As we say aloha to our first FULL week of school, the middle school students have begun to digest the routines, procedures, and expectations of our classroom, and we've jumped into our first curricular content area.
It's hard to believe what a short time we've been back. The crew really hit the ground running with a trio of lab activities this week. These have had the dual effect of granting the crew some experience with our lab protocol AND laid the groundwork for our work on air pressure (which will segue into weather and wind).
On Monday, we checked out some bottle activities. The first used a temperature differential to pull a hard-boiled egg into a bottle with the same diameter spout. The second demonstrated the difficulties associated with trying to inflate a balloon INSIDE a bottle (due to increasing air pressure), and the final example illustrated how hot and cold water (or a chemical reaction) can be used to expand and contract air in an enclosed bottle.
Later in the week, we performed a lab which meticulously documented the rates at which soil and water heat in the sun and cool in the shade. This showed conclusively that soil heats and cools quickly, while water heats slowly but has a tendency to hang onto its temperature for much longer. This phenomenon (and temperature's relationship to air pressure) will be vital as we start to learn about wind formation next week.
And on a related note, the students on Friday received their first engineering project assignment. In this project, students will research, design, and build a working KITE to demonstrate on Fri 9/23. Please ask your students to review the project description with you. We WILL be taking days in class to construct these, and it is important that the students not use a store-bought kite and that they do the work on their own. :)
Hope it's been a wonderful holiday weekend!