Day 6–Critters, Art and Games

Today, we did presentations for those finished with their cave critter. PLEASE remind your caver to bring in their poster completed tomorrow morning. Otherwise, they’ll be starting from scratch.

We then investigated the concept of cave art. The movie Ice Age has a nice segment about his and we did a little with online sites. Each caver then created their own cave are with no letters or numbers. They’ll be on display for open house (and sent home) so see if you can interpret what’s important to them.

We finished the day by introducing the cave game and started brainstorming. Each caver is showing what they know by making a board game of some sort that has to incorporate at least 15 questions in some cave relevant way. There is a lot to think about in making a game. The more they brainstorm at home, the more they get done in class. Here is a list of things to help them consider: board with about 50 spaces, questions of different types, player pieces, how to move spaces (spinner, dice, etc.), 15 questions, rules of the game (who goes first, object of the game, step by step directions) and, of course, the name of their game. Most use the idea from an existing game (Monopoly, Chute and Ladders, etc) and modify it into a cave type of game. Tomorrow is the big work day on this so strike up a conversation about how the game can work and help them remember things from home that might help with the game.

Tomorrow is the 1/2 way point. We’ve taught most of the content. Now it’s time for them to shine with the bigger projects.

Jeff and Michelle.

Day 5–Field Trips

Everything went well on our field trips. We’ll do some follow-up tomorrow in class to compare the 2 sites. One of Jeff’s left a charger on the bus and one of Michelle’s left a case for a video game. We’ll have them in class tomorrow. For any cavers that brought their critter poster home, please help them remember to bring that back tomorrow. We’ll be presenting them to our classmates.

Let us know of any questions.

Jeff and Michelle.

Day 4–Creative Critters

It’s a lot of fun when science can meet creativity. After doing our formation presentations (no creativity in that), the cavers reviewed the adaptations and animals that live in the dark zone of caves. They then created a creature that has combinations of cave animals and their adaptations. George Lucas would be proud to have some of the creatures on his set. After brainstorming and making a poster, each caver got a handful of model magic to make the “real” thing.

We set up our camera groups for the field trips and discussed the details. Here is the itinerary that was sent home and digitally linked before. Among the more important parts are the lunch that is needed and the warm clothes for the tours. Let us know if you have any questions. Remember, if your caver can’t make it to the Monday field trip for any reason (or will be late to the bus), please let us know immediately.

Have a great weekend.

Jeff and Michelle

Day 3–Formations into Life

We spent a lot of time on our formations. First, the Karst Models were finished. Then the formation poster was done as well as the diorama. Then we started talking about the adaptations of different types of animals in the different parts of caves. The next step is to create a creative creature based on existing animals and adaptations put together in a new way. That will be tomorrow withe some brainstorming, poster making and model magic to make a 3D example of their creature.

Chaperones have all been selected so if you were contacted by Michelle or received a paper from Jeff, you didn’t win the drawing. Sorry. The first field trip is Monday and that is the extra long extended day–6:30 am to 5:30 pm. Transportation is on you to get them there on time. Unfortunately, we can’t wait for late students as we have specific tour times lined up. All students will need to bring their own lunch that day as well. SA won’t provide any. There are also no coolers for kids to put lunches into so they should be packed in the individual coolers with ice packs.

Things are going well. Let us know of any questions or concerns.

Jeff and Michelle.

Day 2–The beginning of formations

It rained in our classroom. Ask your caver what happened to their sugar cube hills. We are trying to simulate that Karst landscape mentioned yesterday. Tomorrow, we open up the Earth to peek inside.

We did an experiment with a couple of chemicals to model what happens to make the “big 3” formations–stalactities, stalagmites and columns. Your caver knows how to do it but here is a short version. Put 2 heaping tsp of 20-Mule Team Borax into a quart jar and stir. Let the water become still. While waiting, make a cone with a paper towel. Ask them about the hot dog/hamburger folding. Once the water is still, put a 1/2 tsp of alum into the paper cone and set the cone into the top of the jar. Patience as this is slow–but not as slow as caves. Have your caver explain the similarities and differences this has with real caves.

The big part of today was the formation research. Each caver randomly selected a formation and did some research. We then talked about how this will look on their poster and diorama. Please remind them about why they have been selected to be involved in Summer Academy. We do have high expectations, especially in the effort department. This will be one of many individual activities that will feature your cavers abilities. There are 2 things that you might be able to help encourage your caver. First, some may want to print pictures of their formation. That would have to be done tonight as the posters will need to be completed tomorrow in class. If they don’t print anything, that’s fine. They’ll just have to draw their formations. Second, they will also be doing a diorama of their formation. That means making it in a 3D way. It might be helpful if the parent looks at the website to help them think of how to make the formation. It will need to fit into the box they brought.

Big reminder: BRING LUNCH TOMORROW! Class goes from 8-2:30 and we DON’T have a field trip tomorrow. Only 3 kids in Jeff’s and 4 in Michelle’s classes requested the SA lunches provided.

Jeff and Michelle

Day 1 Rocks and chemistry.

Today, we had a busy day. It always starts a little slow as the kids are trying to figure out where there classes are. We also did a little get-to-know-you activity. As we are sure you know, the follow-up conversation about the days activity really help to instill the information into long-term memory. Michelle did a lesson about how to test the types of rocks that are involved in the formation of caves. Ask them about the acid test and which rocks tested positive. Jeff focused on the cave chemistry. A volunteer-based demo was done with water, carbon dioxide and a chair. We also started a Karst landscape model. See if they remember what (and where) Karst is? You’ll be seeing it at open house. Our final activity was sugar cube hill. We try to simulate in 3 days what happens in millions of years in a real cave. Tomorrow, there is rain in the forecast…inside the room. No umbrellas needs for this lab.

Today we sent home 2 papers. One was the itinerary of our field trips. As always, students caught our error. The paper says the field trips are Monday, June 17th (that is correct) and Monday, June 18th (that is incorrect). It’s supposed to be Thursday, June 20th for the 2nd one. The other paper is correct and it’s the request to be a chaperone. We MUST have that back tomorrow to have the drawing.

Some students also need to bring in their art supplies. We have a little stash but that is SA property and for all to share. The show box might be needed tomorrow so please see if you can get a hold of that and bring it in. Might be a little early school shopping.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Jeff and Michelle

Cool Caves first class tomorrow

We hope you are looking forward to class tomorrow. The room is all set to start digging in to caves. This is just a reminder to check the email we sent for the supplies that are needed–some of them for tomorrow. As always, let us know of any questions. Jeff is at and 763-218-4792 while Michelle is at and 763-218-4793.

Diggin’ Deep, Jeff and Michelle