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:

Here’s a great story on snakes in the area:

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:

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. 

"Give Wildlife A Chance" Poster Contest

Before our 3rd grades dive into their next PLTW challenge we are investing plants and animals of Georgia by diving into the "Give Wildlife a Chance" Poster Contest. 

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), The State Botanical Garden of Georgia and The Environmental Resources Network, Inc. (TERN) encourage you and your students to participate in the 28th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest! As part of DNR and TERN’s “Kids For Conservation” initiative, this art contest provides a unique opportunity for kindergarten through fifth-grade students to explore the wonders of Georgia’s native plant and nongame animal species through the 2017–2018 theme: Nature at Night!

Native species are those that naturally occur in Georgia, unlike exotic species that were introduced from other places. Georgia’s native plants and animals come in all shapes and sizes—from the large, moss-covered live oak (our state tree) to the little grass frog, the smallest frog species in North America. About 95% of Georgia’s native wildlife species are nongame (those which are not legally fished for or hunted) and include rare, threatened or endangered animals and plants such as Barbour’s map turtle and dwarf trillium. Our state is home to approximately 3,600 species of native plants, 950 nongame vertebrate species and countless invertebrate species and non-vascular plants. While game species are important, this art contest focuses on nongame wildlife.

Nongame wildlife can be found in your schoolyard, backyard or community greenspace. Some of the nongame wildlife that your students may want to depict in their artwork are bats, chipmunks, darters, frogs, hawks, songbirds, sea turtles, snakes, insects and many species of native plants. Take your students outside your school or on a field trip to a nearby state park, botanical garden or wildlife management area, and discover Georgia’s wildlife!

Poster Contest Rules & Guidelines

Size & Format

  1. Outside dimensions cannot exceed 17" x 22" (vertically or horizontally).
  2. Collages and other three-dimensional artwork are not suitable for this contest.
  3. Posters should be submitted on white tagboard or on white art paper (no matting).
  4. DO NOT FOLD. Submit art flat in a package or roll into a mailing tube.
  5. If you want the students’ entries returned, you MUST include exact postage (stamps only—no metered tapes) and mailing label or the entries will not be returned.

Contest Rules

  1. While following the Poster Contest Rules and Guidelines, instruct your students to create their own artwork based on this year's theme, and arrange for a local competition at your school.
  2. Each entry should depict at least one native nongame plant and/or animal of Georgia. Please include the Artwork Description information on the Poster Contest Entry Form. This demonstrates to the judges the student researched their subject.
  3. First-, second- and third-place winners should be chosen at the local level (refer to Contest Awards section).
  4. All participating students can receive place award ribbons and a Give Wildlife a Chance certificate (refer to Contest Awards section).
  5. Only ONE school-wide winner from each division can be chosen to compete in the state-level contest at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (refer to Eligibility section). State-level entries are normally the artwork of the first-place school winners.
  6. All contest entries must adhere to the contest theme: Nature at Night
  7. Avoid focusing on game species (those legally hunted or fished). Examples include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, gray squirrel, bear, bobcat, Canada geese, mourning dove, bobwhite quail, alligator, and largemouth bass. For a full list of game species, see the 2016–2017 Hunting Seasons and Fishing Regulations as well as the Migratory Bird Seasons. While these animals are important, this competition emphasizes Georgia's nongame animals and native plants.
  8. Do not include pictures of exotic zoo animals. This art contest focuses on Georgia’s native plants and animals.

150 Projects. 42 Judges. 6 Days. This is Science Fair.

The 5th Grade students have been working very hard in the lab to learn the scientific method, apply to an interest of theirs, and present their findings in our 3rd Annual Science Fair. 

Each student was able to present their work to 2 or more guest judges from different fields. Judges came from Rose Animal Hospital, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Kennesaw State University, Chattahoochee Riverkeepper, Red Door Playhouse, Cobb County School District, and various medical, engineering and architectural backgrounds. 

Gardner: 1st Place: Henry – “When you play into space…”
2nd Place: Kaylyn – “Watering Plants Faster”
3rd Place: Gregory – “Cichlid v Cichlid

Stone: 1st Place: Anna – “Which Hand Sanitizer Works the Best?”
2nd Place: Adele – “Radiation Rocks”
3rd Place: Shayon – “Color me Blue!!!”

Pirlot: 1st Place: Emma – “Carnation Coloring”
2nd Place: Charlie – “Video Game Programming”
3rd Place: Lauren – “Memory Mnemonics"

Dino: 1st Place: Lily – “Nail Polish Durability”
2nd Place: Cameron – “Gummy Bear Lab”
3rd Place: Ava – “Let's Namaste Calm”

Pizzuto: 1st Place: Kaushik – “Minty Madness”
2nd Place: Camden – “What is the best temperature for popcorn storage?”
3rd Place: Robbie – “Slapshot Science”

Lupiani: 1st Place: Nila – “Could Chewing Slowly Improve Your Health”
2nd Place: Luke – “Engineering a Nerf ‘Superblaster’”
3rd Place: Viveka – “Hot Meals”