Barnesville’s Middle School Science Lab has been buzzing with activity as students learn concepts through hands-on activities. Middle School Science Teacher, Helen Miller, shared, “The best thing about Science is that it can easily be seen,” and she has already brought to life several concepts in her classroom.
Fifth Grade students were recently spotted exploring in Explorer’s Woods, looking for organisms to support their study of food chains. Students found worms, slugs, beetles, and moths and had to ask, “What does this organism eat and what eats this organism?” They then worked to create food chains with the organisms they were able to identify.
The fifth grade science year is designed to provide the students with an introduction to Physical Science through a yearlong study in ecosystems. Major topics include: chemical and physical changes in matter, properties of matter, gravity and its effects on natural systems, and energy flow in an ecosystem. The students participate in hands-on activities, interactive class discussions, and class labs. Students are given several opportunities throughout the year to apply their knowledge to creative projects and presentations that they get to pick.
Sixth grade students study Earth Science and cover topics from rocks, to volcanoes, to space. Using a flashlight, ball, and camera, students recently recreated the phases of the moon. Moon phases can be a difficult concept to grasp, but by creating models of the sun, Earth, and moon, students were able to visualize the phases as they learned.
In Seventh Grade, the Science curriculum focuses on the study of life, beginning with the traits of living organisms and the study of cells and their organelles. Students dove into their study of cells by creating models of a Eukaryotic plant cell or a Eukaryotic animal cell. Students discovered that the structure of these cells support their function (as do most things in the world). If you look closely at students' cells, you can see a nucleus and nucleolus, cell membrane, mitochondria, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulums, along with lysosomes, the cytoplasm, the golgi body, and ribosomes. Students that chose to do a plant cell included chloroplasts, cell wall, and vacuole while students that chose an animal cell represented a centrosome as well.
Balloons were flying through the classroom as Eighth Grade students studied the Kinetic Molecular Theory, which states that all matter is made up of particles that are constantly moving. Each student was provided with a balloon to represent a particle and used the balloon to demonstrate the particle motion and energy during different states of matter. During the solid demonstration, students held their balloons close together because in a solid state particles are tightly packed and just barely move. For the liquid demonstration, students spaced out and moved their balloons slightly to show the increase in energy and freedom of movement liquids possess. In the gas state of matter (a student favorite), particles’ energy greatly increases as does their freedom to move.