June 12th – Science Fair

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.24.43 PMDear Lower Lab Families,

We hope that all students and parents will be in attendance!

The schedule will be as follows:

5:00pm-All students and their families arrive at their classrooms

  • Grades K,1 and 2 student presentations in their classrooms from 5pm-5:45pm, then these students are dismissed to their parents from the classroom at 5:45pm
  • Grades 3-5 student presentations in their classrooms from 5pm-6:30pm, then these students are dismissed to their parents from the classroom at 6:30pm

All students will remain in their classrooms during the entire scheduled times to present their work. Adults will be able to visit as many classrooms as they like during this time. At the end of your child’s presentation time, families will collect their children and remain with them until exiting the building for the evening. As part of the science fair, students will have a scheduled opportunity to visit other classrooms with their teachers the following day.



Science Blog for May 2018

-Grade 1


The students are finishing the study of sound (pitch, volume) that is a part of the Investigation 1: Solids. They will soon start few hands-on, minds-on explorations of light (sorting objects into three categories-transparent, translucent and opaque, reflection, refraction). The study of light represents the last part of the Investigation 1. It will be followed by the Investigation 2: Liquids.

In Liquids, students will

  • Observe the properties of a variety of liquid materials.
  • Record information about properties of liquids.
  • Investigate and record the level nature of liquid as it flows from one stable position to another.
  • Investigate the appearance and behavior of liquids in containers.

Note: During the second half of the month (up to the Science Fair, June 12th), students will have opportunity to observe the life cycle of the Painted Lady Butterfly.


-Grade 2

DSCN3994The students finished Investigation 1: Balance (Unit ”Forces and Motion”_ and started Investigation 2: Spinners (Tops, Zoomers and Twirlers). Through this investigation they will learn that

  • Objects and systems that turn on a central axis exhibit rotational motion.
  • The amount and position of mass affect how an object rotates.
  • Push or pull (a force) is needed to initiate rotational motion in objects and systems. Air resistance can get as the force that initiates rotational motion (twirlers).

They will construct toys that demonstrate spinning and explore variables that influence the spinning tops, zoomers, and twirlers.


-Grade 3


The students started the Unit “Physics of Sound” with the pre-assessment. The Investigation 1: Dropping In  described in the last month blog remained for this month. In addition, the students will do Investigation 2: Good Vibrations.

In Good Vibrations, students will

  • Observe that sound originates from vibrating sources.
  • Compare high-, low-, and medium- pitched sounds. (Demonstrate their understanding of the role length and tension play in the modification of pitch.)
  • Record observations and comparisons of sounds.

They will experiment with a  water-phone (five bottles filled with different amount of water), xylophone, kalimba and make panpipes (folk instruments), in order to understand how length of the sound source affects pitch. They will use a mini-gutbucket and set up a FOSS- ulele in order to observe how tension of a string, or a rubber band affects the pitch.


-Grade 4

DSCN3999The students are finishing Investigation 2: Advanced Connections (Unit “Electricity and Magnetism”) that was described in the last month blog. Soon, they will start Investigation 3: Current Attractions.

In Current Attractions Students will

  • Learn how to make an electromagnet and at the same time to understand that electromagnetism is magnetism created by current flowing through a conductor.
  • Find the relationship between the number of winds of wire around a core and the strength of the magnetic force.
  • Propose other ways to change the strength of the electromagnet (for example: tighter coils, changing the number of D-cells, using different wire gauge).

Also, students already started and are continuing with the hands-on, minds-on activities that represent the preparation for the upcoming NYS Science Performance Part of the Test- Wednesday, May 23rd, Thursday, May 24th, and Friday, May 25th. The length of the test is only 45 minutes for each student with exception of the students with the accommodations.


-Science Fair Projects- Update for the Grades 3 & 4

Parents, please make sure that your child is working already on his/ her hands-on part of the science fair project (collecting data- evidence). Students are already informed about this as well as what are the next steps necessary to take in order to complete the science fair project report.

-Upcoming Events

  • Manhattan Make-A-Thon (Manhattan Field Support Special Events by Lori Stahl/ Van Brackle, Instructional Technology Director)

Hands-on Maker projects led by teachers and student Makers



Saturday, May 19th, 2018

10:00 AM- 4:00PM

at Martin Luther Kind High School Campus

122 Amsterdam Avenue ( between 65th & 66th Streets)

to get free tickets go to tinyurl.com/mfscmakered

  • World Science Festival City of Science: Hands-on Science Activities, Interactive Demonstrations, and Exhibitions (For example: walk on water. Blast balls into orbit. Defy gravity.)

Manhattan: Sunday, June 3, 2018

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

at NYU/ Washington Square Park

Free Admission

Both events represent excellent opportunities that are provided to children as well as adults.



Science Blog for April 2018

-Grade 1


fullsizeoutput_1be9The activities described in the last month blog related to making comparisons between two objects by using balance remained to be done in April (Investigation 1: Solids).

Next, students will conduct experiments that will provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate. They will make kazoos, musical cups of different sizes to see how the pitch of sound changes. Also, they will use a pluck-a-cup strummer and discover how many different sounds they can produce by plucking it.


The probe “Rubber Band Box” will reveal what do students think about the thickness of the rubber bands in the relationship to the pitch of the sound (claim). They will also collect evidence by using (testing) rubber band boxes (three rubber bands of different thickness attached to a box).




-Grade 2


DSCN3812The students of grade 2 will continue Investigation 1: Balance (Unit “Forces and Motion”). They still need to work on the beam balance discoveries. They will apply their knowledge from the beam balance discoveries to plan and construct a mobile that will need to have four beams (straws will be used as beams), four fulcrums, and ten weights (geometric shapes made from construction paper attached to different length of the paper clip chains).

They will learn about Alexander Calder, a famous artist of the 20th century, who was called a mobile man due to his idea of making structures that move in the air freely and are balanced at the same time.



-Grade 3


fullsizeoutput_1be8The students will finish Investigation 4: The Third Degree. It is the part that deals only with physical and chemical change of matter.

The next unit will be Physics of Sound. This unit will start with Investigation 1: Dropping In. During this investigation, the students will explore their ability to discriminate sounds. They will listen to sounds made by objects dropped into a drop chamber and attempt to identify each object from its sound. They will develop a code by assigning letters of the alphabet to a selection of objects. Using this sound code, the students will send messages to one another by dropping a series of objects into the drop chamber.

Also, they will explore the production of sound with an electronic generator, and two other sound instruments (one of the sound instruments will be a tuning fork).

Through these (experimentations) explorations, the students will look for vibrations at the sound source, identify sound receivers, and compare sound volume to vibration intensity. They will learn that sounds can convey information to humans in codes, warning signals, and music.


-Grade 4


fullsizeoutput_1bcdThe students will continue Unit: Electricity and Magnetism with the Investigation 2: Advanced Connections. They will construct circuits that can run more than one component. They will build series and parallel circuits with two bulbs or two batteries with or without a switch. They will observe differences between series and parallel circuits. They will be able to determine which circuit is better to use in a flashlight. They will organize data to support judgments about the advantages of series or parallel circuits.

fullsizeoutput_1be7They will try to solve the String-of-Lights Problem which asks students which design is better for manufacturing long strings of tree lights—series or parallel. They will put their knowledge of series and parallel circuits to work and solve customer complaints, making recommendations for manufacturing guidelines.

The students will do few probes (argumentation in science) related to building different circuits in the relationship to the brightness of the lightbulbs.




Reminder for Students of Grades 3 and 4


The Science Fair Project Proposal for Grade 3 due on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 and for Grade 4 on Friday, April 13, 2018.


The sheets for writing the proposal are in the packet that was distributed to the students in the beginning of February 2018.






Science Blog for March 2018

-Grade 1


Last month, students had a chance to observe how changing the shape of an object can change its ability to float. They used an engineering design process in order to make and test their models of clay.

DSCN3696.JPGDuring the month of March students will be working with magnets (Investigation 1: Solids). They will be testing 20 objects with a magnet and sort them into two groups: magnetic and non-magnetic. By doing the activity, they will learn that only objects made of certain metals are attracted to a magnet. Also, they will learn about the magnetic field of a magnet (magnetic field demonstrator will be used) and where is the magnet the strongest. They will investigate pulling power of magnets and the force of attraction and repulsion between two magnets.

The probe called “Big and Small Magnets” will be included into the study of magnets (argumentation in science). The probe is designed to reveal student’s ideas about the strength of a magnet in relation to the size of the magnet. The students will test their claim and collect evidence by using a variety of magnets of different strengths and sizes and a chain of paper clips.

After working with magnets, students will be using a balance in order to make comparisons between two objects. They will record comparisons by using binary symbols:

  • greater than/ heavier than (>)
  • less than/ lighter than (<)
  • equal to (=)

They will use some problem- solving strategies to figure out how to put six different objects in a serial order from lightest too heaviest.


-Grade 2



The students will be starting the Investigation 1: Balance. Only pre-assessment to the Unit 2 : Forces and Motion was done in February. This means that all the activities described in the last month blog will be done in March. Also, there will be discussion about symmetry, about how do we know if a shape is symmetrical.

The students will balance not only tag-board shapes but also a pencil (a wire attached to it) on its point with adding one or two clothespins as counterweights. They will balance a tongue depressor on a pencil. They will figure out where is the balance point (fulcrum).

They will do beam balance discoveries which will introduce the students to the concept that the amount of weight, position of weight and position of fulcrum affect the balance. These discoveries are the pre-requisite to the engineering- design process for building mobiles.

As a part of the study of balance, we will visit the website of the artist Michael Grab (gravityglue.com) who is making amazing sculptures by balancing rocks.

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-Grade 3


The students are continuing the Investigation 4: The Third Degree with the activity called “Cooling Off.” The question of the activity is: “How cold does the temperature of water get when you add ice to room-temperature water?” The students will measure the temperature of room-temperature water. They will collect data on how fast water cools with ice, and graph their results in the form of a line graph. They will learn how to make a line graph and when to make it (changes over time.)

The students will read and analyze few articles related to measuring temperature. Also, they will calculate temperature change from a positive degree to a negative degree and explain how they did it (response sheet).

During the investigation 4 students will set up experiments representing physical and chemical change of matter. They will learn what is the difference between physical and chemical change of matter. They will use the skills gained by measuring matter (mass, volume, temperature) plus pH will be introduced and measured.

Due to the individual science fair projects there will be reinforced the concept of independent variable and controlled variables through setting up an experiment related to the question: “Which freezes faster, fresh water or salt water?”


-Grade 4


Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.32.53 AM.png

 The students are continuing the Investigation 1: Electricity (Making Connections). They tested materials with a circuit tester (composed of a lightbulb, bulb holder/ socket, D-cell, battery and three wires). They need to finish the activity and write conclusion.

Next, they will include a switch to the simple circuit made with a lightbulb also with a motor. They will compare how is the motor circuit like the bulb circuit and how is it different. They will examine different types of switches. They will observe that a switch placed in a circuit controls the flow of electricity.

They will make schematic diagrams of a battery and bulb circuit as well as a battery, switch, and motor circuit. They will describe trouble-shooting technique, the steps necessary to use for finding out what is wrong with a circuit. They will discover through experimentation that metals that are covered with an insulating layer will not conduct electricity. They will have few probes (argumentation in science) to do related to the flow of electric current in the simple circuits.



Information for the Parents of Students Grades 3 & 4 – Individual Science Fair Projects


  • The independent variable should be included in the question of the science fair project.

For example:   How does the length of the string affect the pulling power of a magnet?

The independent variable is the length of the string.

  • The hypothesis needs to show the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable (results).
  • To learn more about the independent variable, controlled variables, and dependent variables (results) visit Science Buddies website at sciencebuddies.org (Project Guide).
  • The students need to conduct a fair test that means to repeat their experiment at least three times (conduct 3 trials).

If they are working with plants, they need 9 plants (3 plants per trial).

  • All measurements need to be in the metric system-
    • Length in meters or centimeters
    • Mass in grams
    • Volume in liters or milliliters
    • Temperature in degrees Celsius


Upcoming Event: All Grades


There will be a new exhibit to see at the American Museum of Natural History entitled “Unseen Oceans.”

The exhibit will be opened to the public on Monday, March 12, 2018.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.amnh.org.

Reminder -The Lower Lab School’s Science Fair will be held on Tuesday, June 12th! This is an evening event.


February 8, 2018

Dear Lower Lab Families,

The Lower Lab School’s Science Fair will be held on Tuesday, June 12 (in the evening for parents only, details will be sent home at a later date) and Wednesday, June 13, 2018 (for students only). All projects will be done at home under adult supervision. The individual science fair project is mandatory for students in Grades 3, 4, 5 and will be part of their science grade on the Progress Report.

All students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 must submit the following:

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 2.53.09 PM

 Note: the short description of the idea for the Science Fair Project, the proposal, and the reports must be given to classroom teachers for Grades 3 and 4. Students of Grade 5 will submit all parts of their Science Fair Project to Claudia.

All final reports will be reviewed and returned to students at the conclusion of the oral presentations (after the Science Fair).

Please encourage children to begin to work on their projects early enough to avoid any last minute panic and stress.

Thank you for your support.

Please find entire Science Fair 2018 Packet Here!


Dr. Katarina H. Klaf


Science Blog for February 2018

-Grade 1

Sink The students will continue explorations of the Investigation 1: Solids.

They finished comparing solids that roll with solids that stack which represented sorting solids on the basis of their shapes.

They will examine (during the next lesson) the factors that affect how far a solid rolls that was placed on a ramp. They will test, collect data and write conclusion of four rolling balls (rubber ball, ping-pong ball, metal ball, and large marble).

The next physical property that will be observed by the students is finding out which solids float and which solids sink. The recording of the data will be done on the Venn diagram. Also a probe related to the sinking and floating will be used that shows thinking of the students (argumentation in science). Basically, the probe is designed to find out if students recognize that an object or material that sinks can be made to float by changing its shape (for example: using modeling clay).


-Grade 2

https://i0.wp.com/www.altoona.k12.wi.us/cms_files/text65704_3.gifThe students will finish Investigation 4: Soil Observations.

They need to observe and describe the structures and the functions of the red wigglers (composting).

They will start Unit 2: Forces and Motion. During the Investigation 1: Balance they will explore the concepts of balance, counterbalance, counterweight, and stability by balancing tag-board (two-dimensional) shapes. They will discover through experimentation that objects can be balanced in many ways and that counterweights can help balance an object.


-Grade 3

https://i1.wp.com/coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/light_lessons/thermal/images/thermeter.jpgThe students finished Investigation 3: Take Me to Your Liter.

They are starting Investigation 4: The Third Degree with an observation of a discrepant event in order to communicate the need for a standard unit for measuring temperature. They will measure the temperature of room- temperature water in degrees Celsius. They will collect data on how fast water cools off with ice and graph their results (line graph).

During the investigation, they will also calculate temperature change from a positive degree to a negative degree and explain how they did it (Response Sheet). One math extension related to the temperature will be included into the Investigation 4.


Reminder for the Parents of Grade 3


Please join us at the meeting scheduled for Wednesday February 14th in Auditorium, at 8:30 AM as we discuss the individual science fair projects.

Note: The letters describing the meeting went home on Thursday, February 1st.


-Grade 4

https://i0.wp.com/science.jrank.org/kids/article_images/light_p25.jpgThe students are continuing the Investigation 1: Electricity.

They will build and compare simple circuits with a focus on how connections are done. They will identify the essential components of an electric circuit, understand their functions and also test whether objects are conductors or insulators. They will learn the conventions for drawing schematic diagrams of circuits. They will analyze another students drawing of a battery and bulb circuit to explain why it will or will not light.


Note for parents of Students Grade 3 & 4:

It is again the time of year when the students of upper grades are starting to work on their individual science fair projects. The packets that contain information regarding to the individual science fair projects will be sent home on Thursday, February 8th. The packet will be available also our school’s website.



Information for All Grades:

The book “Next Time You See a Sunset” written by Emily Morgan that was sent to the Space Station in August 2017 was already ready by the astronaut Mark Vande Hei. In order to hear the recorded reading of the story, visit storytimefromspace.com.

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