PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Science K-5 – Week of December 12, 2016

This cold weather has got me thinking, well, scientifically. For one thing, why does wool keep us so darn toasty? For one thing, wool is an excellent insulator. The spaces between wool fibers create tons of tight, tiny air pockets. Without convective heat transfer and contact with air of other temperatures, the spaces between the fibers maintain a steady temperature…a warm toasty one!

Now on to science in Room 407. Kindergarteners are branching out in the tree studies, learning how many different animals rely on both dead and live trees for habitat. Next, we’ll investigate the other valuable uses of trees.


First graders furthered their knowledge of animal diversity by closely observing our class pets–red-eared sliders, gerbils, goldfish, baby walking stick insects, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, a salamander, and pillbugs. Students focused on animal movement, adding to their already juicy science vocabulary words like slither, ooze, glide and wriggle. We will continue to compare and contrast other animal characteristics in the next couple of weeks.


While many second graders may think of art when they hear the word “clay,” they now can boast that they know clay is the smallest size of rock. Ask your children to rattle off for you the seven sizes of rocks they now know and what kind of hands-on experiences they’ve have with most of them in the classroom. We will continue our study of earth materials by looking at how many of them are used in our lives.

Third graders will have a short quiz on mass and grams on Thursday, Dec. 15, and then will continue their metric measurement unit working with thermometers. After the break, we will jump into a unit of force and motion.

Fourth graders will demonstrate their knowledge of magnetism during a quiz Monday, Dec. 12. We will then learn about the importance of compasses and how they are related to magnetism. Then we will begin investigating electricity.

Fifth graders have taken to bird study as ducks take to water, diligently observing and recording bird feeding behavior via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology webcams. So many students have been enjoying the birds, sharing stories and artifacts. Jake Caserta even brought in a delicate bird’s nest that he recently found nestled in his Christmas tree!

img_0772Fifth-graders are also learning to identify various types of bird feathers–flight, contour, semiplume, bristle and down–and how they help birds survive. And I’ve received some outstanding bird art from many of my students that I hope to see embedded in their bird observation inquiry projects.

Please note: draft projects are due on Friday, Dec. 16, and will be returned to students just before the break. Projects will be shared with parents during a January share. Stay tuned!