Welcome back to school everyone! We've got a fantastic year planned in the Science Lab thanks to the Tritt Tiger Foundation! Okay, one quick plug, please donate :-). I had a pretty quick summer, teaching 4 weeks of Project Lead The Way to other teachers around the country (including Las Vegas), camping / mountain biking / paddling for 1 week, 1 week of Specialist Camp at Tritt with 83 of our awesome students, and 1 week of Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, AL. Water Wednesday was a success with about 12 kids meeting up every week to harvest from and water / weed the gardens. We'll be spending even more time out there this school-year.

Here is a quick rundown of what to expect the first 9 weeks of Science Lab: 

Kindergarten - Starting with sink/float, we'll be studying the properties of matter using a new Project Lead The Way unit, and then move onto engineering design challenges lifted from fairy tales like Jack & The Beanstalk and The 3 Little Pigs. 

First Grade - If we got lost on the Tritt Nature Trail, how would we communicate over a long distance using only the items in our backpack: magnets, string, flashlights, a tennis ball, and others! Including studying weather (for hiking conditions), this will take the first 18 weeks. It all starts off with sound and making a "frog chorus". 

Second Grade - How can we keep an ice pop from melting in a homemade cooler? We'll study insulation and conduction with experiments on every day items!

Third Grade - There sure is a lot of rain this first week of school! These students will study the affect of erosion on soils and rocks. 

Fourth Grade - 3...2...1... Launch into space. We've got 9 weeks of space units starting with designing our own mission to Mars, and followed by building models of our own landers and rovers! 

Fifth Grade - We are studying the scientific method through inherited traits as we prepare for the Science Fair in December (more information to follow, but you can get a pretty good idea on this blog under the, wait for it.... Science Fair tab). 

That is about it! Oh yeah, if you misread one 1/2" binder as a 1 1/2" binder, that is probably my fault. That said, storage space is limited, and if you can track down a thinner 3-ring binder, that would just be, the best.

Sign up NOW for Green Paws (Steady Paws + Green Paws Jr are FULL)!

It is already time to sign-up for FAST classes! Use the links below to enroll your student today! Cost for each class is $200, payable by check to "Blue Jay Education, LLC" before the first class. 

Steady Paws MD, a biomedical science and engineering class for 4th/5th graders, on Mondays from 2:30-3:30. Activities include making fake snot, studying bacteria and infections, using 3D printing to solve problems, and dissection! Class is FULL

Green Paws, an environmental science and gardening class for 2nd/3rd graders, Thursdays from 2:30-3:30. Activities include nature hikes, stream studies, crafts (eg pine cone bird feeders), games (eg camouflage), and opportunities to grow / harvest / and eat food from the garden. Register online HERE.  

Green Paws Junior, an environmental science and gardening class for K/1st graders, on Fridays from 2:30-3:30. Activities include nature hikes, stream studies, crafts (eg pine cone bird feeders), games (eg camouflage), and opportunities to grow / harvest / and eat food from the garden. Class is FULL.

Email Mr. Giunta at Joseph.Giunta@cobbk12.org (or text at 772-532-3928) with any questions. 

Space Camp!!!

This summer I signed up for Space Camp for Educators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It was amazing!

We used equipment that showed us some of what astronauts go through: a 1/6th gravity chair to simulate lunar gravity, a Multiple Axis Trainer that the original Mercury 7 Astronauts used to simulate a spinning rocket, we had to exit a simulated helicopter crash into water, and we zip-lined into a pond simulating parachuting into the ocean. If I go again in the future, then I'll get use the Underwater Astronaut Trainer to experience neutral buoyancy.

Next up we got to do two hour-long mission simulations. For the first one I was a Flight Engineer on the International Space Station. We had to preform experiments all while communicating with mission control and the arriving space shuttle and its astronauts. For the second one I was in mission control as the GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Controls System Engineer) as we helped our fellow astronauts on a mission to Mars. There other missions taking place around us on the life-sized models of retired and future shuttles and bases. A lot of the time my 10-person team of fellow teachers were just being silly (posing in the cuploa or pretending to sleep on the ISS - see how our arms are floating?!). 

One of the most fun things we did was build and launch our own rockets. I added a monkeynaut to mine :-)

We were exposed to so much science this week: a fuel burn demonstration, a Mars landing challenge with parachute and rover, growing crystals and creating slime, making a deployable solar sail, using Spheros to simulate Martian rovers, and making our own heat shields to protect "egg-stronauts". 

Water Wednesdays, all summer long.

Every Wednesday this summer I'll be at the school gardens from 11AM-Noon watering, weeding, and harvesting. Everyone is welcome to come! Here are some pics of our summer so far: 

What's on your mind?

The 4th and 5th grade students in Steady Paws MD got to dissect sheep brains as a culmination of all their studies this semester! A big thank you to Opal Patel (Krish and Anya's mom), without her expertise we never could have done it! 

First Grade ISN'T Getting Their Hands Dirty

First grade has been studying the basic needs of plants & animals. Combining shapes & types of plants & animals with the Engineering Design Process lead us to biomimicry, or engineered products inspired by nature. The students design and created their own garden tools and tested them by planting sunflower seeds in the Nature Nook.







Friend: We got rained out of planting, but still had fun building and sharing our designs!

We Can Do It!

Kindergarten has been studying a Project Lead The Way lesson on Structure & Function using human body. Following the story of a fictional character who broke her arm, our students created "x-rays" of their hands, did an experiment demonstrating how our fingers work using peg boards, and then designed, built and tested their own casts out of classroom materials. 








Here comes the sun!

Second grade is wrapping up a Project Lead The Way STEM project on how our sun moves through the sky! Students built shadow sticks (sundials), tracked the direction of sunlight using the Skyview app on our iPads, studied the effects of UV light (and made fun color changing bracelets), and then designed, built, tested and evaluated models of different ways to shade our playground from the midday sun. 









Snakes On A Trail!

Our 3rd Graders saw the snake below, a Dekay's Brown Snake (below, right), on our Nature Trail on Wednesday this week. This pencil sized snake is harmless, but is often confused with the venomous Copperhead (below, left). Snakes ARE a reality in the summertime in GA, and while it is important for us to keep safe, snakes are a very important and valuable part of the ecosystem, the web of life. Most snake bites occur on peoples hands as they try to remove or investigate a snake. 

UGA's Herpetology website is a great resource for snake ID: https://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/index.htm

Here’s a great story on snakes in the area: https://365atlantafamily.com/snakes-in-georgia/#.WSwZCYjyuM9

GA DNR Poster Contest Winner

Congratulations to Kate Bezpatchenko from Mrs. Bosma's class! Kate's drawing of a Barn Owl at sunset won Tritt's first year of participation in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources "Give Wildlife a Chance" poster contest. Kate's work will go one to participate against other elementary school's throughout the state. 


Tritt Summer Camp Registration Open!

TRITT SUMMER CAMP 2018! Specials teachers will once again be offering the best of Visual & Performing Arts, Computer Lab & Technology, Indoor & Outside Games, and Science & Gardening in a summer camp for rising 1st-5th grade Tritt students. Camp will run from June 4th -7th, from 9AM-3PM each day, for $175. Make checks payable to "Tritt Elementary" with "Summer Camp" in the notes. Students can enroll from 3pm-5pm for an additional $50. Price increases on April 9th to $225. Spaces are limited, REGISTER NOW!

Don't Panic!

In 4th grade we've been studying the geology of planets/moons/asteroids, and used what we learned to create our own planetary bodies with oil pastels. 

Next up we are designing our own mission to mars. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a card game that requires the kids to choose their own rockets/communication devices/machinery/scientific tools, keeping in mind cost ($250 million) / weight / power constraints. You can play the game yourself at home using this link: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/teach/activity/marsbound/

This isn't rocket science... oh wait, IT IS!!!

“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Elon Musk.jpg

Elon Musk started his company Space X because he knew it would be too expensive using current rocket science technology to send people to Mars. I just finished Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Young Readers' Edition, a biography of Elon Musk's work on early versions of PayPal and Mapquest, and his current companies, Tesla, and of course, Space X. It detailed the hard work he and his engineers had to put in to successfully build their own rockets, the first of which were more like to fail than fly, leaving a roomful of dejected scientists observing from mission control. On Tuesday, February 6th, Elon Musk's Space X company launched their Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time. This rocket has 27 of the Falcon engines designed by Space X and built here in America. It passed its test launch with flying colors, leaving its payload, a cherry red Tesla Roadster with video feed out to orbit the sun. It was amazing to hear the cheers of all of the engineers watching the launch who, despite failing over and over again, didn't give up on their goals and were ultimately rewarded with success. 

Not the flu!!!

I hope with all this extra time off from school that everyone is getting lots of rest and eating healthy! If you are sick, I hope you feel better soon! This video from SciShow Kids will give you some more information about what exactly you are dealing with! 

2018 Science Fair Winners

Congratulations 5th Graders on incredible projects all around! The following seven projects  represented Tritt Elementary at the Cobb-Paulding District Science Fair on February 10th. (Final Placing in parenthesis).

Lily Meyers, Dino - "Nail Polish Durability" (White Ribbon)

Henry Schlichting, Gardner - "When You Play Into Space, Take Off A Little Pace"

Nila Kalava, Lupiani - "Jump Start A Healthy Lifestyle - Just Chew More!!!" (Blue Ribbon)

Luke Mikkelsen, Lupiani - "Engineering a Nerf Super Stryfe Blaster" (Red Ribbon)

Viveka Chhiba, Lupiani - "Hot Meals" (Blue Ribbon)

Anna Tekenbroek, Stone - "Which Hand Sanitizer & Disinfectant Works the Best?" (White Ribbon)

Adele Ballantyne, Stone - "Radiation Rocks" (Blue Ribbon)

California Dreamin'...

I moonlight with Project Lead The Way in the summer and on some weekends, and yesterday (Monday) they had me and some other teachers fly out to Oakland to work with Zendaya (of Disney/Spider-Man/The Greatest Showman fame) at Fruitvale Elementary, her alma mater and where her mom taught for 20 years. 

We brought in tablets/virtual reality headsets, and laptops for a full day of tech and learning with students who just don't have that equipment on a regular basis. It was an incredible day and reminded me of how great it is to be at Tritt Elementary.