We are concluding our Oil Spill Engineering and geology unit. After learning about erosion, deposition, and weathering, students explored how an oil spill affects an ecosystem and the tools and methods needed to clean it. Students worked in groups to experiment with a variety of materials to clean a spill. Later they worked with a budget to clean up an oil Spill in a lab setting. Students had the opportunity to improve their designs and reflect on the experience. Our students also were fortunate to enjoy a presentation by PGE environmental specialist, Corey Carlson-Ham.
Fourth graders have been reading about geology in our language arts class. One of the writing activities was to research one of three volcanoes (Tambora, Mauna Loa, or the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park). Students used information from their language arts textbook and at least one website to create a wiki entry. They learned to search for photos that are licensed for reuse and also reviewed citing sources. Using Google Docs, students typed up their wikis using fonts and formatting that would make the information easy to read. Not only did they learn about a volcano, they now have an entirely new appreciation for what goes into making the web pages that they visit to find information!
April Hammer, a Newberg resident and geotechnical engineer, visited both of our 4/5 classes yesterday. Mrs. Hammer shared her work as a geotechnical engineer working in both eastern and western Washington. Her work involved gathering and analyzing soil samples to help aid the proper structural designs for buildings in certain areas. Students were treated to an interesting slide presentation as well as a demonstration of what her work involved. Her presentation was an excellent reinforcement to our recent geology studies.
Our 4th and 5th graders are beginning a unit focusing on the study of geology that will lead into a Engineering is Elementary unit on Oil Spill Cleanup. After learning about geology basics, students participated in a group activity which focused discussion and listing ideas around the following questions:
- What causes change (nonliving) on the Earth’s landscape?
- How do these changes affect people?
- What are some solution to these problems to help people?
Stay tuned. More pics and info will be forthcoming about this unit.