Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Helping promote FITE Nite, Brianna Bogart, 8, makes a poster to advertise the event. (Photo by Kashmir Baillie)

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon will host FITE Nite from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29. The event gives families an opportunity to learn what their kids has been doing in school.
      FITE Nite, which stands for Families Interacting Through Education, will be filled with games, food, music, and other events. This event will be on March 29, from 5:30 to 7:30. This is an event where families can interact, connect, and learn.
      “We will have minute games and other competitive activities that allow people to earn prizes,” language arts teacher John Leal said. “The jazz band will be there for some of the time, we will have face painting, and some other carnival activities.”
      One of the main events that will be going on at FITE Nite is the Chemistry Cookoff, where student bring either an entree, main dish, or dessert that they have made and explain the physical and chemical properties that occur while making it. These students will serve samples of their food along with a presentation.
      Mr. Leal and science teacher Regan Roach are two of the teachers that helped plan this night, which takes lots of preparation to make it successful.
      “We have been planning this event for most of third quarter off and on, when we can all meet together,” Mr. Leal said. “I help plan some of the games and I, along with Mrs. Roach have students in positions to help us setup, takedown, and cleanup the area.”
      Although there are going to be many things going on at the event, it is mostly about the families being able to interact and have a good time while learning a little bit about what is going on at school.
      “This allows us to demonstrate not just student learning, but it also allows for families to connect over the activities,” Leal said.

Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

By Bronte Pappas
Cougar News Blog

     Building bridges is the step to creating good relationships. Only this time, it’s literal. Cactus Canyon now offers a new enrichment class, where students build bridges.
     In this study skills class, students will be building real model bridges, but also learn about civil engineering. Students research different types of bridges and construct one using popsicle sticks with the goal of building one that can withstand 100 pounds.
     “I am excited to see the creative solutions that students will come up with for everyday problems,” said science teacher Diana Kidde. “Students will also have to explain their design and process. I am excited to see the different designs and which ones will support the most weight.”
     Students will be learning about engineering design. This is the engineering design process that will guide the students. It will help them solve problems, and it will help them make improvements to their designs.
     Many of them are excited for the experience because they are looking forward to making something with their hands.
     “I am excited and the reason is because we get to construct something small but if made big it can hold a lot,” said eighth grader Krysta Espinoza.
     In the future this will help students who one day might want to take up a career in engineering.
     Not only will students be building bridges, but they will also be constructing a spaghetti tower. They will even be making an egg engineering project which will be a ton of fun. The spaghetti tower is a tower made of uncooked spaghetti noodles, and the egg engineering project is where the students must create a safe incubation for an egg. It will have to be safe enough for the egg not to break.

Students work on their Rube-Goldberg projects. (Photo by Tiffani Morris)

Students work on their Rube-Goldberg projects. (Photo by Tiffani Morris)

By Chris Munro
Cougar News Blog

     Students in the eighth grade at Cactus Canyon Junior High are learning about Newton’s Three Laws of Motion in an unusual way.
     Science students at CCJH are learning Newton’s Laws of Physics using the Rube Goldberg Method of creating a large machine to do a small task, as brought up by science teachers Candice Wyatt and Regan Roach.
     “Science is amazing when you can have fun with it,” said Mrs. Wyatt.
     The students in the science classes started their physics unit in the third quarter, and this project is meant to enhance what they learned by giving them hands-on activity as well as having them use simple machines in their project, hence the Rube Goldberg-Physics team .
     “I do prefer the Rube Goldberg Project over text book learning as (it) is hands on unlike the textbooks,” said Gabriel Gentry.
     The project, is meant to enhance students’ understanding of Newton’s Three Laws, specifically on motion. The main goal is to teach the kids how things move and what can change movement. The project’s due date is set for May 9 to allow for competition between the class teams.
     “I wanted students to end their eighth grade year with a fun science project that they enjoyed building, testing and competing with,” said Mrs. Wyatt.
     Mrs. Wyatt estimates there are around 60 teams between her five classes, at around twelve teams per class on her end, with a few less teams in Mrs. Roach’s classes. As the due date is May 9th. Gabriel Gentry and Alex Troutz are working on their project with the theme of Lego and the goal of lifting up a curtain to reveal a Lego sign.
     “This is a fun and interactive way to demonstrate understanding of Newton’s Laws of motion and forces,” said Mrs. Roach.

Faith and AJ make paper rockets while learning about Newton's Laws of Motion in Mrs. Roach's science class.

Faith and AJ make paper rockets while learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion in Mrs. Roach’s science class.

By Chelsey McCarthy
Cougar News Blog

     At Cactus Canyon teachers like to give students hands-on experience to teach lessons. Regan Roach demonstrated Newton’s Laws of Motion by having students create paper rockets.
     The students first started off with making a flip chart and playing a card game to get a basic understanding of the laws. After she thought the students were ready, she gave them a project to start. Roach has picked paper rockets for her class project.
     The students had a choice to work with a partner or individually to create a functional paper rocket. She is supplied each student with one water bottle, two index cards, two pieces of printer paper, and four bendy straws. Then students used their creative minds to start the journey of making a rocket.
     “I wanted students to work with something (hands-on) to learn about Newton’s Laws of Motion and how it changes,” said Roach.
     The students said the paper rocket topic is weird and unusual, but is unique because they’ve never done such a thing before. The unique challenge was that students had to make the rocket fly without using their hands.
     “The project is very confusing at first, but once you know how to make the rocket and get an idea on how to make the rocket fly, it is really interesting and less confusing,” said Emily Lewis.
     After the projects were complete, some students had the opportunity to compete against one another.
     Mrs. Roach lined up three targets, the closest target is worth 10, the middle 20, and furthest 30 points.
     “There (were) three targets, each at a different height and distance from the starting point,” said Roach.

Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland's enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students' objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland’s enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students’ objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Michael Penge
Cougar News Blog

     Fish are generally considered to be one of the most boring pets on the planet.
     The truth is they can be very exciting, especially when students get to make their own aquarium to house the fish. That’s exactly what Mrs. McFarland’s art class has done.      They’ve created habitats for feeder fish, such as goldfish and guppies, but these fish aren’t going to be fed to anything though, they will be housed in the two-liter soda bottles used as their aquarium.
     “Our bottle biology lab is a very hands on activity that teach my students the exciting world of life science and how ecosystems work together,” said Mrs. McFarland. “We learned about things such as producers, consumers, and how all of them create the environment they live in.”
     Every student had to create their own aquarium and care for each individual feeder fish. The aquarium contained an aquatic plant, so the fish could have oxygen when the plant goes through photosynthesis, which they need to survive. The plants get the nutrients they need from insect eggs, larvae, and minerals. That provides food for the fish as well.
     The fish that were placed in the aquariums were bought at 11 cents each. Students are expected to learn how important biodiversity is in an ecosystem and how energy flows through every being in an ecosystem.
     “My students should be able to understand how a closed system could work on a hostile environment like Mars or Antarctica,” said Mrs. McFarland.
     Mrs. McFarland wants to continue special projects like these because they provide hands-on opportunities and help with problem solving skills.
     “Most of my projects revolve around analyzing and observing instead of the memorization of correct responses,” said Mrs. McFarland. “This encourages cause and effect thinking and to question events that happen during experiments.”

By Natalie Delintt
Cougar News Blog

     Advanced science students cooked up a new way to learn chemistry.
     Regan Roach’s advanced science class held a chemistry cook-off as one of the events at Cactus Canyon’s WREC night so the students could show their understanding of chemistry in a real-life experience.The Wednesday Reading Eating and Chemistry event on Feb. 4 also featured book-themed games, the book fair, and a photo booth.
     The contest was a part of a bigger project in Regan Roach’s advanced class that started in November. Over about four months, students learned about physical and chemical properties and changes.
     Students chose a recipe, having been assigned appetizer, entree, or dessert, and researched how chemistry came into play while cooking their recipe. They researched the solubility, melting point/boiling point, density, pH, states of matter, and identified the ingredients.
     “We had to gather all of the information about our ingredients, then we had to make a presentation for people to look at that was creative,” said Robynn Vandekrol.
     Students had to cook 100 samples of the food they chose and had to write a speech that showed what they learned. They also had to make a creative display instead of making a boring tri-fold. The presentation needed to be as hands-on as possible, so students used note cards that people had to take and read aloud. Students also had guests put together their own food if they made food like tacos and self-serve pizza. They set up shop in the CCJH courtyard so there would be enough room for everyone.
     “The food was amazing and our teachers worked really hard to make sure that everything went as planned and everyone was happy,” said Robin Marshall.

Meagan Clark raises her hand to answer a question during and AIMS review activity in Mrs. Wyatt's class. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Meagan Clark raises her hand to answer a question during and AIMS review activity in Mrs. Wyatt’s class. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Natalie Delintt, Alissa Baker, and Kylee Demauro
Cougar News Blog

     Students at Cactus Canyon Junior High prepared for the science AIMS test that took place on March 30.
     The test, which is only taken by fourth and eighth graders, is the only remaining AIMS test. The state tests for reading, writing, and math switched to the AzMERIT format in 2015. The test consisted of standards students learned their eighth-grade year.
     For review, Candice Wyatt went over most of the standards taught during the 2015-16 school year and had her students use their science journal to help themselves prepare for the test.
     Students have been reviewing off and on for about two months.
     “Reviewing is important to my students because it refreshes their brains and connects old and new material,” said Mrs. Wyatt.
     “Reviewing is a little frustrating for the kids that already knew how to do some of the things, but I know that it is good to review before a big test,” said Will Cobb.
     Wyatt uses old test scores and her class’ prior understanding of different subjects to know if she had to review certain objectives and skip over others.
     Regan Roach assigned homework that required students to use their notebooks because the topics were from the beginning of the year and many students needed a review.
     “Our teachers worked really hard to make sure that we understood everything again so we would do well on the test,” said Cass Casperson.
     Questions on the AIMS test are a little different than questions on benchmarks, in the sense that they are worded differently. This can made them more difficult, even though they are on the same subjects as the regular biweekly tests.
     Mrs. Wyatt said students tend to get the questions wrong because they look confusing, which is why teachers told them to read the question very carefully.
     “Sometimes the questions are more difficult to understand on the AIMS tests and students get confused,” said Wyatt.

Photo by Talon Izbicki

Photo by Talon Izbicki

By Natalie Delintt
Cougar News Blog

     Eighth graders reeled in a new way to learn by going on a fishing trip.
     Students in Regan Roach’s advanced science class went to a pond at the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Phoenix on Jan. 5 to help further their knowledge of ecology.
     “I wanted my students to learn about native and non-native fish,” said Mrs. Roach.
     Mrs. Roach hasn’t done this trip before and planned it with Arizona Game and Fish to create an authentic activity for the students. Students learned about how fish are related, why they look the way they do, what bait to use for each fish, and how to unhook certain types of fish.
     “I thought it was a true, hands-on experience to the standard,” said Mrs. Roach.
     “I learned that different fish have the same features and how some were related,” said Stephanie Cervantes.
     Most students had been fishing before the trip, but the ones who hadn’t been were taught how to hold the pole correctly, how to keep the hook from hurting themselves or anyone else, how to bait the hook, and how to cast them. It took practice, but eventually everyone was sitting and waiting for a bite.
     The students started fishing around 10 a.m. and fished a few hours before they piled back onto the bus for the long drive back to school.
     Mrs. Roach caught the most fish out of everyone, reeling in six. Some students also caught a few fish, while others weren’t as lucky. A few only caught sticks or leaves and others had fish bite their bait off before they could reel in them in.
     “All I caught was a rock,” said Cervantes.


By Zoe Siegel
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH is opening a new chapter with a grant that was awarded to the library for non-fiction books.
     The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded librarian Jennifer Cameron with a $4,000 grant for more informational books in the library. Cameron requested the PTO apply for the grant last spring.
     “CCJH library’s non-fiction books indicated that our collection was seriously dated. In an effort to rectify this situation I reached out to CCJH’s PTO,” said Cameron.
     Last spring, Cameron heard about the grant and talked to the PTO about the grant. Not long after, they hired professional grant writer Eve Jacobs write a grant focused on technology and science.
     “They had hired a professional grant writer to do some work for them,” said Cameron. “I compiled a list of books for her focusing on science and technology and she put together the actual literacy grant.”
     The grant is affecting students in many ways. Students say when more books get updated, they will have more information that wasn’t in the old books.Kids can enjoy more books and make their reading experience more exciting and educational.
     “I think it will open up more options of what to read. I would like to say that this grant will most likely bring more readers to the library,” said eighth grader Robin Marshall.
     The grant helps out after-school clubs like Raging Readers. It can open up what they read and provide more text that they haven’t read before. The more books the library has, the more text the club can read.
     “Since I am in Raging Readers I do think it will provide more for us to read because the more books the more we can read,” said Marshall.

By Skylar Sosa
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon eighth graders are blasting off with a new project creating rockets to demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion.
     Science teachers Ms. Wyatt and Mrs. Roach wanted to plan an informative, but fun way to teach their students about Newton’s Laws of Motion. With the end of the school year approaching, the teachers wanted to assign a casual, relaxed project that would make the end of the school year enjoyable, but still something students could gain information and knowledge from.
     “Rockets are a great way to test your engineering skills and the ability to work with a person to design something great,” said Joe Pomeroy, one of the eighth grade students.
     The project is assigned in all classes and students will be working on it for the remainder of the school year. Wyatt and Roach have assigned this assignment in the past, which have all been successful and they are expecting this one to be just as helpful.
     “Because of my past experiences with rockets, I think students will be excited to build and launch their rockets,” said Mrs. Roach, an eighth grade science teacher.
     Students will be working in groups and will be building the rockets out of paper and tubes. The goal of the assignments is to show how sections of the rocket can be affected by external forces and how the laws can be applied and showcased on the object. The rockets purpose is to display how basic items can be changed or impacted by Newton’s laws. Essentially, the rocket is just a device that the teachers are using to interest students in the subject but is still allowing students to learn in an exciting, creative way.
     “The rockets are fun but sort of frustrating because the supplies aren’t cooperating. It really does teach us to have patience though,” said Danessa Shaw, a student working with the rockets.
Teachers are expecting the overall project to be a useful tool and something that students can obtain a better overall understanding of the laws and something that will make the end of the year an entertaining and pleasurable experience.