Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mock Rocks

Earth is made of a variety of solids, liquids, and gases. Geologists call the substances earth materials. Each earth material is a nonliving substance that makes up Earth’s interior, surface, or atmosphere. Geologists who study the earth focus their work on the solid materials called rocks. Geologists have discovered many kinds of rock that form Earth’s crust.

Once of the challenges a geologist faces is to determine the ingredients in different kinds of rocks. Many earth materials combine to make rocks, just as you combine the ingredients in a kitchen to make chocolate-chip cookie or raisin bread. Once a geologist knows a rock’s ingredients, he or she can generate ideas about the origins of the rock.

In the field, geologists make careful observations and keep detailed records of the rock’s physical appearance. Color, size, shape, texture and mass are some of the properties the geologist records.

Real rocks are very difficult to take apart. The ROSS program invented softer, more manageable mock rocks to provide a good simulation for the procedures used by geologists.

Some important rock characteristics:
Color: Although often used to identify specimens, color may not always be an accurate property to use for identification.
Hardness: A measure of how easily a rock or mineral can be scratched.
Luster: Characterized by the way light is reflected from the surface of the specimen (shiny to dull.)
Streak: Minerals leave a characteristic streak when rubbed across unglazed porcelain, revealing the color of the power of the mineral.

Today, we dissected rocks. The kids had so much fun!

Here is what some of them had to say:

Our questions were answered using SKPYE!

Tuesday afternoon, we brainstormed some questions to help prepare for our next SKYPE with Mr. Schwab. Here are some of the questions that the kids came up with:

What is your favorite type of rock?
How are rocks made?
What is the difference between the cement block and a rock?
How many years have rocks been on the earth?
What is the biggest type of rock in the world?
How short is the shortest rock in the world?
How many different kinds of rocks are there?
What is the shiniest rock?
How big is the biggest rock you have studied?
How do igneous and sedimentary rocks get in the surface of the earth and then how do they come out of the earth’s surface?
Are all rocks the same color or shape?
How can you tell what type of rock it is?

Here are the ones that were answered:

What do you like most about being a Geologist?

How do rocks get their color?

How do rocks form their shape?

Can rocks break when lightening strikes?

What advice would you give us today that will help us become geologist while we dissect our rocks?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here what the experts have to say....

Today, we used SKYPE to learn more about rocks. Here are a few clips of what we learned.

What makes a rock so hard?

How do minderals and crystals grow?

What are the softest types of rocks?

What is mud? Where there really dinosaurs in Texas?

How deep is the largest volcano?

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today, we discussed the difference between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes. We also watched this reading on The Greedy Triangle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sneak Peak - Auction Item

Your child helped create this beautiful tub! You will be able to place a bid on it our the Tree Huggers Auction. Thanks Carrie for putting it all together!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Texas PTA Environmental Contest

2010 - 2011
Litter: From the City to the Sea
Simple behaviors can impact not only our local, but our global environment. Litter is a consequence of simple behaviors that result in mishandled trash, whether thoughtless or deliberate.

Litter impacts the areas where it originates, but can also travel throughout the environment when rain washes debris into streams and storm drains. One piece of litter left on a roadside can therefore impact more than just that immediate area, but can travel long distances to impact multiple ecosystems including rivers, lakes, wetlands and eventually our oceans.

It is not only coastal communities who are responsible for the health of our oceans, but inland communities, as well. Our behaviors really do have far reaching impacts, so make your impact positive! Every individual has the ability to reduce litter locally, which can impact our entire environment.

Students are invited to step up to the One World Challenge, and create a solution to address the impact of litter on our environment.

Texas PTA Environmental Contest

Monday, January 10, 2011

Playnormous - Healthy Recipes

Here is a special note from Melanie Lazarus, MPH from Playnormous:
I just wanted to make you aware that we are hosting a little healthy kids recipe contest here at Playnormous in partnership with The Children's Museum of Houston and The Kids Cook Monday (a non-profit collaboration with Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, and Syracuse).

Recipalooza is going on through the month of January and challenges families to dream up healthy, tasty recipes to make at home using CMH's list of ingredients available at the museum. Two winners will be selected to win a gift basket of goodies including a Playnormous recipe box and a signed copy of the book "The Family Dinner!"

You can also tell your students / parents that Playnormous will be at The Children's Museum of Houston on Sunday, January 30th for Recipalooza at the Museum. Everyone who participates will walk away with a Playnormous apron!

We would love for you, your kids, and students to enter the contest. If not, we were hoping you could share this information with some of the other teachers that might be interested. I've attached our contest logo and here's the contest url:

Subtraction w/ Regrouping