Monday, December 2, 2013

How Did Auburn Beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl? - SCIENCE !

If you live anywhere close to Alabama, you know that the Iron Bowl is BIG!  Whether you are an Auburn fan or you cheer for the Tide, the game is a lot of fun.

Football coaches really do use SCIENCE to develop plays and to determine how best to scheme against their opponents.  The closing seconds of the 2013 Iron Bowl are a good example of how SCIENCE played a big role in a win for the Auburn Tigers.   (I have a hunch that Coach Saban is reviewing his Science books right now as he plans for next year.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Science Club garden!  Thanks to all our parents who helped us establish our garden!  The first work day on October 5, was very successful!  Thanks to all our helpers! We weeded, plowed, and enriched our garden soil.  We spent the last two weeks of Science club planting the many donated plants and seeds!  If you have not seen the garden lately, be sure to stop by and check it out!

Please note... we need donations of mulch to put around each plant - to keep moisture in and weeks out!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Think like a Scientist and EARN A REWARD
Study your Soil - It's Not Just Dirt!

Did you know that there are many types of soil in the United States?   For example, soil in Alabama has a red color and is similar to clay while soil in Texas is much darker in color and has a different texture.

Do some soil research and EARN A REWARD!

  1. Click on the link below to see a map of soil types in the United States.  Different types of soil are identified with colors and the key to the map is shown on the far left side.   Study the map and write down three types of soil that are found in your stateLink to Map of Soil Types in United States
  2. Go outside and dig into the ground approximately six inches deep.  Get a spoonful of soil and examine it.  Look at it, work it in your hands, and smell it.  Write down at least three observations about the soil.  Describe the color.  Is it sandy, or more like clay?  Does it contain other rocks, or materials.
  3. Think like a scientist and answer these questions about soil – it’s okay to guess!
a.       Where does soil come from?
b.      Why is soil in Alabama different from soil in Texas?
c.       What important jobs (list at least two) does soil perform?

Write down your answers on paper and present to Mrs D (or email to by Friday, 27 September to EARN A REWARD!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Science Club Is Coming !

Click on the play button in the fun video below - Science Club is coming to Rapoport North!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baseball is Science!

Click the link below for a fun video reminding us that BASEBALL IS SCIENCE too!
Baseball is Science!

OBSERVE like a Scientist and

To understand the world around us, we must OBSERVE things carefully.   You already have five senses to help perform OBSERVATIONS: sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste.  Scientists use each of these and even develop other tools to help them OBSERVE, measure, and explore.

Practice your OBSERVATION skills and EARN A REWARD! 

STEP A: Take a close look at these two pictures of hummingbirds.  Using only these two pictures, list 10 things that you OBSERVE.  For example, your first observation might be:

1.  Hummingbirds have their babies in a nest

STEP B: Now imagine that you are working with scientists in an area where there are many hummingbirds.  In fact, you will even be able to catch one of them to study for a short time.  List 10 additional things that you might be able to OBSERVE in this setting.

Are you stuck?  Here are some clues…..  What do they look like?  Where do they live? How do they move?  What might they eat?  How many of your senses are you using to make observations?


(Rapoport East and GW Long Elementary students - you are always welcome to participate!  Just send an email to with your answers.  Be sure to include your name and address so I can mail your reward.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


It's August and whether you are in Texas or Alabama, you are probably dealing with high temperatures!

Robert Griffin III, the Heisman trophy winning quarterback from Baylor cools down with Gatorade.

Did you know that Gatorade was invented by a Texas-born Scientist when he was working with a sports team in the south?

Do a bit of research on the internet to find answers to these questions.  
(Be sure you have permission from your parents to use the internet!)
  • What is the name of the Texas-born scientist who invented Gatorade?
  • What university was he working with when he invented this beverage?
  • Have you tried drinking Gatorade when you are very hot?
  • List at least two reasons why athletes need special beverages to help them perform better in hot weather. (It's okay to guess!)

Record your answers on a sheet of paper and give to Mrs D during the first week of class to EARN A REWARD!
(GW Long Elementary students - you are always welcome to participate!  Just send an email to with your answers.  Be sure to include your name and address with your email.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Science Recommends a Good Breakfast

To do your best work, eat a good breakfast with protein.  That's not a cliche', it's a scientific fact.  To ensure that 5th grade students at GW Long Elementary would be best prepared for the Alabama Science assessment, Mr and Mrs Hughes (owners of H&W store) provided hearty breakfast biscuits for 65 future scientists.  Each student was given the opportunity to custom order a biscuit of their choice with bacon, ham, egg, etc.  Hot biscuits arrived the morning of the exam  - just in time for future scientists to get energized and ready to perform.

The next time you stop by H&W, please say "thank you" to Mr and Mrs Hughes for helping our students be and do their best!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fascinating and Beautiful Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch butterfly is a fascinating creation and it is the state insect of Alabama.  The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do regularly, but no individual makes the entire round trip. The migration cycle takes an entire year but the life span of the monarch is much shorter.  Female monarchs lay eggs so the next generation can continue the migration cycle.  Their migration path takes them all over North America – even as far as Canada.  In the late fall most of the monarchs return to the Sierra Madre hills above the village of Angangueo in Mexico.

How do the monarchs return to the same spot ?   Scientists continue to study but they believe the monarchs observe the position of the sun in the sky and have a natural compass in their antennae which can sense the earth’s magnetic field. 

Monarchs can be found in a wide range of habitats, such as fields, meadows, prairie remnants, urban and suburban parks, gardens, trees, and roadsides.   Their main source of food is the milkweed plant.  Unfortunately, some chemicals (herbicides) used for controlling weeds at farms in the midwest have also killed millions of acres of milkweed.  The result has been a drop in the monarch population and changes to their migration paths.

Click on the links below to see excellent YouTube videos on the monarch butterfly!!

Think Like A Scientist and EARN A REWARD!!!!
Record your answers on a sheet of paper and give to Mrs D before the end of the school year to EARN A REWARD!!!
  1. List three experiments or observations you would conduct if you wanted to better understand the migration of an animal.
  2. Birds, butterflies, and whales all migrate from north to south.  List at least three techniques that they might be able to use to enable them to navigate.  (It is okay to guess - that is called a hypothesis!)
  3. Pretend you are working for a respected research scientist at Auburn University who has the following hypothesis:  Monarch Butterflies use the sun to help them navigate during migration.   She has asked you to conduct an experiment to see if her hypothesis is correct.  What experiment would you run?
  4. Sometimes inventions that are intended for good have side effects that create new problems.  This is true of the farming herbicides mentioned above.  Name at least two other inventions that created new problems.
  5. If you are a scientist working on a new invention or working to solve a problem, what steps would you take to be aware of any new problems you might be creating?
  6. Do some research on the internet to find the answer to this question…. How can you tell a male monarch butterfly from a female?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Georgia Aquarium in One Word - AMAZING!

We made it !  Recently, 45 students and 10 parents (and Mrs D) from G.W. Long Elementary launched off for an overnite visit to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA.

First, a bit of history...... Bernie Marcus, one of the founders of Home Depot was enjoying his 60th birthday at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and it inspired him to help create an aquarium in his hometown of Atlanta.  He donated $250 million to launch the effort and it was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened in 2005.  THANKS MR MARCUS!!

Our 5th and 6th graders enjoyed an overnite trip to the aquarium and the staff provided us a "behind the scenes" view of what goes on with these amazing animals.  Thanks to all who helped make this trip possible and to the parents who joined us for this adventure!  You helped us take one more step on the journey of Science!
Dissecting Squid! - Now I see how that works!

Never Been to a Petting Zoo Quite Like This!

Sleeping with the Sharks, and Whales, and Barracuda.... Yawn!

More Fun and Learning than any of us Expected !

Ask any of these Young Scientists.... they will tell you Learning is Great Fun!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Your Immune System
the "Department of Defense" for Your Body

Learn and EARN A REWARD!!

Antibodies Attack Cancer Cell
Your body’s immune system protects you against bad germs (called ANTIGENS) every day. In most cases, the immune system does a great job of keeping people healthy but sometimes problems can lead to illness and infection.

The immune system includes cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The cells involved are white blood cells (called LEUKOCYTES), which seek out and destroy the antigens.   During this process, the white blood cells produce special proteins (called ANTIBODIES) to fight the antigens. 

Once produced, antibodies continue to exist in a person's body, so that if the same antigen is presented to the immune system again, the antibodies are already there to do their job. So if someone gets sick with a certain disease, like chickenpox, that person typically doesn't get sick from it again.

This is also how immunizations prevent diseases. An immunization introduces the body to an antigen in a way that doesn't make someone sick, but does allow the body to produce antibodies that will then protect the person from future attack by the germ or substance that produces that particular disease.

Your body – an amazing creation!

Checkout this video to learn more about your immune system and ways to stay healthy!

Do some research and EARN A REWARD!

Students in Alabama are typically required to have the following immunizations before entering school:

  • Diptheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Measles
  • Varicella

Pick any two of the diseases listed above.  Do some research on each of the two diseases you select to find out the following:

  1. What is the Cause of the Disease?  (how do you get the disease?)
  2. What are the Symptoms of the Disease?
  3. What is the Treatment if you have the Disease?

Record your answers on paper and turn in to Mrs D by class on Friday, 15 March to EARN A REWARD!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meteor Strike in Russia!
Think Like a Scientist and EARN A REWARD
(or even help save the earth!)

On Friday, Feb 15th 2013, a meteor rattled Siberia injuring hundreds of people.  The earth has had many meteor strikes over the centuries but now a group of young scientists and investors are working to develop a space telescope that would scan the solar system for dangers.   

Edward Lu, a former NASA astronaut and Google executive leads a team called the B612 Foundation: “This is a wake-up call from space. We’ve got to pay attention to what’s out there.”

Astronomers know of no asteroids or comets that pose a major threat to the planet. But NASA estimates that fewer than 10 percent of the big dangers have been discovered.
 “Our job is to be the first line of defense, and we take that very seriously,” James Green, the director of planetary science at NASA headquarters, said in an interview Friday after the Russian strike. “No one living on this planet has ever before been hurt. That’s historic.”   Dr. Green added that the Russian episode was sure to energize scientists and that an analysis of the meteor’s remains could help reveal clues about future threats.
Planning is underway to launch a large telescope known as Sentinel that can find 90 percent of the asteroids larger than 460 feet in diameter that pass through the Earth’s part of the solar system. They also want to discover smaller asteroids down to a diameter of 100 feet.   The space telescope is to have a diameter of 20 inches.  The system could be ready for launching by 2017 or 2018.   Click on the link below to watch a video about the Sentinel project.

Information for this blog entry from New York Times article appearing on Feb 17, 2013, “Vindication for Entrepreneurs Watching  Sky: Yes, It Can Fall”.


Do some research at the library or online to find answers to the following questions.  Write your answers on paper and give to Mrs D not later than Monday, Feb 25th to EARN A REWARD!

  • Where did the meteor strike in Russia?  Provide the name of the city or area.
  • The earth has had many meteor strikes – list the locations of at least five “major” meteor strikes.  In each case, the crater must be 5 kilometers or greater in diameter. 
  • Besides the existence of a crater, name at least two other pieces of evidence that a scientist might find that would indicate a meteor had struck the area. 
  • Think Like a Scientist….  When a meteor strikes the earth, what is the result?   Consider the ground, air, water, weather, wildlife.  List at least five things that you believe could happen.
  • Think Like a Scientist….  If you were in charge of designing a system to prevent meteors from striking the earth, how would it work?  Describe your system in 100 words or less.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are You Ready for the Georgia Aquarium?
They are Getting Ready for Us!

The Georgia Aquarium is getting ready for our visit.  Click on this link to learn more!

Who Wants to Fly Into a Tornado?!?! …… Send the Unmanned Aircraft Instead!

Look carefully and you'll see the tornado in the background

Students from the University of Colorado at Boulder have teamed up to construct and fly the “Tempest” unmanned aircraft.  This team of students wanted to  better understand the formation of tornadoes so they flew their airplane where few would dare.

The Tempest, an unmanned electric airplane with a 10-foot wingspan, was flown into the downdraft of a supercell (rotating thunderstorm).   Students were testing a hypothesis that this part of the storm has a critical role in the formation of a tornado.  What they learned about the genesis of tornadoes is still being sorted out, but the team expects to be back in the air tackling other scientific questions in the next couple of years.
Tempest Takes Flight
Eric W. Frew, associate professor, said Tempest proves that unmanned systems are useful to help learn about severe weather, along with wildfires, turbulence, and general atmospheric science. The unmanned aircraft can collect wind speed and other data on a scale of detail not otherwise possible.  

Imagine..... only seven or eight years ago, these college students were in 5th or 6th grade studying Science!

Thanks to AOPA for this story.  For more information, checkout the following link: