Monday, April 14, 2014

STEM 6/7/8 A rare opportunity... in more ways than one!!!

Tonight is the first of four (also known as the tetrad)  eclipses that will occur this year. This total lunar eclipse as known as the "blood moon" will be visible in the United States starting at 12:53 am eastern time.  The moon will align up at just the right angle to create a total lunar eclipse.  At the height of the eclipse, the moon turn an eerie blood red color as the sunlight is bent around the Earth.  To see the "blood red" moon you must be outside between 3:00 am - 4:30 am.  Now just as rare as this opportunity is, you are also able to get extra credit in science by taking pictures of the total lunar eclipse.  Date, time and location must be sighted to receive extra credit!!  Also look for Mars in the sky not far behind moon.  It too has a reddish tint.  Good luck   

Thursday, April 10, 2014

STEM/8 Your Inner Fish

If we think back on our previous studies of geologic history and the advancement of life on Earth, we can remember that organisms advanced onto land and adapted to their surroundings.  This process of adaptation and evolution has continued over the millions of years that life has flourish on Earth.  We also focused on the unique aspects of life and looked at the importance of inheritance, genes and DNA.  We learned that the DNA of all living organisms consists of coded genes that are expressed to produce a phenotype that personifies the genotype.  The relationships that exist between various organisms is uncanny and thoroughly supports the theory of evolution and the speciation of life on Earth.  A new PBS series; "Your Inner Fish", looks at the human body and how it has evolved to be a very unique and interesting machine.  The series takes into account our interconnectedness to other organisms both past and present.  Watch the series and comment on the validity and scientific research and its presentation of the facts.     

Your Inner Fish Episode 1

STEM 6/7/8 April Nature Connections

April is the month of rebirth and growth.  Int he northern calendar it is the first full month of spring, a time when the days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter.  Many of the cold blooded animals are are beginning to emerge from their winter torpor.  The first of the insects are out-various bees, early butterflies, little gnats, and flies.  Earthworms are are coming up from their winter underground holes.  April begins the frenzy of awakening, breeding, gestation, birth, rearing, and growing up. For the farmers and gardener, the weather this month determines if the soil is warm and dry enough to begin plowing and if livestock can be turned out to pasture.


  • Nature Notes (2 a week total of 8)
  • Picture of the month
  • Exploring Nature pg 144-145
    • Take a walk on the wet side!
    • On a warm, sunny day, take an insect count.
  •  Spring Blossoms pg 146-147 (read and draw some flowers in your yard) 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

STEM/8 Build a better mouse!!!

Mousetrap cars represent marvelous contraptions that can be constructed with things you can find in any home.  All you need is a basic understanding of Physics and just use the tools that you have.
The great thing about the mousetrap car is that it has its own propulsion source.  The energy is stored and then released using a spring.  The snapper converts the kinetic energy and moves the wheels.  This will trigger a chain reaction in the device.  The energy is transformed and the car will move.  You do not need electricity or any kind of fuel to move this car.  You will be amazed to see what this little car can do.

Students will design and construct a variety of different mousetrap vehicles that can compete in one of three STEM competitions.  Challenge one consists of designing and constructing a mousetrap car that will travel a distance of 10 meters in the fastest time.

Use the engineering process, your team will design build test, evaluate and retest your vehicle  to determine the best design and performance to meet the challenge.

For a great resource, type into Google search "mousetrap mesa" and click on the first link. It will download a .pdf file that you can view.

Timeline for Mousetrap Car Challenge:
  • research/brainstorm
  • model designs but do not build anything yet
  • begin sketching blueprints for ideas (record reasoning!)
  • continue researching and sketching
  • decide on a design
  • begin building
  • finish building
  • begin testing
  • make modifications as needed

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

STEM/7 How Human is Human?

The DNA structure is a marvel of biological ingenuity.  However, all eukaryote celled organisms has it's own DNA structure that is the blueprint for gene expression.  Darwin's theory of evolution did not specifically discuss the passing on of DNA material, but he did however link the idea of favorable traits will be win out in the survival of the fittest.  So if humans are at the top of the evolutionary tree, does that we have nothing in common with our less "evolved" counterparts on the planet?  You may b surprised to find out we have more in common with many different types of organisms than you may have thought.  Click on the link below, to "Explore your inner animal", watch the short documentaries and comment on each part of the body and it relates to other animals.  Comment on your own thoughts about our close relationship with so many different organisms. 

Explore your inner animal

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

STEM/6 Catapult Challenge
The engineering design process consists of six steps: ask, imagine, plan, create, experiment, and improve.  You’ve been asked to build a cost-efficient catapult to complete a certain task.  Since class on Tuesday, you should have been imagining and brainstorming ideas for your catapult.  To supplement this step, watch the videos below.  These should help get your wheels turning faster as far as design and strategy.

Do some background research of your own and keep thinking about ideas to bring into class and begin sketching.  Your research and brainstorming along with these videos compose the “imagine” step of engineering design.  Be prepared by class time on Thursday to start the “planning” phase.

Timeline for Catapult Challenge:

  • finish research/brainstorming
  • sketch design ideas (BACK UP WITH REASONING!)
  • model but do not start gluing anything
  • before class ends, decide on one design for your group
  • complete blueprint for team design (WITH REASONING)
  • build catapult
  • if catapult is finished, begin testing
  • continue testing - make modifications if needed
  • prepare for competition

Friday, March 28, 2014

STEM 6/7/8 HERE SHE IS !!!!!!!!!!

Ok everyone, I know that you have been patient and have asked a lot about the baby.  So let me introduce her to you.  Her name is Stevie Hazel Pavlekovich, she was born on Friday March 21st at 11:20 pm.  She weighed in at 5 lbs 14 oz and was 19.5 inches long.  Mommy and baby are doing well Daddy is good too!  She is a little cutie!!!   I will be back on Tuesday, so we have a lot to get done and we need to get back on track.  Things will be hectic next week so be prepared to accommodate the need for change and a little bit of chaos