Sunday, February 2, 2020

Keeping Things Rolling: Rocks & Landforms

This unit started by looking at the three main types of rocks and how they are formed. Students then "morph" into geologists and use dichotomous keys with the help of technology to uncover the types and names of 10 mystery rocks according to their characteristics. Creating topographic & profile maps is also part of this unit as students learn how to read maps understanding contour lines and various map symbols. The unit of study concludes with simulating change in landforms due to weathering, erosion and deposition.
Want to further practice/study this information? The links off to the right side are super helpful! If you click on the Scholastic link and use the down arrow button to locate the page about Landforms, Rocks & Minerals, you can watch the video about the "Rock Cycle" or drill into the specific types of rocks to gain a more in-depth understanding. The page about "Weathering & Erosion" is also a good one. Just remember to Keep Calm and Rock On!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Healthy, Green & Everything in Between!

It's Green & Healthy time! 5th grade students are working hard to accomplish their nutrition, exercise & environmental goals using the calendar logs to keep track of their progress! We learn quickly that making positive food choices & working to stay active not only affects our bodies, but it can have a positive impact on our planet, too.  Balanced diets are the key and understanding what exactly the different foods can do for us is important. Exploring the "food cards" will certainly help us with this understanding. And students will love our apple game and farm lesson designed to enhance our learning as we come to realize the value of eating fresh, non-processed, local foods.
Save the date for Thursday, January 30th (6:30-8pm) for our annual Green & Healthy Family Night!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

That's "Eggs"actly Our Point!

5th Graders have been working hard to uncover some big ideas! We now know what happens when you simultaneously drop two items of different masses from the same height.  Not only do we know the results, but we know the science behind it! Students have also applied their knowledge from the gravity drop tests and from our earlier seed dispersal creations to creating our most recent egg drop structures. Congratulations to all the groups that were able to design a structure that kept their egg from cracking! Way to put your understanding of surface area and air resistance into practice! Want to challenge your brain with regards to all of this, check out the link on the side titled "elephant and feather" or get a hard copy from me. If you answer the true/false questions and correct all false questions so they read correctly and I'll give you a mystery microscope slip.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Scientific Method

5th Graders are focusing on the The Scientific Method. We will be doing a number of exciting investigations to familiarize ourselves with this process. Please be sure to review these steps over the next couple weeks. The goal is to be able to explain the order of this process and give a general description of each step. If you write me a list of these steps as a way to review and put it in my classroom mailbox (with your name & class number on it), I'll give you a Mister "E" Microscope slip!

The Scientific Method
The process scientists use to get to the bottom of their questions.

Step 1: Ask a Question
  • Be sure it lends itself to experimentation
  • Don’t forget to use a  “?” at the end
Step 2: Observe & Research
  • Use your senses
  • Use prior knowledge
  • Use resources – Internet, books, interview professionals
Step 3: State your Hypothesis
  • Say what you think and WHY!
  • “Because” must be in your hypothesis
Step 4: Design the Investigation
  • List of all materials (bulleted)
  • List of all procedures (numbered)
  • Then carry it out!
Step 5: Collect & Analyze Results
  • Take written notes (a well documented journal)
  • Take visual notes (sketches, photos, charts, graphs)
Step 6: Discuss your Findings
  • What happened in general?
  • Why do you think it happened?
  • Were there any errors?
Step 7: Make Conclusions
  • Overall, state what you learned
  • Revisit your hypothesis (don’t change it if wrong)
  • Ask a new question to repeat the process!

Monday, September 16, 2019


On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC, young people and adults will strike all across the US and world to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Millions of us will take the streets to demand a right to a future. We'll do that right here at PS321 first period on Friday (see the letter that Ms. Phillips sent home on Monday) and you will also find many people gathering at Foley Square in Manhattan and marching to Battery Park. Check it out! 

Also, read this letter from the Peoples Climate Movement that talks about the march and the efforts of Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. 

If your family is interested in attending Friday's Global Climate Strike in Manhattan, they can sign up here. Can't make the rally but want to watch a live stream of it?  Look for it on EcoWatch.

Friday, September 13, 2019

2019 NYC Maker Faire Is Here!!

Looking for something cool to do this weekend?  Go visit the New York Hall of Science in Queens for the 2019 World Maker Faire!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Presenting.....RRR by 321's GREEN TEAM

Check out this informative video by our AMAZING 321 Green Team (5th graders from the 2018/19 school year). Special thanks to parents Allison Bridges for helping the Green Team create this masterpiece and Andrew Robertson for the incredible filming and editing!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Are You Ready for Some SCIENCE!?!?!

Welcome Back Scientists! 

I hope you all had a wonderful summer vacation!  Hopefully you found a chance to explore the wonders of nature on those beautiful sunny days or took the opportunity to set up some experiments at home on the rainy ones. In any case, be prepared to get your Science senses stimulated! 

This webpage is a great resource for you and your families! There are links on the right that will take you to great online resources where you can play games, watch videos and learn about more cool Science stuff! The tabs at the top are specific to your grade level. Click there to learn more about what's going on with your specific curriculum and classes.  

So be sure to show your parents this site - and don't forget to bookmark it! Also get in the habit of checking it regularly - it contains loads of great information! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Mystery Microscope Menu Options

Mystery Microscope Menu of Mind-Expanding Opportunities
1.     Write a summary paragraph (to Patty) describing your strengths, weaknesses & goals as a Science student.
2.     Do an investigation/experiment at home. Write a summary, bring in results/pictures if you can & share.
3.     Let your mind wonder/question something that’s burning – now research it. Write a summary & share.
4.     Research a famous scientist (an added bonus if it’s a non-white, male scientist). Write a summary & share.
5.     Read up on a science-related current event. (Print/cut out article if you can.) Write a summary & share.
6.     Visit (aka and spend time browsing the site. Keep track of how long you spent & where you invested most your time. Write a summary of what you learned & share.
7.     Explain about a recent Science-related experience you had, item you found, or place you visited. Write a summary & share. Do research if necessary.
8.     Check out a book from the class library. Write a summary/book review & share (or simply turn in.)
9.     Reflect on Patty’s class, unit, teaching style, etc. Write her a summary explaining any positive aspects & give suggestions for areas that need improvement. (She happily accepts constructive criticism.)
10.  Give a detailed summary of how you prepared for an upcoming Science assessment. Provide any study tools you used (i.e. flashcards, study sheets, notetaking, …). Share what content was most difficult for you.
11.  Explain how you’re working with a peer to help that peer be successful with Science goal(s). Explain what is being worked on, how specifically you are helping, and whether or not you’re seeing positive results.
12.  Reflect on your Science report card grades. Summarize your thoughts & what you’ll do moving forward.

* Summaries should be your “personal best” type paragraphs. “Share” means doing so in front of the class.