4th grade began learning about our SOLAR SYSTEM this week in the STEM Lab. This is one of the most memorable lessons that students take part in. Not only do we learn about what makes up the Solar System, but we also build a model....in the hall....USING TOILET PAPER?!?!
This lesson helps to introduce students to the immense size of our Solar System, the planets, and other parts of space. We also take a walk to the closest star to our solar system...Proxima Centauri. This is a great introduction to the next unit of science for 4th grade.
Today was all about SOUND in the STEM Lab. We started by talking about how sound is made through vibrations in matter. Tuning forks are a great way to hear and feel the vibrations that are making the different notes. Using a slinky, the students were able to see how sound waves move.
Another fun way to experience sound, and an easy at home activity, involves a spoon tied on to a string. Students wrapped the ends of the string around one finger on each hand. Then, they put their fingers in their ears and lean over. Neighbors carefully hit the spoon with pencils. The spoon sounds like a loud gong!
Glass containers of water were used to help students experiment with different water levels and how that changes the pitch of the sound made when hitting the glass.
4th Grade students have been studying light and sound. In the STEM Lab we explored more about the properties of light. Our focus was on REFRACTION, REFLECTION, AND ABSORBTION. Students took part in activities that helped them to see these properties working.
Students used prisms and cd's to separate white light in to the color spectrum. The Broken Pencil activity showed the students how refraction, or the bending of light can cause a pencil to look broken when placed in a glass of water.
Mirrors are used to help students learn more about reflection. They tried passing light around their tables using the mirrors.
The color of the objects that we see is largely due to the way those objects interact with light and reflect or transmit it to our eyes. When visible light strikes an object and a specific color becomes absorbed, that color of light will never make it to our eyes. Any visible light that strikes the object and becomes reflected or transmitted to our eyes will determine the color or appearance of that object. So the color is not in the object itself, but in the light that strikes the object and ultimately reaches our eye.
The "Hidden Message" activity was a fun way to show kids this property.
Mrs. Guckert is the STEM Lab Teacher at Rocky Mount Elemetary. This is her 4th year teaching at Rocky Mount. The STEM Lab is fully funded by the Rocky Mount Elementary School Foundation. This program would not be possible without the generous donations to the Foundation from the Rocky Mount community.