Science Fun


Posted On: 24 Jan

Perry Harrison is our Spotlight School of the Week


GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: Skin N’ Bones
Scientist: Davis

I had so much fun at Perry Harrison today!
I was teaching Skin N’ Bones, which I learned today, is my new favorite program! It has everything you could want! Fun challenges testing your reflexes, difficult tests of the mind, and you even get to hold a cow heart!!!

I was amazed, however, to discover the experiment that seemed to stand out the most to the students today was the test of the pupillary light reflex. I begin the discussion like this:
Do you ever wake up in the morning, and the lights are off, and you are so comfy you feel like you’ve melted into your mattress. And you can see everything in the room even though the lights are off. And you’re lying there so comfy and you say to yourself “Ahhh, I love my bed! I’m never leaving! I will live out the rest of my days right here! And just as your are snuggling yourself into your sheets, your mom, or dad, or brother or sister comes in and turns on the lights and says “WAKE UP!” and then your eyes MELT OUT OF YOUR FACE BECAUSE THE LIGHT HURTS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

I then explain to them, that the big reason for this is that you have dilated pupils. When the room is dark, your pupils grow to let in more light. When the lights come on suddenly, light is able to flood into those big peepers, and it overloads your dark adjusted eyes! Once the light has come in however, your pupils actually shrink, allowing in less light. This happens automatically without our control and is called the Pupillary Light Reflex. I then tell the kids that they can actually see this happen using a mirror and a flashlight. Simply look at your pupil in the mirror, and then shine a (dim) flashlight on your eye. You should see your pupil shrink very quickly.

Watching the students at Perry Harrison experiment with their pupils was so much fun. Many knew that this reflex happened, but had never seen it before. Every time they would watch their pupils shrink they would shout “THIS IS SO CREEPY!!!” (giggling the whole time).

I get so much joy out of watching students enjoy these new experiences in science and I appreciate Perry Harrison for having me in to share those experiences with their 3rd grade students!

Have a wonderful day!
Scientist Davis

Read More
Posted On: 17 Jan

St. Mary Magdalene is our Spotlight School of the Week


GRADE: 1st
PROGRAM: Measure Treasure
Scientist: Craig

It (was) Friday! By the time you read this, it won’t be Friday anymore. Anyway, I was excited to wake up and attend my favorite grade at St. Mary Magdalene today. I had visited the first graders earlier this year, so they knew a little about what to expect. Today I was teaching them all about the importance of measuring in science. As a reader, you might be thinking this may be a very boring topic to bring into a classroom of first graders. Well, I was confident I had it all covered.

We started off discussing the importance of standard measurements instead of non-standard in science. To show them, we made one of my favorite experiments: Elephant’s Toothpaste! We measured out specific amounts of chemicals to create a wildly, foamy concoction. By doing this, we were able to understand what might have happened differently if we didn’t use correct measurements.

The students then had a chance at engineering and operating a crane that was able to lift some treasure from the bottom of the ocean. This required them to use some estimates as well as exact measurements so our crane did not topple over and was strong enough to lift our treasure.

After deconstructing our cranes, we used chemicals to measure out chemicals to create exploding mini volcanoes right in the classroom. The students always get a kick out of the eruptions. We concluded our program by creating slime. Of course, this required exact measurements to create the consistency that we wanted. Weirdly, the students mentioned how much the slime smelled like Cheerios. Never a dull moment!

Keep Exploring!

Read More
Posted On: 21 Dec

Olds Elementary is our Spotlight School of the Week

Olds Elementary

GRADE: 2nd
PROGRAM: Sound Surprise
Scientist: Christine

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Chris…Wow! This school is right by my house. What?! How have I never been to this school? I used to run by this school every Wednesday with a friend from Run Club.

These were the thoughts running through my head when I pulled up the school on Google Maps. I was delight it was only 11 minutes away and that I would be in a beautiful neighborhood in downtown Raleigh. Although, it was raining I was delighted to try out a new school. That’s one of the most delightful things about this job. Visiting new schools! I have been to over 200 different schools in NC! Maybe even more than that, and I love adding more to my list.

A new school has a good ring to it. Ring? Noise? Vibrations? What a perfect day to teach “Sound Surprise” to the 2nd graders at Olds. I succeeded at surprising them with a needle balloon pop and made student giggle with delight when being splashed in the face with water.

So much water on a rainy day! Hopefully, next time, it will be sunny, but like I said it didn’t’ get my spirits down.

Read More