We have been studying the human body in science, beginning with digestion and nutrition. We read the book What Happens to a Hamburger? and traced the journey of food through the body. Ms. Torso visited us to help explain digestion. The children had many questions about this process.
We also explored My Plate (the successor to the Food Pyramid and the Four Food Groups), and how to build a healthy meal. We were able to name many favorite foods in each group: fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. We’ve been busy sorting foods into the five groups and thinking about what makes a healthy meal.
Our next Human Body topic was circulation and respiration. We learned about the three kinds of cells in our blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Each cell type has its own job. Red blood cells are like delivery trucks, taking oxygen through blood vessels to all the parts of our bodies. White blood cells fight germs, and platelets help us stop bleeding if we get a cut or scrape.
Next, we demonstrated what blood looks like under a microscope by filling a jar with Karo syrup “plasma” and candies representing the three kinds of blood cells – making sure to explain that we never eat food used for a science experiment, even if it looks yummy! We also watched a video of a white blood cell chasing a germ, which the children loved, and began our discussion of the heart and how it moves blood through our body.
This week the kindergarteners and Lower Elementary were the guests of Robin Spielberg and the Miami University Performing Arts Series. Robin talked to children about how a piano works and then discussed why and how she composes music.
We learned that pianos have over 12,000 moving parts, including 88 keys. This particular Steinway weighs about two tons! We experimented with the damper and discovered it could make a note last for 37 seconds.
When Robin asked why we compose and perform music, one of our students noted, “It’s like letting your feelings out through an instrument.”
Robin performed songs that she had written for her friends, cats, and even herself. She talked about why she writes music, explaining, “I compose music because I want to remember something, like a beautiful day or a wonderful memory.” Robin played gentle music, and we practiced quiet meditation, noting how calm the music made us. She read a book by her friend, Henry the Steinway and the Piano Recital, which explored the anxiety some children have about performing.
We ended the trip by helping Robin compose a song about a bear who ate a skunk and had eventful dream. Our students had so much fun and learned a great deal! When they returned to school, they reflected on their trip in their journals.
This week in Primary we have been talking about matter. Matter is anything that takes up space, and it can present in several states. We discussed the three most familiar states of matter—solid, liquid, and gas.
Using a hula hoop, students packed themselves inside to show how atoms are packed together when making a solid. It was impossible to move around in there! By removing a few friends, we could let everyone move around a little better, thus showing how the atoms are arranged with a liquid. Finally, we left only one student in the hoop to show how much room there is around the atoms in a gas.
We looked at some ice cubes and decided they were solid. Solids hold their shape unless a force exerts a change. Then we put the ice cubes in a pot and heated them, turning them into water. When we add energy to a solid, it begins to lose its structure and the particles pull apart, resulting in a liquid. Liquids take the shape of whatever container they are in. We kept heating the water until it had all evaporated, which meant the particles had broken apart completely and now roamed freely. Our liquid had become a gas!
We spent this week exploring the works on our shelves—shaking ping pong balls to represent a gas, pouring liquids into different shape containers, and painting with salt water so we can watch a liquid become a solid. Finally, we made bread with liquids and solids, discussing how yeast adds gas when baking to make the bread rise. It was the most delicious of our works! While waiting for the bread to bake, a few friends re- enacted the entire morning meeting outside, including making the bread.