Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31st-April 1st: Space, the final frontier...

Welcome back!

Today we started our unit on space exploration. We will be very busy on several projects. We'll be building water rockets, straw rockets, robotic arms and who knows what else.

For a great website on water rockets, try

March 31st-April 1st--Shake it, Don't Break it!

Welcome back from Spring Break!

We have a busy month ahead of us--the marking period ends in 2 weeks, and the NJ ASK 8 tests are at the end of the month.

Today in class we started our unit on Earthquakes. We will be doing several projects--check the homework page on my website to download the Thompson earthquake webquest document. It is the guide for this unit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 19-20 Nobody's fault but mine

Quick Recap

March 17-18: We created a foldable that showed the different layers of the earth according to composition (crust, mantle and core) and physical properties (lithosphere, aesthenosphere, mesosphere, outer core, inner core). We then watched a demonstration of a geyser, and also looked at a non newtonian fluid--a material that acts like the plastic mantle.

March 19-20: We took some notes on the different types of faults (normal, reverse, strike-slip) and then completed the lab on page 110. In the lab we used playdough to recreate mountains folding during compression, then we showed both normal and reverse faults.

Mar 19-20--Galaxies and Stars

Gearing up for spring break! Here is a quick recap

March 17-18 We used the Hubble Deep Field images to classify galaxies according to their shape, size and color. We worked in groups and found that sometimes it was very difficult to agree on just what shape that fuzzy blob of stars was!

March 19-20 We created a scaled model of the big dipper and reviewed light years, red giants and blue dwarf stars.

No homework over break! enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13/14 Test Today

Today we reviewed and then took our test on the rock and fossil record. Students that finished early got a jump on the reading for the next chapter.

March 13/14 the Life and Death of the Stars

Today we spent most of the class in the computer room/media center researching the life and death of stars. We are using this information to create a poster on the subject--this poster will be turned in on Monday/Tuesday the 17th/18th. Check my homework page for more of a description of the poster as well as an excellent website on the topic of star life cycle.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 11-12 Geologic time travels

Today we discussed the concept of geologic time--time measured in major changes in the Earth's history.

We read about the 4 eons, then created mnemonics to remember their names. We also used mnemonics to remember the eras in the Phanerozoic eon. See pages 73-77 if you missed today's class.

We finished up by watching a brainpop movie on geologic time, and another on radiometric dating.

Don't forget--test on chapter 3 next class!

March 11-12 We've got Stars on Ours

Today we did a little bit of reading (pages 98-100), spoke a bit about the Hubble Deep Field image and then split into three groups.

Our groups went through three activities:
  1. We did the Hot or Not lab on page 118--using battery eliminators instead of D cells. This lab was turned in at the end of the period.
  2. We viewed the emission spectra of several gases (hydrogen, iodine, Carbon DiOxide) and noted the different lines emitted by these gases.
  3. We read pages 102-103 and did the quicklab on 103--it discussed how the concept of Parallax was used to measure the distance to the stars. We also looked at a website that demonstrated this idea. The website can be found at

Today was a busy day--be sure to read pages 98-104 if you missed today's class

Friday, March 7, 2008

March 7th/10th Fossil Cookies

Today in class we brainstormed ways to create different types of fossils using sugar cookie dough and various items such as gummy worms, pretzels, etc. On monday we will create and bake our cookies then explore them scientifically (okay, we'll eat them).

March 7-10 Stratigraphy

Today in class we finished up our 'do you stack up' labs on the geologic column and then we worked on figuring out stratigraphic puzzles. We announced that the next test will be next thursday/friday--please check the main website for the study guide.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 5, Comets

Today in class we took a short quiz on the planets and some moon facts (phases of the moon, eclipses).

After the quiz we created a comet nucleus in class. To do this we mixed together dry ice, water, ammonia, a little cornstarch and some rocks and dirt. It was very interesting when the brew started to bubble and froth!

No homework today--hooray!

March 5 Fire and Ice

Today in class we took a break from Earth Science and went on an in class field trip. We experimented with dry ice and reviewed the concepts of pressure, density, sublimation, solids, liquids and gases, combustion and other things.

We froze a gummi worm and then shattered it. we froze a super ball and saw how it no longer bounced. We played with carbon dioxide soap bubbles, blew up balloons, launched film cannister rockets and generally had a good time.

As an added bonus--no Homework!

Monday, March 3, 2008

March 3/4 relative dating

We reviewed our easy bake oven grades then looked at how geologists use layers to decide which parts of the earth are older or younger. Today's class followed closely the information listed on pages 59-63 so if you missed today's class please review these pages.

March 3/4 Moon Dance

Today we explored the major moons in our solar system. We toured Luna, Phobos and Deimos (Mars), the four Galilean moons, Saturns Titan and Mimas (the death star moon), Uranus' sideways spin, Neptune's Triton and lonely Pluto and Charon.

We then modelled the phases of the moon using an extremely bright lightbulb and some styrofoam mini moons. We saw waxing crescents, quarter moons, waxing gibbous moons, full moons and then waning gibbous and crescent moons. We also created solar and lunar eclipses.