Thursday-Friday, May 11-12th – All periods
Today in science: Details were shared with students today regarding the final science project of the year. As of Saturday afternoon, the final project packets have now been finalized. Students can use the two links below to access the two official project guides in PDF version. Students will be given paper copies of each of the packets on Monday, May 15th.
Packet 1 – “What Am I?” (Google Doc version available on Monday)
Packet 2 – “Where Do I Come From?” (Google Doc version available on Monday)
Homework: Students can now begin working on the packets as they please. However, the ‘official’ start of the packet work will be on Monday.
Monday-Wednesday, May 8-10th – All periods
Today in science: All periods continued watching the second episode of the BBC video series, Wonders of the Universe. This episode, called “Stardust,” asks students to begin thinking about answers to question such as: Scientifically speaking, what are we? And, where did we come from?
The notes we collected for the second episode included:
A. Every atom in our body–in fact, every atom on planet Earth!–was created somewhere other than on our Earth.
B. The story of every atom on Earth means knowing about the life, and death, of the stars found throughout the universe.
C. Throughout the observable parts of our universe, including here on Earth, scientists have found only 92 naturally occurring elements.
D. After the Big Bang, quarks were the first sub-atomic particles to form in the now-cooling universe. Soon, quarks combined together to form protons and neutrons.
E. When the universe was only 3 minutes old, it had cooled enough for these protons and neutrons to combine into nuclei. This is known as the time of nucleosynthesis. Hydrogen, helium, lithium, and beryllium were produced. However, only the nuclei of these atoms were created at this time. The universe was still far too hot to allow these nuclei to attract electrons and form atoms. That didn’t happen for another 300,000 years, at the time of recombination.
F. The atoms left over by the big bang were attracted to one another–via gravitational attraction–and condensed into huge clouds. The gravitational pressure on the centers of these clouds heated them to temperatures of millions of degrees. This led to the fusion of hydrogen atoms to make helium atoms. Stars were born.
G. In red giant stars, once all of the hydrogen atoms in the core of these stars is used up, helium atoms are then fused together to form new atoms such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.
H. After helium atom fusing ends in red giant stars, carbon atom fusing begins creating oxygen, neon, sodium, and magnesium atoms.
I. If the red giant star has a mass of more than 8 solar masses (called a supergiant), its gravity is strong enough to fuse neon atoms after it has finished fusing carbon atoms. This forms more oxygen and magnesium atoms, but afterwards oxygen atoms will be fused into sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, and magnesium atoms. Then silicon atoms will then be fused to make new elements as heavy as iron.
J. The heaviest elements are created in supernovae, the fantastic death of supergiant stars. A shock wave produced by a supernova creates conditions both hot and dense enough to fuse elements heavier than iron, elements up to and including uranium.
For those students interested in reading about these element-creating processes in much greater detail, you can visit this link.
Homework: Students need to be sure that they have the video notes from Episode #1 completed by the start of their next science class. All notes should be legible, well organized, and written either in one of the accepted ink colors (blue/black) or in pencil. NO printouts made from the SCIENCEsEDiment website will be accepted. Notes must be handwritten.