Weather Site AND Potential Field Trip!!!

Hey there!

I’ve been continuing to plan our first science unit, and I’m uncovering some neat stuff!

Take a look at this website! In addition to great information on weather, it actually tells you how you can improve your skills at predicting the weather!

I’ve also discovered there’s an atmospheric research department at the University of Washington, and I’ve contacted them for information on perhaps visiting them this October! Ahhh, so exciting! The trip should be about $5 to cover the cost of the bus. Start saving!

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Heinemann Microgrant: Please Vote!

I’m applying on behalf of Wildwood and Federal Way GATE teachers for a $500 microgrant through Heinemann. Please vote on our project — you will need to create a user name, but I can’t tell you how much this would mean to my students!

Here are the details of our grant:

Your Name: Shannon Houghton

School Name: Wildwood Elementary

Project Description: Our students love music and are fascinated by instruments, yet most of them have never had the opportunity to see these instruments in person, much less have a chance to play them! This grant will fund a school membership to Soundbridge, a popular local field trip that aligns with our third grade science curriculum. The membership can be used by all classrooms in our school, and the grant will cover transportation for one team of students. Additionally, to ensure that we’re making our field trip experiences as meaningful as possible, we’re investing in professional texts on science instruction, which our district is deeply lacking.

How I Will Use the Funds:
$150 transportation costs
$75 Soundbridge membership fee (visit http://www.Soundbridge.org — this membership is valid for a full year and can be used by multiple classes)
$50 additional admission fee / program fee
$170 professional texts (including shipping; prices taken from Heinmann Spring 2011 catalog: The Essentials of Science and Literacy, Writing in Science, Science Notebooks, Science Workshop, The New Science Literacy, Questions, Claims and Evidence, and Doing What Scientists Do)

Why this is important to me: Our district is completely shifting its focus on science toward an inquiry-based approach. There have been few additional resources and professional development opportunities to help teachers and students deepen their understanding. This grant will not only impact me and my 25 students, but the resources will be shared with students and teachers throughout the district (21 elementary schools) to ensure all students have access to high quality science instruction.

You can vote between February 15 and March 14. PLEASE take five minutes to vote. The funding would be HUGE for us!

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Tuning Forks and Bells

We experimented with tuning forks today, and our class had a lot of great insights. Because I’m not allowed to post student first names on our site, I have identified students by the first letter of their first names.

  • It sounds like it’s humming… It sounds like it’s someone screaming, like “oooooh” (X)
  • It sounds like a fan, when you’re close to it. (A)
  • It sounds like a well when you call into it. (R)
  • I can feel it vibrating (R)
  • It’s like when you’re at the hospital and you can see the graph on the screen going up and down (E)
  • It sounds like a bell when you hit it on your shoe (L)
  • The big one makes a different sound from the little on (K)
  • The small one sounds louder and the big one sounds deeper (E)
  • When you look at it it looks blurry (L)
  • The big one is different because it’s taller (P)
  • It sounds like a vibrating coin going down a well (R)
  • It sounds like when you hit the bell at a hotel (X)

Here’s a video of handbells, which are kind of like tuning forks with megaphones to make them louder. 🙂

You can see a tuning fork in super-slow motion here:

And here’s “Ode to Joy” in tuning forks.

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