Lower School Science

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5th Grade - Consumer Product Review

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 5th grade students will be ending the year in science testing several brands of paper towels. As a common household product, we want to examine which brand is the "best" and what makes it the "best"? The students will complete several tests and research such as price, absorbancy, and strength. This data will be compiled and each student will decide what has the best qualities and write the company a letter describing their findings!

Please see attached sheet for the timeline.

5th Graders Calculate Calories

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 In connection to their classroom study of fast food, 5th graders tested different packaged snack foods to determine their "heat" calorie content. Take a look!


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2nd Graders Visit their Adopted Trees

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The 2nd graders were given a tree to "adopt" and study throughout the year. They visited them for the first time when most deciduous trees still had their leaves. We just visited them again for another look. We will visit them as spring just begins and then a final visit before school's out. 


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1st Graders Engineer Magnetic Toys

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The 1st graders have been exploring magnets - what are they? how do they work? How can we use science inquiry to discover things about them?

They also had a chance to pracitce being one type of scientist, an engineer! Engineers make new things to solve problems and improve our world. There are even engineers that work to desgin and build new toys!

Take a look at their great ideas! 


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3rd Graders Explore Electricity

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3rd graders have been looking at what powers lights, motors and other items that require electrical energy. They have been looking at circuits - what they are and how they work. They have also used LED lights and conductive playdough to make "squishy" circuits. 

They are all currently working on a light board called "Picture This!" that revolves around the theme of water (from 3rd grade studies) and lights up using circuits and holiday lights. They should be ready to take home soon! They will need batteries to power them at home and shouldn't be left on for too long as holiday lights use up a lot of electricity!



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4th Graders Work to Uncover "Mystery Powders"!

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 4th graders have been busy the past month working as chemists. They were given nine known powders to record as much information as they could on them (color, texture, fngerprint test, reaction with water, vinegar, iodine, and heat). They are now currently trying to discover the identity of ten mystery powders that are a combination of two, three, or four of the original powders. Take a look!



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4th Candle burn photos

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 Hello Folks:  As a first introduction to making detailed, high quality scientific observations, 4th grade students were asked to observe everything possible about a burning candle.  Be sure to ask one of them how they improved their score on the second try--and by how much.  

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3rd Water Cycle in a Test Tube!

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Hello Parents!  It was a VERY busy and exciting day, but here are at least a few pictures of our recent work making a water cycle in a test tube.  Ask your kids about this experiment.  See if they can explain some of the main aspects of the water cycle--it's pretty complicated!

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2nd LEGO gears work, Fall 2012

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Hi parents!  Here are a few photos from our recent work in the science lab, exploring with gears.  Ask your children about them!

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G Wiz visits!

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G. Wiz visits Science Lab!

Chemisty Professor Garon Smith, from University of Montana, AKA "G. Wiz" the chemistry wizard, paid a visit to 4th grade in early January, 2011.  "It was awesome!  Where can I get some of that stuff?" exclaimed one student as G Wiz performed his science magic with us.  Students discovered magic ink, the weight of a lead brick, the freezing crystal spell, Mom's Magic Juice Pitcher, colored fire for each of the Hogwarts Houses, making a molten "lava" ball, and the fun of using liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C) to freeze a balloon full of air and eating cheese puffs frozen in the liquid nitrogen.  What happens to them you ask?  Find a 4th grader and ask them.




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Fifth Grade Science

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Fifth Grade topics typically include:

Sustainability in agriculture and soils—
wise and thoughtful use of resources; needs and wants; food choices, gardening, and farming; field studies on farms throughout the Willamette Valley; soils and their creation; soil components and experimental investigations into how to make and adjust soil chemistry and composition; how soils affect crops and living systems; data collection, evaluation, and analysis; journal keeping in science.

Light energy
the nature and behavior of light and related forms of electromagnetic energy; mirrors, myras, and prisms; refraction and reflection; symmetry and optical illusions; LASERS; relationship of light to other forms of electromagnetic energy; structure and function of the eye and brain relative to vision and perception.

Consumer products
evaluations of advertising claims, economics, and product performance and value; design and application of standardized testing of product contents, pricing, packaging, and efficacy.  Data is organized in tables and charts, and results of experiments graphed throughout the project.  Culmination of project includes writing a letter to the company making the "best" product explaining what was done and why the student evaluated their product as the best.

Campus forests and garden project explorations—
identification and mitigation of plant health problems; maintenance and enhancement of animal habitat on campus; identification and removal of exotic species; tree identification and classification; garden planning, planting, and maintenance.

Fourth Grade Science

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Fourth grade topics typically include

the Ring of Fire; volcanism and tectonics; landforms and their development and change over time.

Air pressure—
what it is and what causes it; how it affects things as diverse as aluminum drink cans, balloons, and our lungs.

Heat energy—
what it is and how it is produced, changed, and lost; how heat moves through various materials via convection, conduction, and radiation; dissipation and insulation; molecular motion; making and calibration of thermometers.


"Mystery Powders"—
a deep and thorough investigation of nine white, everyday “kitchen” powders; observing them while testing them for their behavior with water, vinegar, iodine, and heat. We then recombine two, three, or four in an unknown mixture, retest, analyze and deduce the contents. Requires careful, repetitive, and accurate testing, excellent notes, solid organization, cooperation, and logical reasoning. Very challenging and very much fun!


what atoms and molecules are; how they are related; evidence we have for their existence, behavior, and properties;  chemical energy; pH testing of acids and bases; soil nutrient analysis for our garden site; water quality testing.

Lab reports are introduced and used throughout the fourth grade year to help organize ideas, materials, procedures, observational data, and conclusions.

Third Grade Science

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Third Grade topics typically include

Water and watersheds—
what water is and how water works, qualities and properties of water, what makes a watershed and which one(s) we live in, parts and functions of watersheds, animal and plant life in and around water. Numerous field trips to Bull Run reservoir, Portland Water Bureau, salmon migration sites, following local rivers, water treatment plant, Willamette River tour, and more.

Electric and electromagnetic energy—
direct current; series and parallel circuits; light bulbs, fuses, and switches; cells and batteries; conductors and insulators; electromagnets, buzzers, generators and motors; electric cars.


Metric system measurement—
more experience and practice with basic metric units of distance (M, dm, cm, mm) and mass (Kg, gm); introduction to liquid volume (L, dl, cl, ml).

Sea life and marine communities—
explorations of marine life and animal classification; interaction and functions of organisms in ecosystems. Visits to Hatfield Marine Science Center and Oregon Coast Aquarium. Culminates with a three-day trip to Whale Cove on the Oregon coast to investigate tide pools and beaches.

Fossils, evolution, and geologic time—
how fossils are formed and what they are; how fossils tell us about the past; how scientists have developed a timeline and “family tree” of the evolution of life on earth.


Second Grade Science

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Second Grade topics typically include

comparisons of different types of communities (Native American, pioneer settlers, and natural plant/animal/fungi) through investigations during a series of field visits to Champoeg State Park; parallel explorations here on the campus; functions and parts of trees; how forests and other natural communities work. Culminates with three-day overnight.

how to read, use, and make a map; use of a magnetic compass.

Metric system measurement—
introduction to and practice with basic metric units of distance (M, dm, cm, mm) and mass (Kg, gm).

Simple machines–
gears, levers, balances, pulleys, and related tools; what simple machines are and how they help us do work; gear ratio and speed; fulcrum and load; simple and compound; energy transmission, transformation, and loss.

Animal classification—
vertebrate and selected invertebrate groups; herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore; predator and prey; adaptation and habitat; components of a habitat; how adaptations affect where an organism lives; our part in our local environment.

First Grade Science

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First Grade topics typically include

Introductory experiments, "magic tricks," and discrepant events—
these familiarize children with the lab and basic scientific processes and behaviors; focus on explaining and understanding what is actually happening.

investigating basic arthropod (insect, arachnid, crustacean) anatomy and physiology; how insects, spiders, crabs, and other creepy, crawly critters work. We explore and answer, "What is a bug?"

Campus explorations, habitats, and biomes—
investigating and familiarizing children with our campus environment, habitats and biomes.

Geology, rocks, and change—
sorting and classification; similarities, differences, and changes in rocks; rock types and formations; fossils and dinosaurs; use of rock polishing equipment to better "see" rocks.

Magnetic energy—
what magnets are; what they can and cannot do; how magnets work; exploring with magnetic toys.

Sound energy—
causes and production of sound; sound qualities; making and changing sounds; vibrations and musical instruments.