We end another week and another month as the school year marches onward. This was definitely a strange week due to missing some days with the inclement weather that we had. It took a while for the students to readjust after being out for what amounted to a five-day weekend. Monday, February 15th and Monday, April 25th are make-up days for the ones that we missed.
We did manage to begin our new unit: Earth in the Universe. It covers the Earth's axial rotation as the cause of night and day along with its axial 23.5° tilt as the reason for the seasons. After Thursday's quiz we will cover the Earth's relationship to its moon. This is a smaller unit with a faster turn-around time. But, we will continue to review.
Today we watched an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy but unfortunately, I do not have the means of posting it here. Mine was on DVD.
After that, the students were given time to work on their posters. Due to the weather, I am extending the due dates of both the poster and the next set of letters (N,O,P,Q,R) to next Friday.
Also, the weekly parent email went out.
Finally, while it is still a work-in-progress, I have posted the syllabus for the Earth in the Universe unit. What will definitely be updated are the experiments. It is incomplete but I still wanted to have it posted since all of the needed information is on there.
On our second day of the new unit: Earth in the Universe, we did an activity which will be covered in more detail below. I started out with a warm-up that had fewer questions but still made them think. A lot of them struggled with number three so I am definitely going to be doing a demonstration and an experiment next week on it.
After the warm-up, we did the Day and Night activity. I had a starting point in the room representing midnight, or 12:00 am. I then took 24 index cards and on each one wrote an hour of the day. Example: 3:00 am and 3:00 pm were two of the cards. Each student was given a random card and on my signal, they organized themselves in proper hourly sequence. It actually only took a few minutes.
Below is a brief video of the students with their cards in the proper sequence. The video is sideways, unfortunately.
Welcome back to a snow and ice-shortened week! Our make-up days are Monday, February 15th and Monday, April 25th. Hopefully, that will be the end of our schedule being disrupted due to weather but who knows. Traditionally, February and into early March is the time period in which we get the most and worst winter weather. Two years ago we had early dismissal and that is one thing that I am hoping that we can avoid!
Now that we are back on a normal schedule, we are able to begin the next unit in science: Earth in the Universe. With the exception of the few students who needed to make up the unit test from last week, the class took notes after doing the warm-up.
I then had the students go on to STEMscopes to do the online pre-assessment which only consisted of five questions to see how much they already know. It wasn't for a grade. Then, the students took notes:
Earth in the Universe Notes on the First Part of the Unit (Night and Day)
Rotation – the turning or spinning of an object on its axis
Axis – an imaginary straight line through an object in which it spins. The Earth tilts and spins at an axis of 23.5°
Revolution – the movement of an object around another object. One complete circle is a revolution
Season – periods in a year marked by changes in weather and temperature. They are caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
Orbit – the path of an object’s revolution. It can be circular or elliptical (oval-shaped)
Hemisphere - half of a spherical body such as a planet.
You can download the notes below or you can always go here to access the archive of notes from all of the units that have already been covered.
Afterwards, students continued to work on their posters in social studies. Due to the snow days, I am going to push back the due date and allow students class time, when I can, to complete it. I would be surprised if all of them aren't finished by Friday but we shall see.
Today was the unit test on Energy: Conservation and Transfer. Instead of having a warm-up assignment, I had them either review their notes for 10-15 minutes or simply read independently. Once more I am VERY PROUD of how well the vast majority of students had done. Keep up the GREAT WORK!
Since the weather forecast is calling for ice first and then snow, the chance of school being delayed or cancelled has increased. I must emphasize the word "chance" since the precipitation can always move further north or south than originally predicted. We shall see!
Tomorrow, as long as school is in session, I will have the students who did not score at least an 80% to retake it. If school is cancelled then I will simply move the retest to Monday and shift all of my lesson plans a day later.
Tomorrow evening is our second annual Science Night Out. Of course, if school happens to be cancelled than all school-related functions and activities will also be cancelled. In that case, Science Night Out will be postponed and I will let everyone know as soon as I hear something.
Lastly, our new science unit that we will begin next week is Earth in the Universe and it covers the relationship with the moon, the lunar phases, why there are phases, why we never see the far side from Earth, the causes of day/night and seasons, etc.