Education Month in Review: December 2022

Discovery Room: 1st grader crawling through the model ear drum

1st grader crawling through the model ear drum during Discovery Room

By Cristina Reo

The education team had a jam-packed December full of learning, fun, and festive cheer.

  • December started with our monthly Sea Squirts program, for kids ages 3-5. Through shadow puppets, reflections, and more, they explored light and shadows.
  • Little Dippers, our nature-based group for preschoolers, went to Mt. Eyak ski hill to make ice ornaments and ice art. They also ventured to the beach to explore sea life and collect seaweed for pressing.
  • The education team visited nearly every grade at Mt. Eccles Elementary School for Discovery Room.
    • The theme for kindergarten was wind. They performed experiments to test the power of wind and then made windsocks.
    • In first grade, we created a large version of a model ear for kids to crawl through and explore the different parts of the ear (image below). They learned how the human ear works and how they vary from other ears in the animal kingdom.
    • In second grade we cooked up some snow in the classroom with kitchen chemistry, then we brought the kids outside for snowflake learning games.
    • Third graders learned about the different parts of an egg and got to touch an egg with a dissolved shell. Students participated in a hands-on activity to visualize the volume of bird eggs. They guessed volumes of a variety of eggs, from hummingbird to the extinct elephant bird.
    • Fourth grade learned about food webs and plankton. They represented the oceanic food web in an educational game illustrating how complex a food web is, and how sensitive it can be to change. They learned the role that plankton play in the food web and then made and designed their own plankton to participate in the plankton races.
    • In sixth grade we talked about marine debris. They practiced creating arguments with evidence as they competed to sort debris into a timeline of how long it takes debris to decompose. To fight future marine debris, they repurposed their classroom recycling into Christmas ornaments.
  • The Prince William Sound Science Center hosted its first themed month: Plankton. Thank you for following along on our social media pages to learn about the various types of plankton, why they are important, and how we study them. We hosted an open house where attendees observed plankton under the microscope, operated scientific instruments like microscopes and refractometers, discussed plankton and plankton research with Dr. Rob Campbell and Jessica Pretty, handled a plankton net, and viewed educational videos about plankton.
  • There were two yoga nights in the month of December. The first theme was winter, where we learned that water’s density decreases when it is frozen. Gabrielle had us freeze in poses, while still maintaining a sense of weightlessness in our bodies. In keeping with the theme of plankton, we also had a plankton yoga night. Aviva taught us to be free and drift like a plankton.
  • The education staff hosted a variety of events for families including our first of three family astronomy sessions. Participants heard moon legends, created models of the moon’s interaction with the earth and sun, and gained knowledge of how moon phases transpire. The event concluded with a campfire and s’mores. Fun Friday’s theme for the month of December was snow. Families made their own snow, watched an avalanche board demonstration, saw water instantly freeze, and made their own snowflakes. To wrap things up for the month, the education staff held events for families over winter break. The first event, “trashy ornaments,” got everyone in the holiday spirit. All ornaments made were created from common household trash. We hosted family movie night; families came in their pajamas, brought sleeping bags and pillows, and watched an educational film.
  • The education staff is looking forward to seeing you this January for more events. Check our calendar here.
Discovery Room: 1st grader crawling through the model ear drum

1st grader crawling through the model ear drum during Discovery Room