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IMGALTTAG Volume IV: Everyday Science


Science 24/7
Michaele A. Fisher
Quentin Roosevelt Elementary School

Roosevelt Elementary Science students will have the opportunity to establish an outdoor habitat. They will design, plant and maintain an outdoor habitat on the school grounds. The students will prepare the land by using measurement, soil samples, use of native plants and all environmental factors that will help the students to establish and maintain the habitat. The students will use the internet for their research. They can help to set up their own web page and will maintain that as well. Students will work with their teachers to identify and investigate agencies and websites that are available to help make decisions about which plants will survive in the school habitat.

We are going to incorporate a grant from the Audubon Society and the Pittsburgh Public Schools FOSS curriculum to enable students to start the project. We will work with other community groups to maintain and add to the habitat. We are moving to a new building and will have an area set aside for the habitat.

Roosevelt students have worked in an outdoor garden but this will afford them the opportunity to plan and implement their own research. They can put into practice design, past experience and research to establish this new habitat.

We will work month by month to prepare for the spring planting and will follow up with plans for maintaining the habitat.  Rather than spending all of their time in the Science Room, children will have the opportunity to take their plans from the indoors and work in the outdoors to begin a project that will remain as a school habitat and an ongoing challenge for future students of Quentin Roosevelt Elementary School.


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Burnt Earth
By Mary Ann Gaser

Burnt Earth: The Science of Ceramics with an emphasis upon science that is specifically designed for gifted middle school students. The goal of the curriculum is to have the student realize that there is an essential scientific basis for many art projects and activities. This is especially true of ceramics. I have expanded my ceramics curriculum to include some of the everyday applications of scientific principles to artistic expression. The curriculum is three pronged. It first addresses the historical and cultural relevance of ceramics. Next, it challenges the students to do research on the scientific aspects of ceramics. It then suggests studio activities that allow them to use what they have learned. These activities include working with clay to make sculpture and pottery as well as designing signage to illustrate the science of ceramics.


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Construct - Scientifically Playing With A Purpose
Stephanie Johnson
Crescent Elementary School

Most students in the early childhood age group enjoy making things with their hands. This creativity is often seen through the work of Designing Engineers. This unit has incorporated all of the basic skills for being a very young one. Science will be used in a non-traditional way. I will use lessons to introduce task-oriented “missions”. The missions are exciting and imaginative. They provide a template for the pre-kindergarten student to build and construct objects. The missions are made interesting by having characters that the students interact with and have given them their names. They are accompanied with age appropriate lessons and activities. This unit has addressed the Science and Technology standards in a way in which the very young student can build critical thinking skills. These skills can be built upon as the student moves through their education. The skills and objective are written in an interdisciplinary way. This unit can be adapted to your early childhood classroom. It is flexible and teachable. Parent involvement has been considered and with material that can be found in the home. You will find this unit to be formal and flexible.


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Citiology:  An Everyday Science Curriculum
By Barbara Kengor

This curriculum deals with the science behind the infrastructure of a city. Information specific to Pittsburgh is included in the lessons, however the science activities and experiments relate to most cities. The curriculum is designed for third and fourth grade students in the gifted program as an enrichment component to the mainstream science class. All the major branches of science  are integrated into the unit and the scientific method is taught and used to conduct experiments related to each topic. Topics include the fire department, police bureau, water authority, transportation, housing, health care, communications, greenspaces and employment. Each topic covered includes background or historical information, hands-on activities and experiments and a technology component.

The aim of this curriculum is to take science out of the classroom and allow students to discover the laws and theories of science that apply to everyday life in the city. The lessons and activities in the curriculum are meant to foster an awareness of how things work in the real world and what it takes to make them work.


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Science in Your Own Backyard
By Elizabeth Pascarella
Roosevelt Elementary School

This curriculum unit has been developed for a group of students at any grade level to engage in the proper sequence of events that will result in the development and transformation of a native habitat. This unit is written for grade levels K-5, but it can be modified to any grade level. It can be used with schools, clubs, or community groups, and it can also be modified to fit the needs of any learning support students. This unit will provide educators with a basic list of components necessary to create and maintain their own native habitat, in whatever space they have available. Educators can follow a monthly planning guide that will take them from the very beginning steps of mapping a designated area and taking samples of the soil to researching native plants and actually planting them in the space provided.

Students and educators will be provided with a list of Internet resources that will aid them in their research of a native habitat. They will be provided with resources of places right here in Pittsburgh where they can take their class on field trips, or arrange for resources to come to their schools. Students will be provided with many hands on opportunities that will not only cover the components of the FOSS Science Curriculum, but it will also provide activities that will meet many of the Standards required in Science, Math, Communications, and Citizenship.


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Geologic History of Pittsburgh
By Michael Real

This unit is designed for 11th grade Earth and Space Science students. This unit will introduce students taking Earth and Space Science to the geologic history of the region in which they live, Pittsburgh and the surrounding Allegheny County. It begins with an explanation of the principals of stratigraphy and the nature and origin of sedimentary rocks. This will be followed by an overview of Geologic history. During this section students will be introduced to the major periods of the Paleozoic Era and learn the major geologic and biological events that occurred during each period. The unit will conclude with an examination of the origin of the stratigraphy of Pittsburgh and the surface landforms that makes up its unique topography. The course material covers the geologic history of Pittsburgh, followed by a discussion of the impact this geology had on the settlement patterns of the area. The material presented may be of use, as a supplement, to courses on the history of Pittsburgh, Geography, or Sociology. Activities used to compliment the lecture portion of this unit include designing a geologic time line, collecting and identification of rocks, and research into the ecology of the environment represented by those rocks.


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Chemical Engineering of Consumer Items
By India Wright-Myles

The emphasis of YOU CAN MAKE IT -Chemical Engineering of Consumer Items speaks for itself. Students shall research and craft a number of common consumer items such as lip balms, lotions, hair perms, etc. The intent is to appeal to the student's familiarity with everyday household consumer items while enhancing their knowledge and skills in various chemistry contents.  Students will also acquire research capabilities through Internet based searches. They will analyze, evaluate, and modify laboratory investigations based on research findings, so as to create "New and Improved" measures of their substances. Laboratory and group investigations shall emphasize higher-order thinking skills. Investigations and research will be collaborative. Yet, each student will be responsible for submitting a formal laboratory report upon completion of a lab exercise.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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