What is the ideal mix of sand and water to build a sand castle?
P.S. At least one of the chickens hatched at the school has begun laying eggs. Thanks Lorenzo for the news!
It's always exciting to see the bubbles and fog generated when solid carbon dioxide is dropped into hot water. For pics and a video clip, click here.
Over the last few weeks, one dozen snails lived in polystyrene boxes in the STEM Lab. We enjoyed studying them and their slow, graceful ways. Now, with the lids taken off their boxes, the snails wasted no time escaping. They seemed to enjoy the fresh air and renewed contact with terra firma. The snail dubbed "Usain Bolt" was the first to make it out of the box, stretching its foot and extending tentacles in anticipation of freedom. -mjp
"After weeks of around-the-clock companionship, there was no doubt about the relationship: the snail and I were officially cohabiting. I was, I admit, attached. I felt some guilt that it has been taken, unasked, from its natural habitat, yet I was not ready to part with it. It was adding a welcome focus to my life, and I couldn't think how I would otherwise have passed the hours" (from Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating).
It's Science Week and the Australian Museum hosts the Science Festival.
Experiments with water? Tick.
Bubbling liquid nitrogen? Tick.
Phasmids on the loose? Tick.
We were there to see it all. Check out the photo gallery.
Parents stepped out on census night to attend a STEM gathering at the school. They had the opportunity to try out some STEM activities -- ones their children may have completed in the same space during class. Thank you to the parents who participated and to those who expressed an interest in sharing their expertise with the children.
It's always wonderful to hear back from the families who chose to rear a pair of chicks: the close relationship between them; realising that one of the chicks is becoming a rooster; their behaviour out in the garden; the growing anticipation about when a pullet may lay its first egg. Thank you to the family who sent in these latest endearing photos. -mjp
Notes and letters from many interested families were dropped in the "Chicken Post Box" for the chance of rearing a pair of chicks hatched only nine days ago at the school. The draw was made and on Thursday and Friday all 10 chicks found new, caring homes. Although we will miss the little fluff balls, the experience of seeing them hatch and grow will not be forgotten. We plan to keep in touch with the adopting families to see how the "Chicken Project" is faring. -mjp
Early this week, ten eggs were delivered in an incubator. Many of us were asking the same question: When will they hatch? By the end of Tuesday, there was still no change, although some of us with sharp eyes thought they had seen one or two eggs wobble ever so slightly.
On Wednesday morning, two exhausted chicks had emerged from their eggs. By the end of the day, there were seven fluffy chicks cheeping at the three remaining eggs as if to say, "Come on slow coaches!" Healthy chicks are moved from the incubator to the brooder where they can drink water, eat food pellets and scratch around in the wood shavings. A light bulb will keep them warm.
In the week commencing 16th May, there will be a cardboard post box near the chicks. Families who would like the chance to take home a pair of chicks at the end of the week should post a letter in this box. The letter is to be written by an adult explaining that the family is prepared to give the chicks a good home. It should include contact details. If there are many offers from families, we will select a small number at random and contact them. - mjp.
Last week, new furniture arrived for the STEM "flexible learning" space. Thank you to the children who excitedly helped unpacking and arranging it -- well done!
The chairs and tables can be moved into different configurations (the tables are also height-adjustable) which is ideal for the wide range of activities covered. There are new partitions which might remind older visitors of Lost in Space (yes, the 1960s American series about the Robinson family). What's the connection? Come and tell me! -mjp.
To the mathematical, musical and 'mazing Year 4 class of 2015, let's raise a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice: may you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas and continue next year to be the students who care so well for each other, and thrill to enjoy all that the school has to offer!
Let's fill our glasses again. This is a toast for those students in Helsinki we have just begun to know. May they also enjoy the Festive Season and soon receive with our good wishes the writing and postcards we have sent them. Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta! -mjp
Some living things are not so easy to identify. What can you see in this photo taken during the term break?
We have begun by thinking about Australian native animals. How can we classify them? What are special Australian groups? How can the lifecycle of a marsupial or monotreme be described? This YouTube video we watched in class shows the lifecycle of an echidna.
Read some of our animal prayers under Year 4 Posts.
Take a look at our excursion to Taronga Zoo.
At lunch time, twenty-five children met for a game of chess in one of the school's new learning areas. At this stage, while all standards of play are welcome in the chess club, participants need to have a basic knowledge of the game and belong to a class from Year 2 up. Anyone wanting to join should ask their teacher for a permission slip. Play continues next Tuesday. - mjp