Rivendell Science

Dancing Corn and the Scientific Method

We concluded our study of corn with the YK , PK and OK kids this week. Each of them used the terms “solution, dissolve, chemical reaction, conductor, controlled variable and realized the power of bubbles!img_2028img_2067img_2069img_2053img_2052img_2056img_2070img_2058img_2060

I added soap to the PK potion so they could watch it really ooze. They called it wizard’s potion.img_2071img_2074img_2081img_2084img_2066SCIENCE TALK>>>

The bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar react to release carbon dioxide gas. As the tiny gas bubbles form, they attach to the popcorn. The carbon dioxide is less dense (lighter) than the water, so once there are enough bubbles on the kernel, the bubbles lift the kernel to the surface.

Once the kernel reaches the surface, the bubbles on top of the kernel burst, releasing the carbon dioxide to the air, and the popcorn will turn over. Then, the remaining bubbles on the kernel will burst. Now, the kernel doesn’t have any bubbles holding it up, it sinks back to the bottom. More bubbles attach themselves to the kernel and they rise again, and keep on dancing until the reaction is over!

It was amazing to watch the kids as they finally caught on to the fact that the corn was NOT JUST FLOATING>>it was dancing and there was a specific reason why!

corn to popcorn….and stem challenge

We continued our journey of life cycles this week. We acted, drew, wrote and finally tasted the process of popcorn from start to finish.

Our PK and YK acted and drew and wrote about the life cycle, including learning more about the processing plant and truck to store.  The corn doesn’t magically appear in your kitchen does it?  The MK discussed the energy it takes from humans, sun, earth, more humans, processing power, truck and fuel, electricity or gas to run your stove or microwave.

The idea of where a product comes from will be one we talk about throughout our year. This topic can be called; start to finish, farm to fork, field to fabric or even our ecological footprint.  Once the investigation was complete, the MK got to experiment with “dancing corn.” we used good ‘ol baking soda and vinegar to excite our sunken kernels into a dance.





OK had a similar but more in depth conversation regarding the corn to popcorn cycle and finished with a STEM challenge using “candy corn.” Although we rated this activity as an EPIC fail, because the candy broke and no one was unable to build their tower above 1 story high…we used our tenacity, patience and spoke of failure as a BIG part of science.  They did get creative in 10 minutes of sticky fun. Next time we will use marshmallows or use all those left-over candies.



Autumn -leaves and pumpkins

We took a break to stop and enjoy the season.  We have planted tulip bulbs, collected leaves and are learning about cycles of a pumpkin, apples and corn.

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Leaves come in so many shapes, sizes and colors…so we decided to investigate them.  We studied some scientific terms like petiole, stipule, apex and blade.  We discussed how the green (chlorophyll) dominates the reds, yellows and browns. All these autumn colors only show up once the sun fades and energy returns to the tree. OK identified leaf types and vein patterns and made a scientific art piece.

PK and YK also investigated the life cycle of a pumpkin…asking the big question “what came first, the pumpkin or the seed?”  We read, wrote, colored and acted out the life cycle from seed, sprout, vine, flower, green bulb to swollen orange pumpkin and finally Jack0Lanterns!

While our science notes and artwork are being stored in their individual science folders (to come home at end of year) I occasionally hang them outside the class to show off.  Look outside our science lab to see the OK leaf work.



Ancient Greece and Rome~ wrap up!

Our village turned out to be the marvel of our week.  Each class placed their project into either Greece or Rome. They explained to each other whether the cobbled roads belonged in Greece or Rome according to the architecture. They went as far as explaining that an oneger was actually a catapult “taken to a new level, by the Romans.”


Middle Kids learned to research a topic with Jeff during computer time. They used their project topic as a “search topic” and learned to refine, add, subtract, check sources and skim pages according to content.  They used this information to share with the class what is similar and different regarding their project today.


All students used a legend to number their project within the city. They placed their name and topic on a chart and labeled it according to a color coded system. This was helpful for all students to come into view the villages and see just what each piece was meant to be. 20161012_142016-2                           20161012_142021

The younger kids especially loved looking at the intricate work the MK and OK put into each part and how their roads, bridges and aqueducts pieced it all together.

We hope you enjoyed viewing the city as much as we loved learning and engineering it.

Rome or Greece?….engineering a collaborative model

Our kids have been BUSY at work re-creating their own replicas of ancient Roman and Greek cities complete with all the popular features such as Roman bath house, temples, Archimedes claw, roads, bridges and aqueducts.  We have figured out the scientific link to each invention and how it applies to our lives today. Come to the science room Friday October 7- 11 to see our cities!

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Greek and Roman Engineering

They say “Rome was not built in a day.” and “All roads lead to Rome.”

We have been studying just how much of our life today is in fact influenced by the minds of the Greeks and the Roman engineers.  We discussed radiant floors that were established in Roman bath houses, curbs and gutters, bathrooms, milestones (mile markers), some of the greatest weight loading bridges which carried aqueducts, survey tools known as a groma, Archimedes screw, arenas, scaffolding, modern formulas such as Pi, and ancient tools such as an Abacus.  So much of our modern world has been shaped by the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

While the PK and YK actually practiced building ancient Rome with roads, bridges and working aqueducts, the MK and OK chose to create our own model of an ancient city and will build it together.


Each MK, and OK student chose a vital piece of history to study and build while the PK, and YK will put in all of our bridges and roads.  Our city will be on display on Friday October 7th. Come on in and see how our Rome was in fact built in a day, well three.


This week PK and YK built and learned to count on their own abacus.

F=ma!!! Building Catapults

Newton came a long, long, long time after Archimedes but he gained credit for this famous and fun formula that Archimedes already knew!

Archimedes the ancient Greek Mathematician figured out a great number of fun puzzles. One was how better to launch a catapult!  Your students all built catapults in Science this week. Some were simple, some complex, some full of tape and others’ needed revision several times over. They all shot and measured the distance of “heavy” playdough and “light” foil across the ramp.

We talked about force, mass, acceleration ~ how hard something will hit, how much something weighs, how fast something travels. We talked about how high it will go according to the angle of motion and distance traveled.

Above all- your students learned to study a model, collaborate with peers, explore new ideas, navigate their challenges (like rubber bands and hot glue) and engineer their own ancient Greek machine.

Along with weight and mass came density.  Archimedes realized that since gold weighs more than silver. He realized that water is displaced by weight and more poured out when dipping Heiro’s gold crown than a fake silver one….so the preschoolers and I talked about float and sink and made boats to hold heavy items.

Here is a link for the Northern County Makers Fair that is Happening in Loveland on October 8-9. This will be a great chance for families to see some amazing things that result in something as simple as engineering and cardboard, recycling creations. https://makerfairenoco.com/

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Ancient Greek Astronomy!

We dabbled in 2 of the Ancient Greek past times this week in SCIENCE> theater and astronomy. We acted out just what the Greek astronomers were observing in the sky.  We made ancient observations, meaning, we used NO technology, not even a telescope and viewed the sky as seen a LONG LONG time ago.

Some children depicted “all powerful Earth, sun, stars and planets” while others served as astronomers arguing whether the Earth was a tube, flat or as Pythagoras finally reasoned, round!

Finally we documented our observations in our notebook. It was hilarious, thought provoking and absolutely amazing to see just what our “modern day minds” already know.

Do not worry, I summed up the actual rotation of our Earth, moon and planets around the Sun.IMG_1852 IMG_1853 IMG_1855 IMG_1860 IMG_1866 IMG_1870

Science at Rivendell ~2016-17

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Hello Families!

My name is Kari Gill.  You can find me in the “Laboratory” teaching science to all grades on Thursday and Friday.  I am new to Rivendell this year and thrilled to be teaching my favorite subject! I also have the honor of working with some students in math and plan to put our application into practice with current science and engineering projects.

Many of you may have met me or at least my tortoise Wizard at our open house Monday. If you have not yet seen the “lab” stop by Monday-Wednesday morning and say hello.

We will simply call our class Science this year. I have come up with a fun Acronym that covers our intentions.

S-study C-collect I-inquire E- explore N-navigate C-collaborate E-engineer

As many of you may already understand, STEM includes science, technology, engineering and math.  This model is a wonderful model and works a bit differently from “the scientific method.” STEM specifically utilizes real world problems as a lens to look through and work from. I will utilize the lens of the school-wide topic units which all students are already studying and ensure  real world problems along with student projects related to each topic.

I encourage you to look at our Academics/Curriculum/ social studies/science where you will see our rotating four year Thematic Units of study. We are on year three. Our beginning unit is “Ancient Greece and Rome.”

I welcome guest teaching, collaborative projects, science goods for study or donation and any links to deeper learning you have found with your own family.

TAKE A LOOK at my blog once in a while to see what we are doing!