Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Innovators/6 Rock Madness

The month of March brings about many changes and challenges.  The arrival of spring is evident as the days move towards the end of the month.  One of the great challenges of March is the prediction of the NCAA's basketball brackets for the college tournaments.  The competition is always fierce and the thrill and excitement of watching your predictions come to fruition is one of joy and often sorrow as the proverbial "Cinderella" team can cause havoc in the bracket.  We can enjoy this game of friendly competition as well, except our teams will be constituted of rocks!  Welcome to March Rock Madness, you will determine the field of 20 rocks that will compete for title of "the king of rock".  The competition will be based on the characteristics of  each rock and how they fare against one another.  The characteristics that will be considered in the competition include the following;

  • Type of rock
  • Melting point
  • Hardness
  • Luster
  • Cleavage/Fracture
  • Color 
  • Availability
  • Man's use of the rock
Good luck and may the best rock...roll!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Innovators 6/7/8 March Nature Connections

Spring is slowly trying to make its way into the outdoors.  IT has been a snowy and cold winter season but the time for growth and rebirth is already beginning to take shape.  The month of March was named by the Romans after Mars, the god of war and also of vegetation, which is fitting as this was the month that soldiers went to battle and farmers began planting.  The saying "March come in like a lion and out like a lamb" refers to the constellations Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram- both prominent in the March Sky.  This is the month to begin looking for signs of new plant life.  Go outside and listen to the chatter of birds, feel the first warm breezes, smell the damp earth, and know that here and now, all is right. 

Nature Connection Assignments

  • Nature Notes pg 123 (2 a week for a total of 8)
  • March Picture of the Month pg 125
  • Welcoming the Equinox pg 126-127 (Read for understanding)
  • Drawing what you see: Birds pg 130-131
  • Nature at the End of a Leash pg 132-133
Nature Connection Downloads 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

STEM/8 Three Stage Planetary Launch Challenge

Space exploration requires engineers to plan and develop machines and devices that perform specific tasks to complete the goal of the mission.  This includes, the launching of the rocket with a payload (rover, telescope etc.), the actual journey to the destination (planet, moon, orbital placement) then decent or destination.  This simplified explanation of a space mission can be engineered and modeled using the design process.  Your goal is to design a 3 part mission that will, launch your rocket (a launch mechanism), move your rocket to the destination (orbit transfer mechanism) and finally place the rocket in orbit around the destination (a gravity well).  With these objectives, your team must plan, design, build, test and redesign and test where needed to meet the three objectives.  A part of the design process, you will need to complete blueprints that shows your planing and design strategies as well as documentation of the continued process of design (video documentary). 

The three objectives focuses on the physics principles of motion, gravity and energy.  One of the most difficult aspects of space travel and exploration is the departure from Earth.

Objective #1
  The amount of energy needed to overcome the grips of Earth's gravity is an engineering feat in itself.  your team must develop a unique design that will harness the energy and power needed to propel your "rocket" into space. 

Objective #2
Once in space, there are various obstacles to overcome from an engineering and scientific perspective.  The development of a orbital transfer system will simulate the obstacles that all space craft must experience.  The laws of motion are essential to the understanding how space travel can be accomplished.  Newton's third law of motion  explains the basic motion motion of a rocket as it travels from the Earth into space and beyond. 

Objective #3
When landing a rover on a planet or moon, the payload must first establish an orbit around the destination to help with the landing of the craft.  The design and development of a gravity well will simulate the effects of gravity on an object.  Stellar bodies such as stars, planets moons and even asteroids possess enough mass to generate a gravitational pull on objects near by. 

The design of your project is unique to your teams ideas and build.  You may use various materials to complete the build, however the device must be safe to use and easy to set up and reproduce your results.  All documentation must be present the day of the reveal.

Monday, February 2, 2015

STEM 6/The T-Rex Debate... Predator or Scavenger?

Jack Horner, the famous dinosaur paleontologist, developed a hypothesis that stated that the mighty T-Rex was not the agile predator that we all paint it out to be, but instead a scavenger like a vulture.  His hypothesis is based on scientific study and evidence that he and his team found in the field while digging up T-Rex skeletons at the Hell Creek dig site.  Based on the video and information presented, what is your conclusion about the nature of the T-Rex?  Was it a predator or a scavenger.  Explain and support your answer.

Innovators 6/7/8 February Nature Connections

The winter month of February sees an increase in daylight each day this month.  This encourages some animals to begin to look for mates so that babies can be born during the spring months.  There are some plants that begin to bud out near the end of the month but in most other areas, winter is still very much present with many cold snaps and snow storms still to come.  The thought of spring however is beginning to creep into the minds of all, even the groundhog!

February Nature Connection  Assignments

  •  My nature notes (2 a week total of 8 for the month)  pg. 107
  • Picture of the month pg. 109
  • The groundhog and its shadow pg. 110-111
  • Looking at trees pg. 116-117
  • Mysterious Shadows pg.120-121
The Nature Connection Book page links

Friday, January 30, 2015

Innovators 6/Name the time period and geologic predictions.

One of the most popular time periods in geologic time has just past.  The Mesozoic Era included the numerous giants of the land known as dinosaurs.  these great beasts roamed the Earth for over a 140 million years.During this time, the level of diversity on both land and in the seas was once again reaching great heights as the dinosaurs, flowering plants and grasses emerged as the dominate species on the planet.  The movement of the plates helped to create the Atlantic Ocean (during the Jurassic) and to move the continents into their current places at the end of this era.  Yet once again, the reset button was pushed on the Earth and the infamous extinction event which killed the dinosaurs occurred approximately 65 million years ago, thus ending the Mesozoic Era.  This extinction event however was not as destructive as the Permian extinction but it did open the door for mammals and ultimately humans.  From you lab work and observations of the Mesozoic Era, what name would you assign to this present era of study?  You also want to look ahead to the final time period that we will discover and learn about.  What changes if any do you think will occur after the great dinosaur extinction.  look around you because we are living in this time period.  Remember however we are only focusing on the natural world not the man-made world!    

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

STEM/8 There goes my hero...

Energy comes in many different forms, from thermal and mechanical to chemical and electromagnetic and others in between, energy is everywhere.  So it seems only right that when designing a new superhero, they pull their power from one of these forms of energy.  You as the designer, must develop an origins story for your alter ego (super hero).  Your science fiction story must have a basis in the real scientific world and for it to be valid.  And what is a super hero without it nemesis? Your story must also include the nemesis and an epic battle!  You will also create an illustration of your main characters to show your audience who thy exactly are.  Use the link to Hero Machine below to aid in this task.  Remember the story must be well written, who knows it could be the next superhero movie!!!