Posts from the ‘Science Experiment’ Category

What Makes Magma Rise?: A Science Experiment

Hot Lava

Vinegar + Baking Soda + Food Coloring = Hot Lava



Beck brought in a book which included an experiment on bacteria.  He was so excited that we got right to work making the gel to grow the bacteria. 

After the gel cooled, Vega was intrigued and wanted to be the one to choose and collect the samples.  The first one was her tongue.  She took a piece of tape and stuck it to her tongue three times and then stuck it to the gel three times.  She then repeated this process with new tape on the classroom door knob and on our classroom toilet seat. 

When we were guessing what might happen.  Everyone thought the toilet seat would grow the most bacteria and then the tongue but lo and behold our door knob was packing the most bacteria of the three samples.  Funny enough we have a pretty stinkin’ clean toilet seat since it grew the least bacteria of the three.  This was a great lesson in hand washing especially when thinking about washing vs. not washing before snack or lunch – EWWWW…

The Fizz Inflator

We are featured over at Science Bob’s Blog. A science project from a LONG time ago.  Everyone was so young and so cute.

More science to come – very very soon!!!

Playing Catch-Up

I was gone for four days at a funeral and while we were away we adopted a battered Australian Shepherd – so my evenings/blog time has been taken up with catching up from my trip and our new dog, Rosa.

We’ve been making math problems with unifix cubes and writing math sentences on the board.

Asher concentrates:

Jackson said; “This is the only reason I come to school.” – YEAH RIGHT!

We tried using motion and inertia to get a marble to stay in a cup without a bottom:

We made mosaics with our glass from Village Green Nursery:

Harriette painted a portrait of me:

We studied Sea Plant Life:

We’ve been playing hang man build a woman/cat/dog/baby etc – we LOVE this game:

We went ice fishing with ice, water, salt and a string:

We’ve been reading “Ask the Bones” and some have been a bit scared so we broke the group in two but some of us are LOVING IT so much!

We’ve also been reading the “Miss Nelson” books, “Henry and the Underground Railroad,” and “A picture book of Harriet Tubman.”

Me made Oatmeal Soda Bread:


                              Yield:  1 loaf
2 ½ cups Oats

1 ¾ cups Buttermilk
2 cups  All purpose flour

½ cup  Cake flour

½ cup  Whole wheat flour

¼ cup  Brown sugar

1 ½ tsp  Baking soda

1 ½ tsp  Cream of tartar

1 ½ tsp  Salt

2 Tbsp  Butter, softened
1 Tbsp  Butter, melted (for the crust)


  1. Put 2 cups of oats in a bowl.  Add buttermilk and mix well.  Allow to soak for one hour before proceeding.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. Whisk flours, the remaining ½ cup oats, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt together in a large bowl. 
  4. Cut in the softened butter with a fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
  5. Add the soaked oats and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. 
  6. Turn dough out onto flour-coated work surface.  Knead for about 12 turns, just until dough is cohesive.  (Do not overwork the dough – it shouldn’t be smooth.)
  7. Pat the dough into a 6 inch round.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf in an “X” shape, about ¾ inch deep.
  9. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. 
  10. Immediately upon removing the loaf from the oven, brush the top with the melted butter.
  11. Cool to room temperature before slicing (about 45 minutes.)

Building on 100 and Exploring Oil and Water (with snow out the window)

We built 300 sets of 10 – counted by 10’s and counted by 100’s and practiced writing our numbers. Some of us kept working through journal time and independent reading time.

We took a glass of water and a glass of oil and placed the water on top of the oil upside down on cardboard. We then moved the cardboard over slightly and the water and the oil changed places (it looked a lot like a lava lamp for a few minutes.)

Enjoy the snow…

Harriette Tells a Story & We All Get Into “Trouble” – YEAH!!!

During math today, we built onto yesterdays project and everyone made their own cards 0-10 and added the correlating circles to the back. This was also a great way for me to assess their math understanding and they were so into it – focused and loving the number play.

During science we made mini volcanoes out of baking soda, vinegar and food coloring – it was explosive and we were loud (so loud in fact, the teacher next door got after us – HA! – we LOVE trouble – well, as long as learning is involved!)

At story time, Harriette shared a book with the class that she had made at home. She sat, on the couch, and turned the pages while telling the story of “Mimi the Cat” and her many adventures. She was proud and articulate and filled with story. She beamed as she turned the pages and the entire class was mesmerized and asked to hear/see it again. It is the happiest I’ve ever seen Harriette (well, outside of being Ms. Silly.) Everyone kept saying; “How do you draw like that Harriette?” So sweet this little school family (well, for the moment – you know how families go!)

Zavier, Justin and Jackson make up a song “Three boys on a bench – all from the same class.” – repeat…


Tomorrow we head for Pier 66 and the Maritime Museum for Pirate Day via bus #22!!!

Heave-Hoe Let’s Go…

Everyday I think and often say; “these kids amaze me; they are brilliant and tender and hopeful and raw and fluid and ripe.” Do all teachers feel this way – we can only hope.

Today in the big yard, we had the rope out again. I said; “let’s play tug o’ (pause while I stumble around and figure out what to put in place of war) heave hoe!” It’s now the game of heave hoe and they love it, especially since they all played against lil’ ol’ me. They started out playing against each other but they really just wanted to all play against me. I don’t usually advocate “play against” or “win” and I didn’t really do that here either but man they kicked my behind. They figured out that if they used the volleyball pole and the bars as anchors that I couldn’t pull back – didn’t I just say; “do these kids really need a teacher?” It was a hoot, a holler and a heave hoe. Just ask Paul, he was there to witness the whole rotten debacle of me slip, sliding across the wood chips.

Today we also continued our multi-dimensional geometric designs with marshmallows and toothpicks. Wow, who knew this project would be the foundation for future architects. The objects are truly phenomenal. We are going to do this project all week long because as Brigit said; “Michelle, I like to work on things a really long time.” Thank goodness, someone does – she is a wonder at design and symmetry. Today I was talking to Sarah about how everyone has their specialty. This is so true. I’m hoping that my stories show how everyone in our class has their own special place, importance and shining moments.

We also made GAK today for science. We had two containers, I asked what colors they wanted, and one group said blue and the other said pink. I think I’ve tried to be so gender neutral or even opposite that I didn’t even see this coming or notice that I was helping them to make PINK and BLUE – all I thought was, they want pink and blue and lets do it. But after about a half an hour, I heard someone say lets go to the boy GAK and it took me a minute. I was thinking were there boys at one and girls at another and I looked up again and there they were – separating themselves by society deemed gender colors and there we had baby shower blue and pink – Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I took a breath and said; “hmmm, why is that the boy container?” and someone said; “because it’s blue.” I said; “hmmm, well, I’m wearing blue today, am I a boy? And they all said; “no” (while laughing of course) and then Neve said; “I’m wearing blue too.” They kept playing, the next time I looked they had switched, the girls were at the blue GAK, and the boys were at the pink GAK. Then they just mixed it up again and seemed to have forgotten and even mixed the two colors together. It’s funny, this blue/pink rule that exists. Argh – I’m trying. Hope they didn’t notice all my hmmms and deep breathing.

I Think We’re Really On To Something Here…

On Wednesday we continued our sewing projects and Zavier made this jazzy little, long-skinny bag with handles:

And we made invisible ink and wrote secret messages ala our da Vinci project book:

Then on Thursday, we went on our weekly fieldtrip; this week we went to Lincoln Park to do some leaf collecting for wreath making. We climbed, played on the zipper swing and then surprise James’ mom at their house just across the way. It was so cute to watch James show everyone around his beautiful house.

This squirrel thought my camera was food and tried to take it from me:

We are also getting to be old pros at jumpin’ on the bus and high tailing it to wherever our hearts desire. November 9th is the Maritime Museum for Pirate Day!!! Then December 7th we’re off to the Burke Museum to see Washington States only set of dinosaur bones.

Isabel’s grandma called the school today and left a message expressing her joy about our school and new K-2 class and the classroom journal. We also had a visitor who works in the public schools come by for a visit to see what we’re up to because she follows our journal and thinks we’re really on to something here (and Brigit taught her to sew)!!!

Also, my article “We make the road by walking” just came out in Natural Learning Magazine and you can pick up your very own copy at school.

Water-Crystals, Self-Portraits and Learning To Write Our Names

Our water crystals took about four hours to create. It was fun to watch them change throughout the day.

And today Jackson wrote his name on his own for the first time in class and wanted me to put it on the blog (it also includes a self-portrait with a nifty colorful shirt.) When his grandma picked him up from school today, he was so proud to show her his picture – it was the first time I’d seen him so excited about a “writing” project. I have to say I was teary. This is my third year with many of my kids and it’s a privilage to watch them learn and grow.

And just for fun – here’s me in my chair, at home, blogging (caught by surprise while getting teary again – what’s a teacher to do with all this love and who let me go to school in this outfit?)

…and Asher, have fun in Michigan – we’ll miss you.  When you get back we’ll go to see some pirates at the Maritime Museum!!!

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