December 2018

I can’t believe this is the last post for 2018! I have had so much fun educating the students on all things Science. Also, congratulations on making it out of the annual STEM Fair in one piece! I understand that it is a long, and sometimes stressful, process but it is so inspiring to watch the students present their completed projects. It is an opportunity for them to be proud of a major academic accomplishment.

This month the 4th years focused on heredity and reproduction with flowers. We discussed pollination, germination, parts of the flower, and wrapped everything up with a flower dissection!

Flower dissectionFlower dissection 1Flower dissection 2Flower dissection 3

The  5th years learned all about the human body. We started with a general overview of all the body systems. Then, we went into detail with the skeleton, muscles, the brain, and digestive system. When we return from the break we will briefly discuss adaptations and survival of animals before moving into learning about matter (solids, liquids and gases).

The 6th years are continuing their studies of Earth systems and patterns. They observed an ocean currents lab and discovered the different spheres of the Earth. When we return from Winter Break, we will continue to learn about Earth’s atmosphere and its layers.

ocean currents

Mrs. Sandy and I attended a teacher training weekend in the Everglades National Park in preparation for our 5th and 6th year overnight field trip. After the break we will host a parent information night that will explain the dynamics of the trip. The dates of the trip are February 20th – 22nd – get excited!

The 7th and 8th years wrapped up their studies of heredity and reproduction by learning about mitosis and meiosis and sexual vs. asexual reproduction. Their final assignment was a team debate about whether we should genetically modify offspring.

The Gardening occupation is going well! The SOS Foundation gave a lesson on how to properly harvest from our tower garden and then we created a delicious pesto sauce with our basil. I’m enjoying learning about gardening alongside our Early Secondary students.

I hope everyone has a restful and enjoyable Winter Break! I will see everyone in January and will be ready to continue the learning/teaching adventures!

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October/November 2018 Wrap-up

Wow! What a year it has been so far. Let’s catch up on all things Science :).

The 4th years enjoyed learning about Earth’s structures and resources. We had a great time discussing the rock cycle and different types of rocks, physical and chemical changes, and renewable and non-renewable resources. The students really enjoyed our lab that focused on physical changes and using a microscope for the first time! This class tends to keep me on my toes so I haven’t had a chance to take any photos yet. I promise there will be some in the December post!

The 5th years studied different types of clouds, precipitation, weather patterns, natural disasters, and climate zones. The students have moved on to studying the human body. We have been focusing on the different body systems and are spending lessons focusing on each one. Recently, the students learned every bone in the body and created their own skeletons!

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5th year students working on their “Clouds” follow-up work: creating the different clouds with cotton balls and labeling them.

The 5th years had the opportunity to attend Ocean Celebration Day at the Dolphin Research Center in November. The students were exposed to a variety of organizations that focus on protecting animals and our ecosystems within the Florida Keys. It was a very educational day that I hope many students get to experience in the future!

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5th year students learning about manatees at Ocean Celebration Day.

The 6th years have been very busy! They created 3D models of the Water Cycle based on a city in Florida that they had focused on during a Science lesson. Also, they are continuing to learn about water quality issues that face Florida. Together, they wrote a letter to Ellen Degeneres in hopes that she would bring more attention to the Florida Bay. The day before Thanksgiving Break, the students shared their knowledge with our school family at flag raising and a bake sale at dismissal. When someone purchased a delicious treat they also received a fact about water quality issues (that were printed on recycled paper!).

The 7th and 8th years finished learning about the history of evolution and species’ adaptations. They are currently focusing on genetics and why we all look the way we do. Around Halloween, we created our own DNA Frankenstein. Each student contributed one of their genetic physical traits to make up the beautiful “creature”. More recently, the students have enjoyed learning about Punnet Squares and pedigrees.

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The DNA Frankenstein created by the Early Secondary students using their individual physical traits.

The Gardening occupation in the Early Secondary classroom has been going very well with the help of Mrs. Debbie Clem and the SOS Foundation! We harvested basil and bok choy from our tower garden and enjoyed an afternoon of cooking and eating.

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Early Secondary students gardening with Mrs. Debbie!

The 6th, 7th, and 8th year students were offered the opportunity to visit the Studios of Key West and be active participants in the exhibit, Portable Memories in Rising Seas. The exhibit focuses on sea level rise and makes a personal connection between people’s memories and climate change. I highly recommend visiting the exhibit and seeing your child’s artwork on display!

Whew! That was a lot of information! Expect another update before we dismiss for Winter Break :). As always, please email me with any questions or concerns and thank you for reading!

MSMS STEM Fair 2018

It’s that time of year again! My goal is to make the school STEM Fair process as easy as possible. I will be hosting an informational meeting for 4th-8th year parents on Wednesday, October 10th at 5:30pm. The students were introduced to the STEM Fair during their Science lessons last week. During school hours, I will support the students in research, choosing variables, and creating their procedure. As parents, you are responsible for supporting your student at home. That includes understanding your child’s project, completing the required forms, supervising the experiment, and guiding your child in the layout and structure of their display board. As we have done in the past, the school will bulk order the boards and students are able to purchase them for a small fee. When the school orders the boards, we guarantee that they are the right size and color, and cheaper than purchasing one from Office Depot.

If your child needs some suggestions for a project, please look at the list that is provided by the District: PROJECT TOPICS

There is a difference between the expectations for grades 4-5 and grades 6-8. I see the STEM Fair as a learning process for the students in grades 4 and 5. Therefore, they will receive two separate grades from me: one for their STEM Fair packet and one for their STEM Fair board. The students will be judged by qualified community members but that grade will not be entered into FOCUS. That score is strictly to see who is advancing to the District STEM Fair in February. The students in grades 6-8 will receive a score from a judge and that score will be entered into FOCUS. Additionally, the students will receive a grade from me based on the ability to meet the due dates for their project and on the board.

STEM Fair Timeline for Grades 4-5:

Topic Selection: 10/15/2018

Signed Parent Acknowledgement Form: 10/15/2018

Research, References, Question/Problem, Hypothesis: 10/15/18

Materials, Procedure, Variables: 11/5/2018

Data and Results, Conclusion, Application, Abstract, Acknowledgement: 12/7/2018

Completed Project (board and packet brought to school): 12/13/2018

STEM Fair Timeline for Grades 6-8:

Topic Selection: 10/01/2018

Research Plan: 10/08/2018

All Signed Forms: 10/15/2018

Background Research and Works Cited Page in APA Format: 10/29/2018

Materials and Methods: 11/05/2018

First Data Trial Completed and Submitted for Approval: 11/16/2018

Completed Result Section (Data Tables and Graphs): 12/07/2018

Completed Project (board and logbook brought to school): 12/13/2018

MSMS STEM FAIR FOR ALL GRADES:

Friday, December 14th, 2018

MONROE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT STEM FAIR:

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 (Location TBA)

September 2018 Announcements

I can’t believe we are almost through the month of September! It’s been a little crazy around school and the lack of internet connectivity lately has put me behind in my posts.

The 4th years have finished their lessons on Earth and Space and I think they really enjoyed the last lesson on Florida and Space Exploration. The students completed a timeline and learned that there was a little competition going on between the United States and the Soviet Union in the space exploration race. We will begin moving into the study of Earth structures such as, rocks and minerals, their physical properties, and renewable and nonrenewable resources.

4th grade with RR
The 4th years after their lesson with Reef Relief Education Coordinator, Dora.

The 5th years have completed their lessons on Earth and Space as well. The students drew colorful drawings of the Solar System and learned that the planets travel on elliptical orbits around the Sun and they are, in fact, not in a straight line from the Sun. The have moved on to learning about the stages of the Water Cycle. In groups, the students made biomes out of bottoms of recycled soda bottles, pebbles, soil, seeds, water, and a gallon sized Ziploc bag. The students will be observing their biomes and how, because of the Water Cycle, the seeds do not need to be watered by us in order to grow. We will begin shifting our studies towards clouds, weather, and climate zones.

5th RR lesson
5th year students looking at a brain coral skeleton.

The 6th years had a fantastic and energetic brainstorming session with Elizabeth from Florida Bay Forever. In addition to their efforts towards our community education project, the students have been learning about Florida landforms and how they are affected by weathering, erosion and deposition. In the following weeks, the students will be studying the transfer of heat through Earth’s system and the cycling of water between the atmosphere and the hydrosphere.

Elizabeth (1)
Elizabeth, a Florida Bay Forever Board Member, leading a brainstorming session with the 6th year students.
6th grade science lab
6th year students working together on a physical and chemical weathering, erosion, and deposition lab activity.

The 7th and 8th years have been continuing their studies of evolution and adaptations. Within the last week, we have focused our lessons on bird feet and beak adaptations and even acted as birds for a hands-on activity! The students will begin to focus on the adaptations of fish and soon they will apply their knowledge of evolution to a lesson I have titled, “Evolution in the City”.

Bird Activity 1
A group of 7th and 8th years acting as birds trying to get M&Ms (insects) out of styrofoam (a tree log).
Bird Activity 2
A group of 7th and 8th years acting as birds trying to collect mixed, shelled nuts (seeds) off of a plate (the ground).

All grade levels were visited by Reef Relief this week. The Education Coordinator, Dora DeMaria, presented a lesson on coral reefs and an activity that was catered to each grade level. All of the students really enjoyed their guest speaker and are ready to share their knowledge about the ecosystem in their own backyard!

Please subscribe and look out for a post regarding the school STEM Fair within the next week! As always, feel free to email me with any questions and thank you for taking the time to read this Science update!

August 2018 Announcements

We are hitting the ground running! All classes spent their first Science class reviewing the classroom rules and lab safety. The 5th-8th years had a good laugh creating skits that demonstrated what to do and what not to do in the Science lab. I took some time to get to know the 4th years and their interests.

The whole school is putting a focus on Big History this year. Therefore, 4th-6th years will begin the school year learning about Earth and Space. The 4th years will learn about stars and the constellations. They will understand that the stars seem like they are moving in the sky because of the Earth’s rotation and revolution around the Sun. Additionally, the students will learn the eight phases of the moon and why they change throughout the month. The 5th years will learn about the three types of galaxies, classification of the planets, and Earth’s position in the solar system. During the summer, I received a grant through Florida Bay Forever, a non-profit organization. The grant funds a project for the students to work on throughout the school year. The project focuses on the water quality issues within Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades National Park, and Florida Bay. Elizabeth Jolin, a board member of Florida Bay Forever, will be visiting the students and facilitating a brainstorming session so that they can decide on their project goals. I decided that the 6th years would be the best fit for the project because they will be learning about Florida’s landforms and waterways and will be visiting the Everglades National Park in February with the 5th years.  The 7th and 8th years are focusing on Life Science this year. We are already diving into Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. The students will be completing some individual projects that will have an artistic component. I look forward to seeing their completed projects and they will be available for viewing in the Science Room!

**The 5th and 6th years have the opportunity to visit the Everglades National Park this year! The overnight trip will take place February 20-22, 2019. More information will be provided to these families soon!**

As always, please email me if you have any questions! Thank you for reading 🙂

Let me introduce myself…

Happy 2018-2019 school year!

For those of you that don’t know me, let me begin by giving you some background information about myself. I am originally from Nashville, TN and attended the University of South Carolina for college. I graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in Marine Science. I completed my senior study on the nesting habits of Loggerhead sea turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos. My passion for animals and the environment have led me to an internship at a zoo during college and my previous position as the Program Coordinator at Reef Relief. I started at May Sands Montessori as an assistant in the Sea Star classroom and am starting my second year as the Science Instructor for 4th-8th years. I currently have a temporary teaching certificate and am working towards my permanent Florida teaching certificate.

In my (limited) free time, I enjoy scuba diving, swimming, going to the beach, and playing with my dog, Shadow. The best way to reach me is through my school email. I am looking forward to a wonderful school year!