be excellent to each other & don't run with scissors

4/180 Balloon Pop begins!

I love starting the year off with this project. It gets the students doing and making very quickly. I’m always impressed with the creativity in their designs and how they work as a team.

1/180 Daily Date Doodle Returns

Two great things happened today, I got to meet a bunch of fabulous 9th-grade students and I got to start the #dailydatedoodle project again.


Teachers start before we actually “start”. After a great summer of visiting National Parks with my family, it was good to be with fellow teachers again.

Mentor training meeting was a good time to reflect on what teachers need to be successful in today’s classroom. Also gave me pause, I’m about to start my 19th year of teaching!

Sketchnotes forever!

two pages of sketchnotes from a meeting about mentoring new teachers

176:180 Final Project

Students worked in groups to build a Rube Goldberg machine to perform a task of their choosing. Throughout the build, the themes of Energy conservation and conservation of matter were explored. Many chose to use a battery operated LED circuit that they built because of the storytelling that can occur just with that one simple build:

  • Electrical energy transformed to thermal energy by the soldering iron to solder the parts together in the circuit
  • The transformation of chemical energy (battery) to electrical energy (circuit) to light energy (LED).
  • Conservation of matter: measuring the decrease in the spool of solder mass at the beginning of the build, to the ending mass of the final circuit.

Always fun to watch the students’ process, and the joy that they have when their ideas work.

169:180 Final Project has begun!

163:180 Waves, Particles, and Light

We investigate light at the end of Natural Science and Engineering and see how both wave theory and particle theory was necessary for us to understand the electromagnetic spectrum.

140:180 Phase Change & Soldering

The Natural Science & Engineering students have been studying how heat energy added or removed from a system affects states of matter. We applied these ideas to learn how to solder. Each student created a ring of wire that included learning how to use wire strippers, create an in-line splice, and soldering that splice together with 99.3% Sn/0.7% Cu rosin core solder. They will use these skills next week when they build an LED flashlight which we will use to model the photoelectric effect.

137:180 Kindness

The science department ran a food drive this week, the students donated a pickup-truck loaded of food headed for the Worcester County Food Bank.

126:180 Building Batteries

Natural Science and Engineering built batteries out of common household parts that were able to light up a 2.2V red LED.

95:180 Chemistry of Change pt. 1

NS&E is exploring chemistry right now to prepare in building batteries from common parts. This is always a fun build because there are so many unique results with groups and the students enjoy seeing the differences. Every year I go to the bank to get a new batch of pennies to be cleaned using our process.

Flow chart of how to clean pennies using salt & vinegar solution

But this year when I opened the box of pennies from the bank I had a small problem…they were all new and straight from the mint!

a box of 25$ worth of pennies
25$ worth of pennies, surprisingly heavy!
an open box of 25$ worth of brand new pennies, very shiny orange-pink
25$ of brand new mint pennies – pretty, but not good for our activity
 closeup of fresh from the mint pennies, very shiny and orange-pink in color
Close up of pennies from the box of 25$

To be continued…

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