Friday, October 9, 2009

Bangkok Shell Museum

Earth Science A and B classes had a field trip on Friday October 9, 2009 to the Bangkok Sea Shell Museum. We had been studying minerals/rocks, their properties, and how they form, and some students thought shells came from the same sources. So the field trip really helped students understand the difference between something that is made organically and something that is inorganic in nature. We hope to learn more about this as we begin to study other topics. There were so many varieties of shells, some coming from carnivorous animals, and others from herbivores. In any case, the students enjoyed themselves and afterwards they had a quick stop at McDonald's before returning to school for their afternoon classes.

Francis Horne, a biologist who studies shell formation at Texas State University, offers this answer.

The exoskeletons of snails and clams, or their shells in common parlance, differ from the endoskeletons of turtles in several ways. Seashells are the exoskeletons of mollusks such as snails, clams, oysters and many others. Such shells have three distinct layers and are composed mostly of calcium carbonate with only a small quantity of protein--no more than 2 percent. These shells, unlike typical animal structures, are not made up of cells. Mantle tissue that is located under and in contact with the shell secretes proteins and mineral extracellularly to form the shell. Think of laying down steel (protein) and pouring concrete (mineral) over it. Thus, seashells grow from the bottom up, or by adding material at the margins. Since their exoskeleton is not shed, molluscan shells must enlarge to accommodate body growth. This pattern of growth results in three distinct shell layers: an outer proteinaceous periosteum (uncalcified), a prismatic layer (calcified) and an inner pearly layer of nacre (calcified).

Hmm....So minerals are involved in the formation of the shells. We will have to futher investigate.

Science Club Experiences Combustion

I had the pleasure of teaching my Science Club students about combustion reactions today. We started out by viewing Grand Hanks video, which they liked a lot. Then we went to the lab, gathered the appropriate supplies, and we did a demonstration on the soccer field. The kids were so excited and they even were able to video tape me screaming! Then I explained to them that the reaction we just did is the same type of reaction that is responsible for sending rockets to space, except that NASA uses more fuel. We began making our own little rocket ships, but then the rain came. We decided to do a test launch from the second floor balcony since it was raining so hard. Next week we will launch the other 2 rockets we made. I ended the experience with 1 more demo that the students again video taped. I should be able to put an animoto slide show together so keep an eye out for that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Science Lab of Grand Hank TV Promo

I was lucky to meet Grand Hank at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in New Orleans.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wells Teachers

Wells International School recently hosted a workshop conducted by the College Board from the U.S. that offered strategies for engaging students in science practices...

Click on the link above to read the entire article.

Earth Science Trying to Grow Crystals

My Earth Science students have been learning all about minerals: how to classify them, learning about their properties, how they form, and how they are used in society. The closest we can get to making minerals is growing rock candy. As I began this lab with students I realized that they needed to have a better understanding of the states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases), and they needed to be able to distinguish between dissolving and melting. So after we made a super saturated sugar solution, added some food coloring, and left the solution in a jar to sit for a week, we conducted a couple of labs on understanding the states of matter.

Cellular Respiration

Students in my Biology class have been learning about photosynthesis and cellular respiration. They are in the process of conducting a cellular respiration lab in which they mix yeast and apple cider in a closed container. They put a balloon on the top of the container to trap any gases that are produced. This lab will require students to review cellular respiration, so they can come up with a reasonable explanation for the results of the lab.

What is Educator Space Camp All About

This link should take you to the news article and TV broadcast about the Honeywell Space Camp for Educators that aired on 12 news in Arizona.