Kate M. Smith Elementary School had its first elementary science club this year. The club was sponsored by Miss Franklin, teacher of the Science Exploration Lab at KMS and had 18 fifth grade members for the 2016-17 year.
In a joint effort with several departments at IFAS at the University of Florida, which specializes in invasive plants and animals in Florida, the students were treated to interactive lessons on Invasive tomato plant viruses and how to spot them. The department of Entomology also sent representatives to show the club many different insect species found in Florida and some that should not be.
As well as the UF lectures, the club also learned about different careers in the sciences from guest speakers such as Mr. Banta from Graceville’s Rex Lumber on how lumber is grown and harvested, and Officer Willis from the sheriff’s office who demonstrated many different CSI techniques.
As spring rolled around the club began their own science experiment testing man-made potting soil vs organic potting soil and hybrid seeds vs packaged seeds using squash as their product. They began by transplanting 2 different varieties of squash (zucchini and yellow squash) donated to the club by Orange Hill Express, in 7 inch pots donated by Maphis Tree Farm. Some of the potting soil was also donated by Walmart as well as a watering hose and plant markers. After 4 weeks or so, the students made their first harvest which they weighed and measured and then 1 week later they harvested again to get a total amount harvested. After all the weighing was complete students totaled the amounts and compared their observations about the experiment, drawing conclusions, and determining what the next steps would be.
As a reward for all of their hard work and eager participation, they were able to go to the Pat Thomas FSU Planetarium in Tallahassee where they were mesmerized by star patterns and a fascinating look at the progress being made in atom smashing in the search for Dark Matter.
Truly, these students will one day change the world and we expect great things from them.