First Day of Science! Lab Safety and Making Sense of Our Senses!

Allow me to introduce myself…

Today your child began an exciting science program in their classroom offered by Science from Scientists. SfS is a Boston-based, non-profit organization that strives to improve science and technology attitudes and aptitudes. We send real scientists into the classroom during school every other week to teach exciting, fun, and curriculum-relevant science lessons. We will be visiting your child’s classroom every other week throughout the school year. We will bring engaging, informative, and stimulating hands-on lessons with us to supplement the school’s science curriculum.

I, Ms. Ptak, will be the 5th grade classroom scientist for the year. The young scientists and I spoke a little today about our interest in science and they learned a little about me and my interests. I have two Masters degrees: Medical Science and Public Health. I have been focusing my research in my undergraduate and graduate studies on brain development and autism, looking at risk factors and environmental exposures leading to and impacting autism. Most of my research has been epidemiological in nature and I love focusing my efforts and work on a global scale.

This will be my third year working at Henderson as the 5th grade visiting scientist and I’m super excited! As part of the SfS experience, weekly blog posts on the day’s lesson will be posted. Comments are welcomed and encouraged! Please check the Classroom Post on our website regularly to read about the science activities that your child is participating in and to view photos from your child’s classroom.

Keep in Touch with Science From Scientists!
How to view your child’s Classroom Post:
1. Visit our website at:
2. Click on the link for See inside the classroom.
3. Select your school/grade from the list.
4. Enter the password: SFS2016
. Submit the form then save a bookmark to skip these steps next time!


As for today, in the classroom…

We started off today with covering lab safety. We emphasized that we need to create a safe environment to have a fun environment. The young scientists participated in an activity emphasizing the importance of reading, understanding, and following directions. Most of us realized and admitted that sometimes, we THINK we have read and understood directions, but that is not always the case. A lot of time can be saved and frustration can be avoided if we all understand and do what is necessary to get through our activities.

After lunch, during our Marathon Monday of Science, the students were introduced to the scientific method, or guidelines scientists use during experiment. Making observations is one of the first things that scientists do when conducting experiments. In order to make observations that are thorough, accurate, and specific, we need to acquire as much information as we can, using all the senses we can safely employ. Observations can come before writing a hypothesis and creating an experiment, which means it is part of the first step in the scientific method. Students learned what subjective (opinion) and objective (fact) statements are and that in science we always want to make observations that are fact based. Two types of objective observations (qualitative and quantitative) deal with defining the qualities of an object and putting a quantity to one of the object’s properties (ex. this object has 6 sides).

“The six blind men and the elephant” is a story of six blind men who all had different descriptions of what an elephant looks like because each of them were only able to feel one part of the elephant. This poem, however silly, emphasizes the importance of thorough observations.

For the activity, students were given bags with mystery objects to observe. The students were allowed to use all senses except for sight. The goal was to practice making good observations and descriptions.

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