It was an aromatic day in TARGET on Tuesday! Our Research Based Questions for the week were "Why do onions make you cry?" and "What happens when acids and bases mix?" We observed and cut an onion to learn about this root vegetable. When onions are busy growing they are drawing in sulfur from the soil. Students learned that when you start to slice an onion you are cutting and separating the cell walls of the onion. The enzymes and chemicals mix together and form a gas producing that strong onion smell. The gas from this mixture starts to reach the eyes of the person cutting the onion and when the gas mixes with the water in your eyes, a stinging sensation and tears are created. So, is there a way to not cry while cutting an onion? Try putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to cutting because the reaction of the enzymes is not as strong when they are cold.
Students also tested the acidity of bases and acids using cabbage juice as an indicator. After students tested a variety of common kitchen items (vinegar, baking soda, cream of tartar, club soda, onions, cleaner, and sanitizing soap) they arranged the liquids based on their pH levels.
Since we're reading a mystery for our Novel Study: Chasing Vermeer, students did some CSI detective work in stations. Students analyzed fingerprint patterns like whorls, ridges, and arches, identified patterns in their own fingerprints, did a station matching partial prints to a full fingerprint, magnified their fingerprint by stamping it on a balloon and then inflating it, and solved a variety of mathematical and spatial reasoning puzzles to decipher a code and solve a mystery. Next week we'll do some more investigative work as well as problem-solving for Pentomino Packaging Company and complete an art project using tessellations.
Our Essential Question on Thursday was "How do government organizations and individual citizens protect themselves from public health disasters?" We had an engaging discussion on the Bill of Rights as well as students' rights in schools. We discussed what "for the common good" means and why yelling "Fire!" in a movie theater wouldn't be considerate of the common good although individuals have the right to free speech. Students studied the case of Mary Mallon, better known as Typhoid Mary. Her individual rights were compromised for the sake of the common good as a healthy carrier of Typhoid. Students analyzed information from all points of view and then decided whether they felt Typhoid Mary was a villain or a victim. This was not an easy decision to make because there were multiple accounts of information supporting both sides of this argument. At the end of the day, most students came to agree that Typhoid Mary was a villain more than a victim, but county health inspectors and epidemiologists certainly could've handled the situation differently and not disrespected Mary's individual rights to the degree in which they were violated.
Gifted Specialist Teacher at Teasley Elementary