Monday, November 28, 2011


We are now beginning our study of the cell, the basic structure of all living organisms. In the early seventeenth century, Galileo Galilei put two glass lenses inside of a cylinder. After looking through the cylinder he was able to identify tiny geometric structures in the eye of an insect. While Galileo is not considered a biologist, he is credited with being the first person to look through a microscope and make an observation of the microscopic world.


Research question: What are some of the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells? List five differences in complete sentences. You can use the links below.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Marie!

For the last few weeks we have been talking about elements and why some want to combine to form other things. In science, this study is known as Chemistry. Work in the field of Chemistry has contributed incalculable advances in our society and something tells me that we are just scratching the surface of what this science is going to do in the future.

Today, Google is celebrating the birthday of one of the greatest chemists in history, Marie Curie. Madame Curie was a brilliant scientist who added a wealth of knowledge of the elements to our current lexicon. She is truly a hero of science.


Go to Google

Click on the Google icon displaying Marie Curie.

Pick one of the links about Marie Curie (not Wikipedia).

Write down ten facts about Marie Curie.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome and Welcome Back!!

Woo-Hoo! New School Year!

Monday, April 25, 2011


"If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." Sir Isaac Newton

This week is the culmination of the "truism" unit, a cross-curricular learning experience that branches between science, English, social studies, math, and art. The truism that we have focused on, written above, reflects one great mind in history acknowledging that he was only able to do the things he did due to the work of people that came before him. I imagine that as you write your hero essays you are also discovering that those people were highly influenced by people that came before them.

Beth and I have been talking to you in class about the mathematical concept known as the parabola, which is a geometric shape. Parabolas are pretty simple things when you look at them on a piece of paper, as when we graphed the swing of the pendulum. However, parabolas can also lead to amazing inventions (like the massive radio dish in the picture above) and when you look for them you can find them all around you, occurring naturally in the world.

The video below was the inspiration behind the lab we did and it also shows examples of parabolas in nature.


1. Go to the following website about solar cookers: Solar Cookers

2. On a piece of paper (to be turned in) design your own solar cooker.

3. List 5-10 parabolas that you noticed today (post these on the blog).

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Moving through the renewable energy resources, we are now going to begin discussing hydroelectric power. Hydro is an ancient Greek word for water and hydroelectric is using water to create electricity. Usually this means damming a river in order to channel the water of that river through a turbine which turns the shaft of a generator creating an electric current.


Watch the video below and describe how hydroelectricity works.
Extra credit: Research Micro hydroelectric power and describe it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


By some estimates, Earth's windiest places could generate more than 10 times the energy used worldwide. But what are the obstacles that prevent us from doing it? Technological advances and the money to fund them are the primary barriers to our becoming free of our dependence on fossil fuels.


Watch at least two of the videos posted. Write a detailed paragraph describing what you learned in the videos.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Solar Energy

This week's unit has been about renewable energy, the type of energy we get from sources that can be replaced on a regular basis. Mostly, we are talking about the sun because the sun fuels the renewable sources, either directly or indirectly. For now, we'll talk about the direct ways, like passive or active solar heating.


Watch the video and describe how a photovoltaic cell works.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nuclear Power!

Another type of nonrenewable resource is derived from the metallic element found underground called Uranium. Nuclear power, when we create electricity by obtaining energy from splitting Uranium atoms, is an alternative to burning fossil fuels. There are many pros and cons to nuclear power and in the next week we will spend some time analyzing them. First, let's figure out how it works.


Go to the following website:

Read through the first two pages on this link.

Write a paragraph description of what nuclear energy is and how it works.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Today we did an electricity lab where we created a battery. Journalist Thomas L. Friedman, author of the book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, argues that we need a "green revolution." He suggests that, as a country, we invest in alternative energy products with the same type of enthusiasm that sent people to the moon in the 1960's and 1970's. We need to find "a way to produce abundant, cheap, and reliable electrons" and he argues that the country that does this will receive the most respect from the rest of the world. Why do we need electrons?


Watch the video with the amazing narration.

Right down 5 facts from the video about electricity.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oil Formation!!

Today we talked about how fossil fuels form. Peat is the material that later forms into oil, coal, or natural gas. There is peat all over the world right now that may, in time, turn into a fossil fuel. It is usually found in swampy areas (and usually it does not smell very good).


Go to the following website: How Stuff Works
There are several pages connected to this link that will provide the answers to the questions.

Answer the following questions in your own words:

1. What is crude oil?

2. What is a hydrocarbon?

3. How do you get gasoline from crude oil?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Electricity seems so clean. We flip a switch and the light goes on. But where does it come from? If we follow the trail of electricity back to its starting point we find a different picture. The mining of coal is not clean or elegant. Mountaintop removal, one common type of coal mining, essentially blows up the surface of the Earth in order to uncover the organic rock underneath. In beautiful West Virginia, there is a debate about whether they should continue their long tradition of coal mining or stop it in order to keep the state in its pristine condition. People on both sides feel very passionately about this and the feuding between them is becoming hostile. But what should be done? If you side with the people who want to stop the mining then you need to sacrifice your own use of electricity. Are you willing to do that? On the other hand, can our Earth survive if we continue to disrupt ecosystems the way we are.


Watch the video below.

Write a paragraph about what you think we should do about electricity consumption in this country.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Nonrenewable Energy

Except for the sun and the occasional meteorite falling to Earth from space, the Earth contains all of the natural resources that humans and animals use to survive. Some of those resources feel abundant, like we will never run out of them, while others feel less stable. Nonrenewable resources are a type of resource that is limited in our Earth and mostly refer to the energy source known as “fossil fuels.” There is only a certain amount of fossil fuels in the Earth and humans are using them at a much faster rate than they can be replaced. There will be more fossil fuel in time, but it will take another several million years for it to form, which will probably not do the human population much good. But how much time do we have before we run out? This is a question that is unanswered and hotly debated in the scientific community. I believe that your generation will be the one to come up with the answer.


Go to the following website:

Answer the following questions in your own words. Please use examples from your own life to back up your answers.

1- What is energy? (Do not say “the ability to do work”)

2- What is the difference between potential and kinetic energy?

Give two examples from potential and two examples from kinetic energy in your real life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Layers of the Earth!

Recently, we've talked about the inner layers of the Earth and that scientists believe that there is a solid core surrounded by a liquid outer core. We also know that the solid crust sits on top of a semi-liquid layer called the asthenosphere which allows the tectonic plates to move and shift over time. This shifting of tectonic plates is responsible for earthquakes, many volcanoes, and the formation of mountain chains. But how do scientists know about the middle of the Earth when we have only traveled a few miles below the surface?


Go to the following website: Seismic Waves

Read the page and go through the activity, answering the questions and checking your answers.
Write a short (a couple of sentences) explanation of how scientists know about the layers of the Earth.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Today we talked about igneous rocks, the type of rock that forms when rock matter is melted down and then cooled. Igneous rock can form underground but when it comes out of the ground it forms volcanoes. The largest mountain in the world, if you’re looking at it from the bottom of the ocean floor, is Mauna Kea, an island in Hawaii (source). Whenever a volcano erupts it produces lava, which cools into different types of igneous rock.


Research one of the following volcanoes and, in your own words, tell the story of how it erupted and what consequences it’s eruption had on the local environment. We will be using Wikipedia today (and today only!).

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Etna

Mount Tambora


Mount Pelee

Mount St. Helens

Mount Pinatubo