Ms. Melissa’s 4th grade class explored the Lake Mary watershed with assistant research professor Kevin Grady from NAU’s school of forestry. Together they learned the impacts of fires on watersheds and the importance of conserving watersheds for generations to come. Mountain School students explored our watershed searching for signs of drought through finding insects, looking at the health of the ponderosa pines, and analyzing understory vegetation. Students also planted ponderosa pine seeds that they found in at Lake Mary and will continue to learn how our native pine trees develop and thrive.
By engaging in hands on activities with the different components that make up a watershed, interacting with professionals, and becoming more aware of how parts of an ecosystem interact with each other, students learned a little more about what makes our home town watershed tick!
Written by Crystal Routhe.
NAU’s forestry club came to aftercare to teach 3rd through 5th graders about different components that make up our ecosystems. Hayden Siros, a forestry student at NAU, started her lesson by talking about tree rings and how they are made. Students then discovered what stories trees can tell us through their tree rings such as their age and how much precipitation the forest has gotten through the trees lifespan. Students made their own tree cookies which displayed tree rings and represented their own lives. Students deciphered how their trees grew up based on the rings they drew.
Aftercare students also explored the life of a water droplet by how it moves through the water cycle. Students moved from station to station as their water droplet changed form. Students explained how they thought the water was able to change form and built water molecule bracelets that represented the water droplet that they were following. By engaging in interactive activities with both the water cycle and the life of a tree, students learned the importance of valuing and respecting the natural world around us!
Written by Crystal Routhe
NAU’s Girls Teaching Girls program has returned to Killip for another semester of lively STEM activities for Killip’s 3rd-5th grade girls. We are lucky to have 6 mentors from the program visit throughout the week, providing a great variety of exciting opportunities for participants.
One of the earliest projects the girls did was learn about the impact of oil spills by simulating their own oil cleanup. Students picked toy sea creatures to place in tubs of water as oil was poured in. Given a variety of tools-- pipettes, sponges, brushes-- the girls were able to gauge just how difficult cleaning up a real life oil spill is, and how harmful oil spills are to aquatic life.
Girls Teaching Girls participants learn about the effects of oil spills.
Most recently Girls Teaching Girls members utilized their engineering and chemistry skills to create bottle rockets fueled by vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). This was a great learning experience, as teams took turns changing the ratios of the baking soda and the vinegar to determine the most successful recipe for blasting off.
Girls Teaching Girls members work together to design bottle rockets.
Girls Teaching Girls members create an explosive mixture of vinegar and baking soda for their rockets.
Other meetings this semester encompass discussions on disability, including learning differences and invisible disabilities, as well as testing engineering skills through designing gumdrop-toothpick towers, and learning about the water cycle and cloud permeability. Students closed the semester by demonstrating how to make slime at the winter Showcase by combining craft glue (polyvinyl acetate) with borax (sodium borate) to create this popular non-Newtonian fluid and Maxwell solid.
A big thank you goes out to NAU’s Girls Teaching Girls program; Killip is looking forward to an another exciting semester collaborating with them!
Written by Lee A. Haferkamp.