Science UpdateOld Adobe Union School District GATE students from around the district met at the fully dedicated Science Lab at La Tercera Elementary School every week and partnered up with STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) and Friends of the Petaluma River to study a local creek. Both organizations provided state-of-the-art water quality test kits which gave students hands on experience. Teachers from STRAW provided students lessons at the creek and in the classroom. At the end their project-based learning unit, students were experts on using and reading pH tests, temperature readings, nitrate tests, phosphate tests, and dissolved oxygen tests.
Guest teachers, Paula Fogarty and Kathleen Brown, helped students develop a deeper understanding about where nitrates and phosphates come from and how each test is affected by various factors. Stephanie Bastianan and John Schribbs from FOTPR provided testing equipment and published student data on the Watershedclassroom.org website.A big, big thank you to our friends at STRAW and FOTPR.
We've been busy in science this year! We've explored each grade's PBL question and squeezed in some wild experiments as well. TK and Kinder students did many activity using their senses. The mystery object identification (popcorn) and water bead activities were big hits. In 1st grade, students continued to develop their engineering skills as the designed plant containers, balloon rockets, and straw gliders. In 2nd grade, students become experts on plants and pollinators. They designed flowers and a matching pollinator. The students in third grade were busy investigating the difference between native and invasive species. Fourth grade student worked to save our declining bee populations by studying our garden and building bee box. Students in 5th grade became environmental engineers and worked to design the best clean-up procedure for an oil spill.The upcoming weeks are sure to bring more excitement as we work on elements of the scientific method and start our FOSS kit investigations.