Halloween is such a great day for science! After our morning classes and lunch, we changed into our costumes and started our annual Halloween party! We went trick or treating, escaped from our specially designed escape room, experimented with catapults and dry ice and played a Halloween world in Minecraft. Another wonderful Halloween party!
The final round of voting for the movie selections will take place Wednesday-Friday of this week. Each student can vote for 2 of the 5 finalists: Hocus Pocus, Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice, Gremlins and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The event will take place Friday, October 27th. A dinner consisting of hot dogs (including kosher dogs)/chicken sausages, chips, and a dessert will be provided. Dinner will be from 5:30-6:00. The movies will start around 6:15. We will have multiple movie rooms where the students can enjoy Halloween movie classics and hang out with their friends. Popcorn will be served during the movies.
A busy day! Our 7th graders headed over to Kiddie Academy to read science-themed books and make a related craft with three and four-year olds. Both big and little kids had a great time connecting with each other. We will be returning to Kiddie Academy once a month to share the joy of science.
Our 4th and 5th graders got out into nature today, going on a field trip to a local stream to monitor its health.
We met with a volunteer from the Reston Association, which monitors twelve sites in the Reston Area for the Virginia Save Our Streams organization. Mr. Will showed our new students how to catch macroinvertebrates in nets by scuffing up the rocks in stream riffles. They then picked through the debris in the nets to find and identify the macroinvertebrates. We found all sorts of creatures, from crayfish to snails and a large amount of fly varieties. Students also made observations about the general appearance of the stream and in what ways the surrounding area could impact the stream. When we got back to the classroom, we used the percentages of different species the students observed to calculate how healthy our stream is. Unfortunately, our stream was found to have unacceptable ecological conditions. This data will be sent to our national government to inform Congress about the health of Virginia’s waterways.
Our 4th-6th graders started our morning at the Apothecary. After learning about the history of the building (it’s not Colonial), we explored the different herbs and medicines of the past. It was quite an informative tour - we learned about the four humors (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm) and how they influenced medicine of the time. We discussed chalk, opium, and cinnamon among other ingredients on the shelves. We then went upstairs where we got to grind up some lavender and learned about some studies about lavender, before stepping into what seemed to be Harry Potter and seeing ingredients (real!) such as unicorn root, mandrake and dragon root. We then walked two blocks to the Carlyle House where we were introduced to archeology and how archeologists have to determine what things may have been used for based on what they find. We looked at china, a toothbrush and even saw parts of a chamberpot. We then toured the house which was set up for mourning Mr. Carlyle. It was a bit spooky and we were able to learn about some of the mourning customs of the time while touring the house. We ate lunch at the square and got a chance to run a bit in a park by the water. Finally, we went to the Archeology Museum on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory where we did an archeology workshop to learn about how the ship that was found last year was analyzed. We ended the day with an impromptu concert outside of the Torpedo Factory by the Alexandria Glass Player.
Our 7th-9th graders arrived at the DEA Museum and enjoyed nearly two hours exploring their exhibits. We were welcomed by the museum curator who explained a few of the exhibits to our group. The main exhibit was Illegal Drugs in America: A Modern History that provided a chronological and detailed history of illegal drug use and enforcement efforts in the US. We were surprised to learn about over-the-counter remedies, such as those to help teething babies, that contained powerful drugs such as morphine or cocaine (this was prior to more stringent food and drug regulations). It was a powerful exhibit that hopefully leads to some conversations at home. I think we all left with an appreciation for the dangers of illegal drug use and a better sense of the magnitude and longevity of the problem in the US and around the world. After enjoying lunch outside, we boarded the bus to head over to Arlington National Cemetery.
We started by exploring the Welcome Center and an exhibit on World War I. Next, we took a tram to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We solemnly watched the guard and explored nearby memorials, such as one for the Space Shuttle Challenger, as well as visiting the grave of a Medal of Honor recipient, 2d Lt. Audie Murphy. We went back to the Tomb of the Unknown to observe the changing of the guard ceremony. Lastly, we visited the Arlington House (Custis-Lee Mansion) and explored the house and gardens before heading back to school. Throughout our trip, the students showed great respect at Arlington National Cemetery and DEA Museum and I was very proud of the mature way they conducted themselves.
As part of this year's challenge of Hydro Dynamics, our FLL team visited the Loudoun County Aquiary on Thursday, Oct 5th. Kids met the outreach coordinator and had a guided tour of the Aquiary. They had a chance to visit the exhibits in the administrative building that make up the Aquiary in Ashburn. There was a lot to learn! The tour consisted of indoor exhibits and outdoor interpretive trails through the wetlands and effluent outfalls. The entire “story” of water was covered; from source, to treatment, to use, to reclamation, and back to source. Main focus was on water reclamation as this is what the plant at the Broad Run Water Reclamation Facility does.
As a bonus kids went Geocaching and found cache!