March 10, 2010, Takilma OR, by Daniel Dalegowski

Microscope and Slide Activity with Joe

Joe led the students and a drawing and vocabulary activity: diagram a cell and label it's parts. Joe brought several textbooks with good illustrations of cells for the students to reference. It was important for the students to draw big pictures so there would be plenty of room to fill in the parts and provide labels. Different types of cells have different shapes and structures. The students focused on a plant cell.

Cell parts:
  • Nucleus -- Like the brain of the cell and generally close to the center.
  • Cell wall -- The outside border that holds it all together, analogous to skin.
  • Chloroplasts -- The power-producing structures of a plant cell. Like solar-panels for a plant; the source of a plants energy or food.
  • Vacules -- Like the stomachs of the plant; round sacs that the plant stores food in.

Joe showed the students a sample of a plant from right outside the school under the microscope. It was very interesting looking. He then put a worm under the scope and this was pretty amazing. I've never seen a worm moving so up-close.

Joe explains cell structures.

Nice array of biology text books.

The worm under the microscope.

Gasifier Construction with Kelpie

Kelpie led a small group of students through the process of creating gasification stoves out of aluminum cans. The steps that I observed were as follows:
  • Tracing and measuring to identify the exact center of the cans so that holes could be properly created.
    • Folder paper twice to define exact center of the circumference of the can. This was an exercise in precise measurements.
    • Transfered the center from the paper to the can and carefully indented the can in the center with the point of a nail. Removed paper, checked that center was true, then punctured can with nail.
  • Bottom of the smaller can was perforated with the hammer and nail. One student remarked "now this is a class I can deal with." There was a break for stretching and proper hammer technique was demonstrated: Holding hammer away from head, standing high or moving to a higher chair, and establishing rhythm.
  • Holes were punched around the bottom of the larger can with a can opener. They had to be evenly spaced and leverage was explored.
  • The sharp barbs created in the last step were then flattened with a stick and hammer.
  • Four evenly spaced marks were created on the smaller can using the paper stencils from earlier. The stencil was then rotated and four marks drawn to create eight evenly spaced marks around the circumference of the small can.
  • A small can opener was used to puncture the can where the eight marks were made.
  • Pliers were used to flatten the spikes created in the last step.
  • Finally, a screw was used to attach the two can; the smaller inside the larger. This was a very tricky operation.

The students probably completed some more steps, but I had to depart to observe Lori and Heather working with the kids on carbon cycle diagrams.

Tracing the circumference.

Finding the center.

Marking the center.

Perforating and demonstration of semi-finished product.


Punching holes with can opener.

Close up: punching holes with can opener.

Flattening spikes with hammer and stick.

Measuring and marking.

Taking pride in a job well done.

Flattening barbs with pliers.

Carbon Cycle Diagrams with Lori and Heather

The diagrams the students have drawn are very complex. Lori and Heather coached the students through the carbon cycle and the students illustrated the cycle in their own unique styles. Lori and Heather made sure they got the facts straight--the students made sure the art was superb.

Students hard at work on carbon cycle diagrams.

Diagram with color.

Black and white diagram.