipes vibrate faster so they produce a higher pitch. We made cup and string phones and discovered that the string has to be tight to carry the vibration to our ears.
Third graders are learning about light and vision and experimenting with optics and creating simple animation. We are making our own flip books using the concept of persistence of vision. We are discovering how our eyes work by experimenting with afterimages where we see the opposite colors after staring at a wacky-looking picture.
Fourth graders are making electrical circuits to light lights and run motors. We are testing which materials are conductors and which are insulators. We are also learning about electrical safety and how electricity is generated in power plants. We also experimented with static electricity, which was a shocking and hair-raising experience.
Fifth graders have been learning all about chemistry – molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. They know how to use the information for each element on the periodic table to tell how many protons, electrons, and neutrons are in an atom. We made molecular models of water and carbon dioxide and used them to act out the process of photosynthesis to produce glucose and oxygen using the same atoms in new arrangements. We also conducted an exciting chemical reaction with calcium chloride and baking soda that produced heat and carbon dioxide and changed the color of the phenol red pH indicator from magenta to yellow. Students designed and performed follow-up experiments to discover what had produced the heat and what the color change meant.