It has begun… Our 7th-9th grade Española River Classroom has started work on their kayaks!
Last Friday we passed out the blueprints, talked over the design, and handed out a pattern. Our students got to work tracing and cutting. They learned to use a power drill and a jig saw. Everybody did a fantastic job!
Check it out:
By the end of class, we had cut out all of the kayak parts. Next time we’ll begin assembly!
Last Thursday was our very first trip to the Rio Brazos with our Tierra Amarilla 5th and 6th graders. We’ve been to the Rio Chama several times now. It’s time to compare the Chama with one of its important tributaries.
Northern New Mexico got quite a bit of snow early last week, and we found areas with up to 6 inches still on the ground on Thursday! Fortunately our students in Tierra Amarilla are prepared for snow. Everybody was bundled up and ready to go.
We split students into two groups: one explored the snowy meadow and learned about animal tracks. The other went to the river to look for benthic macroinvertebrates.
Tierra Amarilla is an excellent place to discuss tracking because there’s a wide variety of wildlife. Our students learned how the size and weight of an animal affect its tracks, how to determine which direction the animal was moving, and characteristics of a few types of animals.
What do snow and DNA have in common? Both were topics of the day last Wednesday in our 4th-6th grade River Classroom! We couldn’t help talking about snow, since we got so much the day before.
We spent some time observing snow outside, and then to get a closer look, we had to throw a few snowballs.
We took some snow back into the classroom and observed it with loupes.
Because of the sun, the snow had actually changed quite a bit since it fell the day prior. We discussed these changes and why they occur.
We collected a big bowl of snow and then melted it to see how much water it produced. Then we discussed how the shape of water molecules impacts the properties of snow. Our students have already discussed water quite a bit and remembered the shape of the molecule as well as why it’s polarized.
Taking accurate measurements of your location and the location of your data is a very important skill for scientists to have. How many people actually understand why the GPS on their phone works? On Monday we addressed both of these concerns with our excellent 7th graders from McCurdy Charter School.
We began at NMWC by discussing latitude and longitude and why these concepts exist.
The students constructed their own globes to get a better handle on the concept.
After learning about latitude and longitude, it was time to save some “lives”! We headed out to an area of BLM land behind NMWC to use our GPS units to find some “victims” of hiking accidents. Each group had different coordinates.
Fortunately, thanks to our great group of students, all of the “victims” were successfully recovered by the end of the day. I think these guys will make a great SAR team… as soon as they graduate from high school!
After last week’s introduction to plant cells, our 4th-6th grade River Classroom students from Española were pretty excited to learn about animal cells! We began by comparing plants and animals using a Venn diagram.
After learning all about animal cells and how they differ from plant cells, we observed cells from our cheeks!
The differences between plant and animal cells were very obvious! We had enough time for students to collect leaves to examine, and we put together this collage showing the onion cells from last week and our cheek cells from this week. In the onion cell, the cell wall is very visible, as is the shape of the plant cell. The animal cells have no cell wall, but a nucleus is visible in both (at 400x magnification).
Our students are doing so well- we have a whole classroom of future biologists!
The focus of our 4th-6th grade Española River Classroom this year is Biology. We’ve spent a good deal of time out at Abiquiu Lake while the weather has been nice, but last Wednesday it was time to hit the classroom to discover the wonders (and organelles) of plant cells!
Our students began by doing some independent research in teams to determine the functions and characteristics of different organelles of plant cells.
After all of this research, our students got a tutorial on how to use a microscope, as well as how to create a wet mount of onion skin and stain it. Our fantastic new teacher, Audrey, did a great job sharing her extensive knowledge of Biology with the students!
After all this work, students were able to see plant cells at 100x magnification. On several slides, we were even able to pick out the nucleus and nucleolus of the plant cells!