27 April 2007

MARISSA and ASHLYN test out the spring scale as we went over the materials in the mammal trapping lab today. We will be putting the mammals in a cup to figure out their mass. We start Sunday evening as ALEN, ROBERT, and JASON will set the traps along our transect line for Monday morning's group of QUIN, NICK, MIKE M., and BRETT.

26 April 2007

We're doing real science at Groton middle school! Above, Mr. Rhoads helps MARTIN H. lay down our transect line in the woods behind our school. We are doing a huge study to figure out what sort of habitat small mammals prefer. Our live traps will start on bare rock and go through all levels of ecological succession (grass, field, bushes, small trees, and a mature cherry-ash-maple open forest). Next week students will come in early to check the traps and record the data. I apologize to all parents for muddy jeans.

CLICK HERE for video of today's experience.

25 April 2007

Yesterday afternoon the boys and girls modified baseball and softball teams had their home opener against Newark Valley. We'll get 'em next time. = )

24 April 2007

Eighth grader, EMILY C., rests inside her locker. Looks like someone is looking forward to summer.
This morning, the 8th grade students had an assembly on global warming by global warming ambassador, Len Sharp. I was fortunate to be able to check out some of it during my free period. He did an excellent job with the topic and the students seemed to be interested in what he had to say. I just wish I could have stayed for the whole thing.

UPDATE: It turns out Ms. Bassette did a much better job covering this story than I did. Go check her's out instead

23 April 2007

On Saturday several 7th and 8th grade girls took part in the Tri-Sci field trip to Cornell University. We are studying oceanography/marine biology so we did an ocean floor activity where we created an ocean floor, switched, and mapped out another group's. After lunch a marine biologist showed us a picture slide show about marine life and passed around a couple really cool specimens.

22 April 2007

This Thursday night at 7pm, come see Mr. Wiech, Mr. Syracuse, and myself (along with several other area science teachers) perform various science activities at the Homer Center for the Arts. It's free and we're guaranteed to rock the place...or make fools of ourselves (either way you're entertained). Complete information available HERE.
HAPPY EARTH DAY 2007. I love this holiday. You don't get presents or candy or anything else you might associate with your favorite holiday, but it's a nice way to sit back and appreciate what we have...appreciate the fact that the Earth gives us all the food we need, clean water, and places to roam. Please take this day to do something good for the earth. You can start by analyzing your footprint and then try to lessen it by making a couple changes. By the way...this photo was taken from space above Canada. You can see Lake Ontario in the middle and the Finger Lakes to the left of that. Can you see where Groton would be? It's amazing that one species (humans) can be causing so much destruction to everything else in that photo. It doesn't have to be that way though....

20 April 2007

CLICK HERE for video of today's planting.

Here is what White Pine look like when they're older. Look familiar?

Wouldn't it be nice to see our trees get this big? It's too bad we'll never get to see them like this but there are isolated pockets in the Adirondacks that have White Pine this big. I've seen them and they're amazing.
Today we celebrated Earth Day 2007 by planting 50 White Pine (Pinus strobus) behind the school as a part of the NY DEC free trees for schools program. About 10 years ago the woods behind the school was logged so we did our part to reforest the area. During the morning plantings we heard numerous downy and hairy woodpeckers and observed the skunk cabbage poking through the ground.

TASIA D. and SIERRA K. found a nice open slope location for their tree.
MIKAELA B. and NICOLE H. battle the rocks to dig the perfect hole.

18 April 2007

Today we talked about the endocrine system and we briefly talked about goiters that result in animals that do not get enough iodine in their diet. Here are a couple pictures.

16 April 2007

SNOW DAY....means one extra day for Me Manuals! They will now be due by 5pm on Tuesday.

10 April 2007

Likes: Hay, friendly school children, and long walks in the science classroom.
Dislikes: A full litterbox, global warming, and students talking when they're not supposed to be.

09 April 2007

I've said it before and I'll say it again. We're really lucky to have the resources we do around the school grounds. This morning Mr. Rhoads, Mr. Wiech, Mr Syacuse and I met with two "forest rangers" from the DEC to hike around the wetland across the street. Our plan is to put in a bridge, a couple trails, and an observation deck for science labs. Later this afternoon I walked out back to plan for our small mammal traping study and scared up a red fox and found a Red-tail Hawk nest...mom and dad didn't like me near the base of their tree and shreeked at me. Hope everyone's enjoying their break. Photo credit: William Leon Dawson

05 April 2007

This afternoon, Mary had 3 little lambs...and a piglet! Dr. Mary Smith from the Cornell Vet school came in to do some dissections. We were very lucky as Mary is one of the leading experts in lambs and sheep and is respected around the world for her knowledge. This was a huge event for 7th graders...most students your age do not get to see stuff like this. You guys were mature and didn't overreact to the dissection...and you asked some good questions too. Those participating were JENNA, STEPH, TYRONE, KEVIN, KATIE, MALLORY, JESSE S., CHAD, MARY, HALLE, DANIELLE, KYLE J., JON, FELICIA, ARIEL, AND SAVANAH. Special thanks to KATIE G. for getting Mary to come do this for us. Also, 8th graders DeANNA, SHELBY, and VANESA showed up to take part.

Here are a few pictures: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!

04 April 2007

During Rec. about 30 students looked on as I dissected and talked about the anatomy of the Dogfish Shark. An excellent powerpoint can be downloaded here but an even better video can be viewed here if you have Quicktime and a fast connection. The guy in the video did a much better job than I did.

03 April 2007

JENNA and MALLORY check for an update on groton sciencegeek after school Monday. March marked the one year anniversary of the blog and I still love updating it...hopefully you guys enjoy using it. Looking forward to many more.

02 April 2007

Today "Master Composters" of Tompkins County did an assembly for the middle school during Rec. I got a lot of great feedback... students asking if ______ can go in, when are we starting?, etc. Hopefully you guys won't be "too cool" to be a part of this program. There are a lot of benefits to this and the more we can compost the better those benefits will be. Thanks guys...and thanks to those of you that were respectful during the assembly and represented Groton Middle School in a positive manner.

01 April 2007

The next few weeks should be ripe with amphibian (frog, salamander, and toad) migrations. They are waking up from a long winter and starting to move to area wetlands to mate. Be careful at night when it is raining...salamanders and frogs usually cross roads when it is about 40-50 degrees and rainy out. Let me know if you see or hear any activity. This is a spotted salamander, the same species that SHANIA brought into class the othe day.