To kick off their environmental science unit, Teal and Indigo Bands headed out this morning for a half day excursion to Whirlpool Cave through Austin Watershed Protection. They climbed deep into the Edward’s Aquifer via caves to explore Austin's unique Karst topography and learn more about our city’s watershed. This experience will be helpful as they later move into a project focused on water quality in which the learners will develop their own water filtration systems.….
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Problem solving is an integral part of the learning experience at Long-View, and Indigo Band learners are working on the unique, not to mention complex, endeavor of constructing a prosthetic hand that can handle (pun intended) the task of grasping and lifting a cup of sand with a weight of at least 200 grams. “One of the biggest challenges is that we have to design it using materials either from the Maker Space or from home,” says Esme. “Marin’s prototype is really impressive,” she adds. “She’s even thinking about connecting a motor to it!”
Science at Long-View is a dynamic endeavor. Red and Turquoise bands began the year with a study of sound and light waves, and our young scientists could be found with tuning forks, ropes, and flashlights in hand as they created different kinds of waves and observed their motion. In group discussions, learners shared their observations, and debated and iterated their conclusions. Once they understood the fundamentals of waves, the learners designed and executed their own experiments in response to the question, "What happens to sound waves as they move away from their source?" As they designed, carried out, and presented their investigations, these young scientists worked to build skills like procedural design, data analysis, clear writing, mental and physical modeling, and graphing, which will continue to shape their work as they progress through Long-View's science program and beyond....
What does it mean to be a scientist and to “do science”? Over the last months, our Long-View learners have worked to better understand that, as scientists, we are always asking -- and trying to answer --questions about the natural world.
There are four ways that scientists go about this:
- By researching what other scientists have learned about a topic, using sources such as books, the internet, and published papers.
- By collecting their own observational data about the natural world.
- By designing and executing their own experiments.
- By analyzing the data that pertains to their questions collected by other scientists.
Through a series of connected investigations, we explored each of these ways of “doing science.” A “citizen science project” called Project Feederwatch out of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provided the initial stimulus...
Since the start of the school year, Long-View scientists have been collaborating in small groups to develop their understanding of experimental design. Because we will be using these skills in our science practice all year, it is important to start off with a strong basic grasp of how to how to design and perform a fair test experiment, how to look for patterns and trends in our data, and how to make evidence-based claims that answer the questions we explore with our work. In order to support sense-making of what our data is actually revealing to us about our questions, we also spent time learning about science concepts like force, velocity, gravity and friction.
This models the approach to science that we take at Long-View....