Friday, January 29, 2010

Chemical Challenge and Oobleck

Today students started with a challenge list of items and had to classify them. They had to tell me whether the stuff was elements, compounds, or mixtures and then tell me the symbol, formula, or composition. First place in second period went to Brittany, Gabby, Chris, and Taryn. In third period, first place was a tie between Riley and Sabrina and Brittany and Kathy. Congratulations.

We finished up notes by talking about boiling points, vapor pressure, and how heat changes all of those things. We are looking at a test Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

We finished this Friday with an OObleck lab. Oobleck is so named because of the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, but oobleck is a cool colloid because in some cases it acts like a liquid and in other instances it acts as a solid.

Students experimented with it and tried a variety of tasks including the hammer test, the burn test, pour and conformity and others. Rachael is trying the pour test and writing her results at the same time! She thinks this makes oobleck more like a liquid.

Austin was very gung ho about trying the bounce test for his Oobleck. His conclusion is that oobleck bounces so it must be more like a solid. Oobleck even has its own Wikipedia article. For more information and more exact ways to make it, check out this article.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heat and Reviewing concepts

Today we started class by going over yesterday's density problem homework and the physical and chemical homework from the day before. I brought up the density triangle that they may have learned in eighth grade to help them solve difficult problems.

Next students worked on sorting characteristics of solids, liquids, and gases. Then students worked with matching cards on a variety of current topics like physical and chemical changes, phase changes, phases, and types of matter like element and compounds. Students seemed to enjoy matching the cards and some teams were racing. I think it was helpful for them to review sometimes confusing and similar concepts.

We did a little bit of notes about specific heat and heat capacity. Heat capacity is the amount of energy needed to raise a substance 1*C. Heat capacities depend on the amount of the liquid and how it is contained.

Specific heat is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 gram of a substance 1*C. Specific heat is measured using a formula with J/gC. Apparently that now stands for Jancaitis gone crazy instead of Joules per grams Celsius.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Physical vs. Chemical Lab

Today was a lab day and student investigated physical and chemical changes. Students worked in small groups and rotated around the room to try different things. Students were very responsible with the chemicals involved and have proved that they are capable of doing complex labs and following directions. Congratulations.

One station where Copper and Nitric Acid were mixed was done on the computer using a YouTube video. We could not do this experiment in class because we were missing one of the reactants. It is a cool reaction and you can see here that TJ, Dontae, Ray, and Tevin are interested (even if you don't really need goggles and aprons to watch a video).
One interesting experiment was mixing two clear liquids that formed a yellow precipitate. A precipitate is a solid. So two clear liquids produced a tube full of yellow powder. Here you can see Rick mixing the liquids. Below you can see Sabrina and Krystin (I think) checking it out. If you want to see some videos we took in class from last semester, check here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Phase Changes

To start class, we reviewed chemical and physical changes and properties. Its a lot harder than most people think and I could hear brains stretching as students tried to classify the terms and scenarios provided. Here Tabatha, Jewell, and Olivia contemplate their answers.

Today we reviewed the qualities of soilds, liquids, and gases. Then we discussed how these phases can be arranged on a graph or diagram. There are two types of phase change diagrams. One looks like a branching tree and the other looks like a line.

We talked about how to label them and what the parts mean, where the phase changes would go, and things like that.

To review these graphs, we played SWAT. Swat involves two teams with hands on flexi-wands beating the wall to try to be the fastest to identify a verbal question.

In second period, the left side one and the right hand side won in third period. Winner received stickers for their efforts. Austin gives an evil look while showing his SWAT skills. His team won in third period.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Physical vs. Chemical

I handed back papers and labs today and we had a discussion about what makes a good scientific conclusion. I read a few of the excellent conclusions I received.

We talked about the Law of Conservation of mass and how matter cannot be created or destroyed. If you burn a log, the mass of all the ashes, smoke, gases, and everything that is burned off and left behind EQUALS the mass of the original log.

Today students discussed physical vs. chemical properties and changes. They've heard all of this before I am sure, but it doesn't hurt to go over it again. Then we did a challenge to see if they really knew their stuff. In second period, Kaboria earned a perfect score and a pair of star sunglasses. Jasmynne, Jessie, and Laura only missed one of the 36 possible points. Awesome! In third period, there was a 3-way tie for first place with 34 points between Corrin, Delafayette, and Riley and Riley won the star glasses! Second place was a tie between Sabrina and Dara.

We finished class with a discussion about solids and liquids.

Need to practice identifying chemical and physical properties? Check this out!

Need help identifying types of matter and whether they are heterogeneous or homogeneous? Check this out!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


First students found their new seats. Today students discussed their root word homework based on numbers and we looked at the words they came up with. Some words were excellent examples for the numbers the root represented. For example mono could be monologue (1 speaker), monocle (1 eye glass lense), monobrow (1 eyebrow), monatomic (1 atom), monopoly (1 person in control). The words did not have to be scientific.

Next the students worked as a group on a quick review of the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and the words that describe changing phase. Students know more than they think and are coming into the unit with a lot of prior knowledge.

Next we discussed density and all the types of definitions that go with it. Density measures matter in a given volume or the amount of stuff in a space. It can also refer to the amount of space between molecules. We looked at some diagrams and discussed scientifically why a person cannot walk through walls, why moving through air is easy, and why moving through water is slightly more difficult.

Students made a hypothesis about the densities of different liquids and they would react when mixed together. We did a quick demo with some liquids to see how their hypotheses stacked up.

At the end of class we did density calculation. Tomorrow we will discuss matter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Unit 1 Test and Impromptu Chromatography Lab

Today students started with another math challenge to make sure they still remembered scientific notation and significant digits. It is Penguin Appreciation Day so students with 7/10 or better received a penguin sticker for their achievement.

We checked homework, review sheets, I answered questions, and students took ten minutes to cram before completing the Unit 1 Test. Students were quiet when they were finished to allow others to work. Highest score overall went to Lizzie and Kaboria. Congratulations! Here Joci, Jen, Kathy, and James are hard at work.

Because we had plenty of time and there was a high interest level in what chromatography entailed, I had gathered necessary materials for a easy quick demonstration. Directions were posted on the overhead on what to do (some read them, some did not) and materials were distributed. Pairs of students received a strip of filter paper and made a pencil line about 4 cm from the end. They then traced over the pencil line with a marker, dipped the paper into water and waited.

Chromatography is the separation of liquids based on particle or molecule size. Most inks are mixtures of colors and the ink will separate into bands of colors based on the size of the ink molecules.

In the photo you can see different group
s strips and the colors they separated into. In order, it was green, orange, black, blue, red, green, black. For example, the green marker separated into blue and yellow ink bands. The blue ink traveled faster and farther along the filter paper because it is made of smaller molecules. The yellow ink molecules did not travel as far or as fast because they are bigger.

The most interesting ink to separate is brown or black because they contain more colors (something I knew that they now know). This is Imani and Henry's black ink separating. Blue ink was the most boring, but surprisingly, red ink separated into a shade of pink and a shade of red. Trials with different types of markers may give different results.

Tomorrow we begin Unit 2 on Matter with new seats and new note packets.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review and Rainbow Lab

Friday students worked on a lab testing their accuracy and precision by measuring colored water. Groups that excelled at careful measurements made a row of colored test tubes in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple that were all even. Students seemed to enjoy the lab and it also gave them the chance to impress Ms J (me) with their lab abilities.

Pictures to follow.

We have finished up the Unit 1 notes on Math, Measurement, and Safety and have been reviewing for our test tomorrow. Competitions have abounded and there are too many winners to name at this point. Good luck to everyone on your Unit 1 Test.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Train Tracks Math

Today in class, we practiced more train tracks math. The students defineitly have the hang out, but don't like it when I use made up units instead of real-life examples. Oh well, at least they have the hang of it.

For notes, we discussed accuracy and precision and tested these terms out by having a few students throw objects at the wall. Second period had a perfect spread to compare both accuracy and precision. Third period was not as good, not very accurate and not very precise. We decided they needed more practice.

They took a quiz on all the material we had covered so far and did very well. They are right on track for the Unit 1 Test which will be on Wednesday after we come back from the long weekend.

We finished the class with a train tracks challenge. In second period, Courtney & Brittany are in the lead. In third period there is tie between Krystin & Lizzie and Joci & Jen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GIGANTIC Gummy Bears and Guinness records

Today students got to see what happened when gummy bears are soaked in water for 24 hours. They get huge! Students could see that the gummy bears were larger, but really had a good idea of the size change when they compared their big bear to a control, a normal size gummy bear.

Some students had difficulties measuring the gigantic bears because now they were more fragile and quite a few lost feet and some bears were just blobs. Students worked on their measurements and writing good conclusions. Here Beasley and Joci are measuring their bears.

We reviewed scientific method for notes and then worked on some math conversions in the form of a challenge. All of the questions were based on material from the Guinness World Records and involved converting from one record to another. We saw the largest diamond, the smallest waist, the furthest eye popper and others as teams competed to get points for right answers and double points for being the first ones done.

Students seemed to enjoy the goofy and sometimes gross records and got into the conversions. I was surprised that henry and Corinn both knew of the tallest man and did a fairly good job guessing how tall he was without converting. Robert Wadlow was 8 foot 11.1 inches!

In second period, there was a tie between Kaboria & Laura and Brittany & Chris. In third period, Alan & Austin were the quickest (though there were several close calls with other teams).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gummy Bears!

We began class with a jump in on lab equipment and the differences between qualitative and quantitative observations. We discussed last night's Mission Impossible homework and how you can use everyday objects to measure stuff when there are not rulers around. We compared the random objects and learned that people who ended up with plastic animals like giraffes and dinosaurs were pretty attached to them.

Today we discussed proper lab write-ups and started a new lab with Gummy Bears. The students measured and weighed the gummy bears to find mass, volume, and density. Then the gummy bears were put in a cup full of water for one hour to see what would happen. Students hypothesized that the bears would shrink, float, sink, dissolve, the color would leak out, or the bears would get squishier.

In the hour interim, students practiced identifying significant digits and reacquainted themselves with scientific notation. We also discussed homework and homework notebooks.

After the hour, the bears were retrieved with difficulty for more measurements. There was a lot of complaining about not being able to grasp the bears because they were now much more slippery and slimy. Most of the bears did swell in size and become less dense... except for Eric and Jasmynne... they used hot water and their bears shrunk because they dissolved.

There's one more set of gummy bears hanging out in water til tomorrow. What do you think will happen to the bears overnight?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dimensional Analysis

Today in class we learned about converting from units of one things to units of another using a type of math called dimensional analysis. It sounds abysmal, so I refer to it as 'train tracks math' and talk about adding trains. It seems complicated, but once you get the hang of it, its fairly simple, and results in correct answers with correct units.

Today in class we covered the basics and did some practice problems. The students did fantastic with this topic and we even (hypothetically) figured out how old I am in days... that is if I am 29 (second period) or 18 (third period). I did not confirm these ages, just that they were converted correctly.

Homework tonight was the Mission Impossible Measurement assignment and should be interesting to discuss in class tomorrow. :) At least I will find it interesting.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lab Equipment and Classroom Map

Today students drew a map of the classroom including the locations of all the safety and lab equipment. Students had to include their desk and a drawing of themselves wearing the proper safety gear. Jeremy drew a really awesome picture I wanted to share with you. Many others were just as awesome.

After the drawing, students identified lab equipment by matching pictures to names and looking at the real thing. Finally students had to sort equipment based on what its main purpose is.

Monday students will really get into unit one and we will talk about measurement. Homework every night will also begin on Monday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Safety

Today students participated in a Safety Challenge where they had to interpret funny pictures of teachers and use their knowledge of safety rules. Students rocked at this and seemed ready for their Safety Test.

After finishing the test, students used their cartoon drawings from yesterday to identify each other. I let them talk so it didn't take them long, but even silently it would have been pretty easy because most of the little cartoons really do look like them! Pictured to the left is Dame and his cartoon. Pictured below are a few students from second period. Click on the pictures to get a closer view.This is a few students from third period.Tomorrow we will begin learning about lab equipment.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Safety Safety Safety

Today we learned about new rules and classroom procedures. This will streamline classroom activities to maximize learning. Students filled out a first day survey so I can learn more about them.

We went over safety rules and learned the dangerous spots in class. We also drew safety cartoons and shared them with the class to go over key safety rules. There will be a safety test on Thursday.

Today the students looked at the monster cartoon that I drew to see if they can identify the rights and wrongs as well as the safety rule number in preparation for Thursday's safety test. This is a contest that will conclude tomorrow. Points are awarded for circling things that are wrong and writing the correct rule next to it.

Homework - get the syllabus and safety rules signed; get a composition book

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome Back!

Greetings students, parents, and guardians.

Welcome to a new school year with Miss Jancaitis! This blog has been set up to connect students, parents, and guardians with the marine ecology class and with marine topics happening around the world.

At Open House or in class, each student will receive a course syllabus, safety rules, and a breakage sheet. Each of these sheets need to be read and signed by both the student and parent guardian.
  1. The course syllabus outlines what the course will be like and what topics will be covered. It also contains contact information.
  2. The safety rules are rules designed to keep the classroom safe and orderly to maximize learning and prevent accidents and injuries. These rules need to be studied because there will be a Safety test on THURSDAY and infractions of these rules can lead to disciplinary action.
  3. A breakage sheet is a contract holding students accountable for the items that are broken if the student is acting a manner that is unsafe for themselves or those around them.
Please have these papers signed and returned by Friday. Students not returning signed safety rules and breakage sheets will not be able to participate in labs and activities until the contracts are signed and returned.