Cathy Bechen

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Butterfly life cycle via distant learning

Quite a few first graders in the Bethel School District are getting to witness the life cycle of a butterfly at their own home, through pictures, zoom lessons and videos. Thirteen kits were delivered a few weeks back to interested teachers, with caterpillars arriving last week. Teachers are housing them in their homes so they can share the experience with their students. Currently most of the caterpillars are in the chrysalis stage and will soon be emerging as butterflies. Hopefully students will be able to see the Painted Lady’s fly away before school is out!

Solar Challenge cancelled

Due to Covid-19 and the closing of school for the remainder of the year, this will be the first time in over 25  years that the Solar Challenge will not be held. Bethel 8th graders did not get the chance to build solar cars and this unit is not one that can be taught via distance learning. It is unfortunate for these students, however they will still be able to learn about renewable and non-renewable energy during their distance learning.

KidWind Challenge cancelled

Several schools in the Bethel district were able to participate in the wind turbine unit and designed and tested their blades until they came up with what they considered to be the best design. Classroom challenges were held at Cascade, Shasta, and Prairie Mountain. Unfortunately, school closed for the year before Meadowview got a chance to begin the unit. Sadly, the challenge that was to be held on Earth Day, April 23rd, had to be cancelled. This is just one of many missed events and gatherings that have had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. We look forward to continuing the annual event next school year.

Turbine teacher training a success

8th grade teachers in the Bethel District had the opportunity to attend a teacher training on a wind turbine building unit on December 17th. Teachers received hands-on training in how to work the equipment as well as building and testing their own blades, in hopes of improving them over the course of the morning. Teachers will then take this unit into their classroom and instruct their students on renewable energy, what to consider when building blades and culminating with the anuual wind-turbine challenge each year!

October is for Salmon

6th grade students is Bethel look so forward to this day–salmon delivery! Often times students will clap and cheer when they see the little cooler filled with salmon eggs brought into their classroom. Each year, students learn about the salmon life cycle and they get to witness it first hand in their classroom as they carefully care for these eggs until they hatch. Each classroom receives 100 eggs to monitor. They calculate the temperature units each day, check pH and amonmia levels until they hatch, at which time they are released into the Willamette River at Alton Baker Park. It is an experience they will not soon forget.

Winners spread across the district

The 6th annual Bethel KidWind Challenge took place at Meadow View on April 24th. The top two winning teams from 7th (and a few 8th) grades came together with their winning turbine design to compete against their peers. The turbine was tested for 60 seconds in a wind tunnel to determine the amount of joules it could produce. That score was then combined with a team interview score. Volunteers from EWEB led the interviews and remarked at how prepared students were. They were impressed that the teams took these interviews very seriously.  At the day’s end, the 1st place team was from Mrs. Greydanus’ class at Shasta, 2nd was Mrs. Baumann’s class from Meadow View, and in third there was a tie from Mr. Field’s Prairie Mountain students with another of Mrs. Greydanus’ class. Students enjoyed the morning off from their regular classes to compete, as well as play games and design a weight-lifting turbine.

First discovery lab kicks off at Prairie Mountain

 

This year Prairie Mountain held the first 2/3 Discovery lab for their second and third graders. Thanks to many parent volunteers, students were able to make their way around the lab, learning about magnets, wind vanes, thermometers and the like. Many stations involved making and taking items such as the “pond in a tube” which involves students creating their own ecosystem with elodea, pond water and daphnia. They also make a wind vane, a straw trombone and a balancing man to take home and share with family at home. This activity is a nice departure from the normal science classroom, and the excitement and smiles on the children’s faces is proof it was successful! This lab will be making its way around all of the elementary schools this spring.

Time to build

Classes are gearing up for the annual Bethel KidWind Challenge to be held on April 24th. Seventh graders are learning about renewable energy while testing different blade designs by varying the shape, pitch, blade material, and number of blades among other variables. Once they think they have discovered the best blade design, they will begin designing and building blades in their team of 3. The top two performing teams from each class will advance to the challenge held at Meadow View School, where seventh graders from other schools will compete against one another. Good luck all!

Taking it to the field

 

 

Students from Prairie Mountain chose the right day to do their stream study! The weather cooperated and although they did not have to get wet, many chose to “dive” right in. Each student in Pam Brand’s class was assigned a job, anywhere from collecting macroinvertebrates, to testing for dissolved oxygen, to measuring the pH of the water, all in their backyard at the Amazon canal. There was even a safety crew making sure kids were not in the way of bikers or pedestrians on the path. Each year students learn about water quality in the classroom, then they take their newly learned skills and practice them in the field.

Salmon eggs delivered

It’s that time of year again. 6th graders begin to learn about the life cycle of the salmon, both by raising them in their classroom, and going out and seeing the salmon in person on their Salmon Watch field trip to Whitaker Creek. This is a highlight every year for the students, as heard by the cheers and clapping when the eggs arrive in the cooler! Each classroom receives 100 eggs to take care of and watch develop. Once they reach the correct number of temperature units, the salmon are released at a site at Alton Baker Park…and the cycle begins again!

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