Monday, October 25, 2010


The theme fo this month's accretionary wedge is Desk-crops. My favorite deskcrop is one I inherited when I took over my current classroom lab. Because I inherited it, I don't know much of its history although I will assume it was collected somewhat locally. Although it is one of my favorites now, I'll admit that for the first couple of months, I didn't really look at it;  I thought it was another piece of basalt. Sure it had a nice blocky texture and vesicles, but in all, I just considered it another piece of basalt, like the kind we find all over around here.

But then, the former lab instructor started telling me about some of her favorite rock samples in the lab. She mentioned one with "lavacicles," so I got to looking for it, turned over this sample and there they were.

If you look at the right side of the block you can see the texture is much smoother, and the rock forms nice rounded surfaces, like drips frozen in time. I interpret this as once having been at or near the top of an old lava tube, the heat from a subsequent flow was sufficient to remelt a portion of the surface forming the lavacicles.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sam's Science Chat

This week in science class we talked about physical changes and chemical changes. One of the chemical changes was we put this alcohol on the desk and lit the desk on fire, the change was liquid to flame, heat, and light. We did this experiment three times the first time we only put a little bit on the desk, the second time we put some more, and the third time we put it all over the desk. The next day we had an assembly, it was the OMSI ( Oregon Museum of Science Industries) one of the things they did was show us what happened to the Hindenburg and he made "elephant toothpaste". On friday we saw a video of this guy with a big tub of murcury and he was talking about how dense it was so he showed us by dropping a cannonball in it to show that it floats.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sam's Science Chat

Sorry I'm late this week I went to my best friends house for the weekend. This week in science we studied matter, and that the two laws of matter are you can not create matter nor destroy matter. with those two laws Mr. S showed us a "magic trick" he put the stuff that is in diapers in a cup ( I am sorry I don't remember the scientific term for it ) and then put water in the same cup. Next he moved them around and made us guess what cup the water was in, but when he flipped the cup upside down nothing came out. Then he had us hypothesize what happend to the water one kid in my class suggested he was a witch. When he told us what he did he showed us how fast it turns a liquid to a solid.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Earth Science Week

This year's theme for Earth Science Week is "Exploring Energy"

In thinking about Earth Science Week, I tried to come up with a way to tie theme for the week to my role as an educator. Two articles from the popular press caught my attention. First was an article in NEWSWEEK that mentioned flows in the trans-Alaskan Oil Pipeline are down to less than 700,000 gallons (I think they mean barrels) a day out of a capacity of 2,000,000 barrels per day, and that future production was projected to decrease even further.

This article suggests to me the importance of people understanding the economics of oil. It is surprisingly easy to believe that as technologies increase we will simply be able to maintain our level of oil supply. This was reinforced by another column in NEWSWEEK that points out we have been expecting "peak oil" for nearly a century, but that technology advances have allowed us to continue to bring on line more and more resources. However, the second article also mentions that the cost of extracting these new resources is increasing. I think it is vitally important to get the general population to understand that an economy based on fossil based fuels is only going to become more expensive, and  this poses one of the great challenges to our future.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fossil Day

Today is national fossil day, so I thought I'd share a fossil from my teaching collection and let Sam tell a story about it.

One day in the fifth grade, my dad came to talk about fossils. After showing us a number of fossils, he passed this one around but he didn't tell the class what it was, so they had to guess.

While my dad was talking, one of my classmates K, was examining it very carefully holding it close to her face and smelling it. The boy next to her said "give it to me before you lick it." Pretty soon another girl in the class said she though she knew what it was, she said it looked like Dog Poo so she thought it was fossilized poo. When my dad said that is what it was K got out her 3 oz GermX bottle and dumbed it all out on her hand and began to rub it all over her face and hands.


The fun thing for me as an educator was that it definitely created a memorable moment for the class. At the end of the year the students in Sam's class each wrote what their most memorable moment of the 5th grade. Two of the students wrote that they remembered the day that K almost ate dinosaur poo!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sam's Science Chat

This week in science, Mr. S let us watch a Planet Earth video and we saw a part were the vine grew in fast mode.

We also saw a video called Toilets in Space. there was an astronaut who was talking about how instead of rely on gravity but air to take away the waist. We watched that video because the interesting science fact of the day was "Astronauts can not belch in space because there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their stomachs."


Friday, October 1, 2010

Sam's Science Chat

This is my first blogging about my science class in school. I will try every week to blog about something that happened in science class, but I have soccer almost every day after school so might not have time with practice and the games. I will call it Sam’s Science Chat.

My science teacher is Mr. S. Mr. S showed us an unborn baby deer this week. It was lying in a jar and had no fur.

Also, every day we get an interesting science fact, my favorites this week were that a giraffe only sleeps 30 minutes a day, they also have seven vertebra in its neck, the same as a human.

- Sam