Monday, November 12, 2012

Claire, Abby and Jennifer

Abby brought her dog Rufus and a scrapbook that she made by herself.
All About Me introduced us to some interesting facts about three of our 4th grade girls:
Claire, Abby and Jennifer.

Abby brought Rufus to show. She has had Rufus since she was much younger. The scientists also enjoyed seeing a picture of Abby in her pull-ups with a cowboy hat on her head! Abby's scrapbook was pretty impressive with pictures, captions and lots of interesting stores! Thanks for sharing, Abby.
Jennifer brought her trophy from basketball and her medal.

Jennifer brought her trophy from her particpation in Little Dribblers basketball. She talked about her parrots, turtle and another sports medal she had won. Jennifer's parents brought her pet turtle, which was a proud member of CSI for the day. It was great to know more about Jennifer and meet her parents!
Claire brought some hot air balloon photos she had taken herself.

 Claire shared her love of photography by bringing some photographs she had taken on a family vacation to a hot air balloon festival in Colorado Springs. She entered one of the photos in the Washington County Fair and earned 1st place! We loved seeing her photos and hearing about her hot air balloon ride!

Enigma Day 2012

Enigma Day is a day in which we invite the parents to come and view their child's Enigma Research project. Students research and make a Google Presentation on the Enigma of their choice: Nazca Lines, Bermuda Triangle, Loch Ness Monster, Stonehenge, Atlantis, and the Marfa Lights. This year, our featured experiments in the lab were:

Make Your Own Slime
 This is a Steve Spangler mixture. We order the Slime Goo and the Cross Linking Solution and the Cups. Scientists can take home their slime in the sealed cup.

Secret Messages:
Scientists wrote secret messages with a special Ammonia
Water solution. We also used a GoldenRod paper and talked
about the chemistry behind this experiment.

The Crystal Bubble is a favorite. We add dry ice to a large bucket of water. The dry ice creates a gas and the scientists make a giant ring around the top of the bucket to form a bubble film. Instant large bubble!

Boo Bubbles are probably the most favorite, or did I already say that?? Boo bubbles work a lot like the Crystal Bubble except the scientists get to hold them. A soapy solution goes inside a large jar with a tube. Add dry ice and you have a boo bubble.

Screaming Balloons consist of a hex nut and a balloon. Students compare the sound of a hex nut inside the balloon to the sound of a penny.  Sound Tubes make different pitches of sound as you twirl them.

Grow Your Own Body Parts

You have all seen these in one form or another. Growing alligators, growing fish, ..endless examples of hydrophillic and hydrophobic polymers. These are especially nice in that we have a hand, nose, brain and ear! Great science behind this activity in that the hydrophillic ingredient in the growing body parts "loves" water and this helps the body part to GROW! The hydrophobic ingredient "doesn't like" water and this helps the body part keep its shape.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How Come ?? Stories and Jill

We have a new twist on our usual Stories With Holes this year. Our GT kids absolutely love Stories with Holes and if you are not familiar with them, they are a series of Stories, by Nathan Levy, with a unexpected outcome. Students try to guess the outcome by only answering yes or no questions.
Besides the students loving to participate, Stories with Holes offer:
  • growth in imagination 
  • divergent thinking
  • cooperative problem solving
  • change of pace from task oriented environment
  • we especially like them at CSI as they encourage "good question asking" ability!
An example: Tim loves his work. He spends all day making faces, but nobody thinks he's very funny.

Student question: Is Tim a clown?
Teacher: No
Student question: Does Tim make mean faces?
Teacher: No
Student question: Does Tim make faces at his job? *** (great question!)
Teacher: Yes
The dialogue continues.....
Student question: Is the "face" a face besides his own?
Teacher:  Yes
Finally one student will think they know the solution and stand and share:
Student solution: Does Tim make clocks?

It is always a celebration when we are able to solve a Story. This year, my teacher partner, Mrs. Oertli, mentioned a book which she had shared with her family several years ago. The book was titled, "How Come" and pre-dates Nathan Levy's work. This book is out of print, but has the same types of question - answer stories that our students crave. Best of all, four of our students wrote their own "How Come" question and answer book and brought it to CSI this week.

Hanna, Lily, Moriah and Ryan sharing "How Come"

I think Colton J. may have helped out a bit, too! Thanks for the great book and the dedication was especially nice for me and Mrs. Oertli.

An Amazing All About Me Presentation. Jill shared her knowledge of dog and cat rescue. She named each of her animals and how she got them. She also has donkeys and horses. One student asked her how she took care of so many animals and she explained that her brothers, sisters and parents all take turns with chores. Thank you Jill, for sharing your experiences with us!
Jill sharing her knowledge of dog and cat rescue!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Duck Tape Inventions and Enigma Research:

All About Me last week brought us Kayci sharing her Duck Tape Inventions. She has made some excellent and top notch cases for organization using  Ziploc bags as well as, pen covers, bows, and pouches.

Her favorite duck tape was the pattern with the mustaches!

Thanks to Kayci for sharing her creativity.

We began working on our Google Presentations as a product to demonstrate our learning on our Enigma Project. The Enigma Project is a Texas Performance Based Project for Gifted kids which allows each student the chance to research an enigma of their choice and form their own conclusion based on research and evidence. Of course we have had to experiment a lot in the lab, to practice forming our scientific conclusions. Mrs. Oertli completed the "Tiny Bubbles Lab" which is a spin on the "Dancing Raisins" activity. CO2 bubbles form on raisins placed Sprite causing them to rise and fall from the surface. This week, we will explore how Stonehenge may have been built.

As a history study, we looked at the video of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge (Discovery Ed: New York Up Close, Modern Day New York) and the occurrence of "Caissons Disease". Scientists had to research and figure out what exactly was making those workers sick as they constructed the Brooklyn Bridge. Ah yes, which leads us to forming a conclusion.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get to know you.. roll the yarn

As we began a  year of 4th grade CSI, we enjoyed a "get to know you" activity where we took turns rolling a ball of yarn across the floor to each other. As the ball of yarn came to each student, they shared something about themselves.

We made an analogy to how our class-
room functions as a team. We depend on
each other for ideas, support, encouragement and friendship. When we lose one person in our web, our web is weakened. 

We actually ran out of yarn when we were making our web and tied on another roll. We symbolized that as a new student coming on board. We would immediately welcome them to our class.

Great way to start the year!

All About Me:

Each Tuesday, the students may bring something to share about themselves. Since our program involves students from three campuses coming together, it is a nice way to get to know each other.

Cole always asks great questions and is a great speaker.
Cole shared his Lego projects.
Cole takes Legos to a new dimension! He shared his love of building Lego projects. He brought some of his favorites to share. Cole says, "I can't let a day go by without touching Legos!" He has built some large vehicles using only Legos.
Thanks, Cole!

Moriah has many talents and strengths. She shared her love of reading!
Moriah brought her reading medals to show her love of reading. She had many talents to share with us and told us about her travels to interesting places. She once snorkled with a pufferfish! She also was a finalist in the Washington County Spelling Bee. Her love for ocean animals brought her to rescue sea turtles and swim with dolphins! Great news Moriah!

We are off to a great start for 2012!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CSI 2012

Open House was great this year and it was exciting to meet all the new scientists and see the 5th and 6th graders from last year.
Brenham Middle School used the theme, "Oh the Places You'll Go" with Dr. Seuss. All of the teachers contributed to reading and filming a small section of this book. Check out the link here:
BMS Oh the Places You'll Go

In the Tech Lab, as one way to determine the needs of my Gifted students I used linked to Symballoo to set up a simple student interest survey.
It was easy to use and as the parents were trying to finish paperwork, the students answered a few questions about themselves.

I hope to use their responses as "get to know each other" activities.
Here are a few responses from the 4th grade survey: #6 responses being by far my favorite!

1. Name
2. What kinds of things do you LOVE to learn about? Science, Math, Nature, Animals...
3. What do you like to do in your free time? sleep, read, draw, make things out of paper...
4. What kinds of things have you collected? snow globes, rocks, coins, bugs, arrowheads...
5. If you could talk to any person in history, who would it be and why? Harriet Tubman, because she would give me advice on how to be braver/ George Washington/Anne Frank, because her life was interesting
6. If you could invent something to make the world a better place, what would it be? A mind control plane, a thought controlled remote, a giant filter for the ocean, a machine to settle all the countries' differences, a marshmallow suit, a force field......

7. I also used the check box feature to ask them "What technology do you have at home?"

Knowing what technology they have at home may help to make an exciting year!

For a more detailed interested inventory and information on how to help differentiate in the regular classroom for Gifted kids, check out this blog post:

Pre Assessment / Daily Preparation for GT Kids

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lost Artifacts and Zunal 2012

With a short study of Egypt, we are concentrating our next unit on "Lost Artifacts". There is a lot of talk in the last few years about artifacts from around the world which have been looted or lost through the spoils of war, or simply taken to another country for archeological study and then never returned. We became interested in some of the most famous of these artifacts and began our research! As we follow the history of the artifact, we will decide if the artifact should belong to the original country of origin or stay in its present home. The fourth grade scientists chose their lost artifact and will begin researching using a Webquest creator, Zunal.
Here are the WebQuests and a little bit about each artifact.

The Koh-i-Noor Diamond
How could a diamond, 136 carats, with such rich India and Persian history end up in the British Royal Crown Jewels? The curse of the Koh-i-Noor may explain part of that answer. The curse"states that "whoever owns the diamond, owns the world, but will also own all its misfortunes. Only a woman can own the diamond and be free from the curse."

The Bust of Nefertiti 
Nefertiti was the beloved Queen of ancient Egypt.  A bust of her liking was sculpted by the famous Egyptian artist:  Thutmose. A German archeologist, studying Egypt, smuggled the original bust out of the country. It remains now in the Berlin's Neues Museum, Germany.

The Artifacts of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is known as the Lost City of the Inca. As the Spaniards invaded Mexico and Central America in the 1500's, they burned and destroyed much of the rich history of the Inca. This city of Machu Picchu lies atop an 8,000 foot mountain and many of its remains went untouched by the Spanish Conquest. A Yale University professor "discovered" the remains and removed several artifacts to be placed in the Yale University Museum. With much controversy, the remains are being returned to Machu Picchu, a few at a time, through 2012.

Zodiac Ceiling
This amazing sculpture was at the root of one of the first controversies concerning the age of the world. It was believed created in 50 BC by the ancient Egyptians, and placed in the Temple of Hathor.
It was stripped from the Temple, during the Napoleon's campaign in Egypt (using dynamite),  and shipped to Paris, France where it remains to this day.

Priam's Treasure
This collection of jewels, gold and silver pots, pans, earrings and necklaces was discovered by German archeologist, Heinrich Schliemann. Schliemann was obsessed with finding the ancient lost city of Troy. Priam was the ruler of Troy during the Trojan War, so when the treasure was discovered, it was assumed to be part of Priam's buried wealth and thus Schliemann claimed to have discovered the remains of the city of Troy. The treasure exchanged owners after World War 2 as Russia took the treasure and kept it secret. They refuse to return it to Germany and say it is "payment" for the costs bestowed upon Russia by Hitler's invasion.
We hoped to use Dipity (a time line creator) as a product to display our research. It seemed to operate too slow. We used Google Docs instead and the scientist loved how easy it was to create and share.

This unit leads nicely into our visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we will see an actual mummy as well as other artifacts from Egypt and the world.

In the lab we explored "Pharoah's Chambers" and built a model of a pyramid. We experimented to find out how the ancient Egyptians allowed light to shine in the pyramids so that they could properly decorate and honor their dead within the tomb.

 When the actual building of the chambers is complete, the scientist try to reflect the light from the flashlight, directly into the tomb using the pathway from the outside.

It was amazing to see the mathematical / geometric relationship between the placement of the mirrors.
We had a great opportunity to discuss parallel and perpendicular as well as the angles created by these lines.
Nice work!

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012 Science Challenge

I found a great site which offers a contest to the best innovative design. We entered the challenge two years ago and the scientists designed a game that could be played on Mars. They had to learn all about Mars: its gravity, red soil, atmosphere..etc.. and take those factors in to consideration when creating their idea.

The challenge we accepted this year is called Animal Smarts. The students were challenged to design a toy or game that would enhance the life of a zoo animal or pet which was suited to that animal's particular intelligence. Students chose an animal and watched videos of the animal in its habitat or "playing". This gave them ideas for a toy or game to design for that animal.

Kids Science Challenge is funded by the National Science Foundation. I like it because the website gives great background for each of the projects. They supply video and activities that can be used to help understand the challenge. The students don't actually have to make the design, just explain and diagram their ideas on paper.
We have some great ideas and we are sending them in next week.

One of our activities that we completed with the unit was to test our short term memory. We compared our short term memory to that of a chimp by trying to remember the order of digits from 1 - 9 after seeing them for a short time.


Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Kmiec

Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Kmiec
First Lego League Competition 2014

About US

Mrs. Sarah Cook and Mrs. Janis Kmiec are the lead investigators at CSI. Mrs. Cook manages the lab lessons as well as the Science Curriculum for BISD. Mrs. Kmiec leads the technology lab investigations. Both teachers love making CSI fun, exciting, and full of learning for their students.