30 May 2007

Today we went outside to read an excerpt from The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert and did a creative writing activity where we wrote an obituary for a dead tree. This marks the start of our last unit. Only about 2 whole weeks of school left.

29 May 2007

Today students got back their lab write-ups for the small mammal trapping study we did in our back woods. Students found that small mammals prefer the brushy areas over the open woods, rocky, or grassy areas. I was very pleased by everyone's efforts. Most write-ups would even be considered good at the high school level. Special recognition goes to MIKAELA B., NICOLE H., JORDAN T., KYLE J., KAITLYNN H., JASON H., COURTNEY W., BRANDON P., EMILY F., and KYLE S. for getting a 100 or 98. NICE JOB!

23 May 2007

Today we got outside to do an evolution by natural selection activity. Sexual reproduction yields variation (and mutations) among members of a population. Our birds (students) had variation in their beak shapes (spoons, forks, forceps, and knives) as they foraged on the lawn for different sized and colored beans. We found that nature would favor the "spoon beak" shape and those members would pass that gene on to their offspring. After awhile, the "knife and forcep beak" genes would be eliminated.

21 May 2007

Friday night was the middle school semi-formal. It was fun seeing everyone all dressed up and I think everyone had a great time.

20 May 2007

This year, the High School Science and Outing Clubs will be hosting the annual Art Show Italian Dinner on Saturday 2 June from 5:00 - 7:30pm in the cafeteria.

Menu Includes:

Baked Ziti
Sausage, onions, and peppers
Tossed Salad
Garlic Bread
Hot and Cold Beverages
Dessert Table

Tickets can be bought at the door or from Mr. DeVoe or Mr. Wiech

Adults: $7
Seniors: $6
Under 10: $4

17 May 2007

For those interested, the Groton Summer Recreation schedule was recently announced. The pamphlet can be downloaded HERE. I'll be running an outdoor science workshop from 30 July - 2 Aug. There are so many cool programs this year though! Ms. Fitzgerald has done an amazing job putting this together.

15 May 2007

STEPH B. and JENNA S. finish dumping today's lunch scraps into the compost pile. Today we saved over 16 lbs of organic material. Thanks to everyone that is composting at breakfast and lunch (even though I had to fish out a hamburger today). Everyone is doing a great job!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to drop in on the modified track meet. I saw a few excellent performances. Today in class we watched a few live webcams that Cornell runs in different bird nests. Check them out here.

14 May 2007

Today we started composting our lunch scraps and the carrot patrol was very pleased with the efforts. Today alone we diverted 17.6 pounds of food scraps from the landfill. It'll be interesting to see if more scraps are produced on certain days, which months produce more, etc. We'll be doing some cool science and math studies with this project. Middle school compost club - don't forget to start signing up for collection duties next to the main cafeteria doors.

The Cortland Standard had an awesome article about what you guys are doing. We should all be proud because there are only a couple other schools in the whole state that compost like this.

13 May 2007

Thank you to all of the members of the middle school compost club. I can't tell you how much all of your hard work and dedication meant to me on saturday. You guys were amazing in helping to set up and take down all of the equipment and I hope you all had fun while we hosted this event. Tomorrow the garbage revolution begins! Also thank you to all of the teachers and administrators that showed up to support. More info here. Ithaca Journal writeup here.

11 May 2007

What an awesome day for science on Cayuga Lake! Today 1/2 of the 7th grade participated in the floating classroom program to study aquatic science. Half of the group went on the boat first, while the rest collected aquatic insects and tested water quality in Salmon Creek. After lunch we switched. Here are some pictures from the trip. Thanks to Cayuga Nature Center for setting this up and Mr. Rhoads and Mrs. Bonavia for chaperoning.

09 May 2007

A couple things....

Small mammal trapping labs are due Friday 18 May. This is MORE than enough time. These will appear end up in the 2nd 5 week period. See me for a library pass if you still need computer use. REMEMBER: make sure you talk about your hypothesis in the discussion section, give credit to any sources you used (this means the lab handout), and make it professional-looking. You are presenting these findings to the scientific community and you want it clean and well-written.

Friday is the make-up field trip to the floating classroom on Cayuga Lake. If you are a person going, make sure you wear proper clothing and sunscreen and bring a lunch.

"Rot-in-Groton" grand opening is Sat. at noon. We made the Ithaca Journal. Check it out here. Chicken BBQ is on 'till it runs out. We will also have stuffed portabella mushrooms and wild leek and potato soup made by Mr. DeVoe for the vegetarians that show up!

Monday we begin composting our lunch scraps during lunchtime. There will be buckets set up at the end of the recycle/garbage line. This is where you can put things like apple cores, banana peels, leftover carrots, salad, and bread crusts. Remember...NO MEAT or DAIRY!

07 May 2007

Saturday at noon, "Rot-in-Groton" officially kicks off. Here, Generation-Z members EVA M. and ADAM D. move the third bin into position. We will be having a chicken/ vegetarian BBQ and lots of other cool things at the ceremony. The Middle School Compost Club will also make their debut. Stop on by if you get a chance. We will be out back from noon-3 by the nature area. Remember to bring in any good science projects from this year (cell projects, movie scripts, me manuals, mammal trapping labs, etc)so I can show them off on the student work table.

I went to Friday's showing of Pirates and Petticoats and I must say...it rocked! The set was good, the costumes were amazing, people knew their lines, and it was funny....plus we raised a lot of money to preserve a section of rain forest through the Nature Conservancy. Great night!

04 May 2007

This morning, MIKAELA B., NICOLE W., TASIA D., and SIERRA K. came in for the last morning of mammal trapping. We caught one last white-footed mouse at location D. Now we are in the library compiling all of the data for a lab write-up which Mr. Lott will be helping out with
Today at Rec. we had the first meeting of the middle school compost club. We went over all sorts of information including how we will be collecting scraps, how to weigh them, and information about our opening ceremony. As you can see, this is a solid group of students...all of which had to write a short essay and gather a letter of recommendation to get included. These students will receive a free T-shirt and get additional perks throughout next year including coupons to the school store and the Caboose for ice cream.

03 May 2007

Last night, several MS students were inducted into National Junior Honor Society. Congratulations to all of you. This is a great achievement and you should all be very proud. Above, KYLE J. signs the pledge. Kyle's essay was also chosen to be read in front of everyone and rightfully so...it was excellent.

02 May 2007

This morning we caught two more white-footed mice at locations D and H. For those playing along at home, our transect line is shown in Figure 1. Location A is on bare rock and travels through ecological succession to a climax forest of ash and cherry. Friday we begin analyzing our data and writing the lab reports with the help of Mr. Lott.

Here is a video from this morning of JESSY, JENNA, JESSE, and SHYANNE checking trap D. As you can tell, we didn't get a chance to record its mass or sex.

01 May 2007

Priscilla just made the switch to the new "eco-friendly" Swheat Scoop kitty litter. It is made from wheat and is biodegradable and flushable. Here she is rockin' out in her new litter box. All of Priscilla's bedding materials will also soon be composted through "Rot-in-Groton".
WE GOT ONE! This morning MARTIN and CHRIS found a white-footed mouse at location D. Several other traps were set off but we didn't actually catch anything. One was dragged about 10 meters away.

Mammal trapping has begun. Sunday evening, ROBERT D, JASON H, and ALEN Q came in to help set the traps along our line. Monday morning QUIN W and NICK S. came in to check them. We had one White-footed mouse at location E (small trees - beginning of the forest). Unfortunately, the little guy jumped and ran away before we could get any measurements....science is so tricky sometimes.