Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Volcano Eruptions in Science

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

This week our Primary Center students learned about volcanic eruptions. Starting with a diagram of a volcano, science teacher Mrs. Wendy Nguyen explained how hot lava Ingredients for Volcanorises from a subterranean magma chamber, erupts out of the mouth of the volcano, emitting an ash cloud, with hot lava traveling down the side of the volcano.
Some of these young students knew that there are volcanoes in Hawaii and even knew of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. Mrs. Nguyen explained that some volcanoes are sleeping (dormant) and others are awake (active).Demonstrating Volcano
Using a clay model volcano filled with baking soda and a drop of red food coloring. Mrs. Nguyen poured in vinegar so the children could see an acid-base reaction taking place, producing a gas (carbon dioxide) and water, seen as red liquid bubbling out of the mouth of the volcano model.
“We want to see it again!” exclaimed the children. Each student then had the opportunity to replicate the demonstration, followed by a delicious treat. Mrs. Nguyen had created a model volcano made from chocolate Rice Crispy treats. Using red soda poured onto lemon fizz powder, the students witnessed another volcanic eruption – except this one they could eat! Slices of the chocolate volcano were enjoyed by all!

VEX IQ Robotics

Friday, January 6th, 2017

A group of our PHS Eighth Graders have been selected to attend an advanced robotics course (VEX IQ & Robotics) at the PV Net, PV Net ReSizeda non-profit STEM/ technology education center located at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, next to the Pottery Barn store. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about robotics and programming.
If you’re new to robotics, VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students. Our Eighth Graders can immediately become engaged in individual and group robotics projects and create robots with this intuitive, toolless system.
Our thanks go to PHS parent Mrs. Kate McKenna, who has graciously offered to drive these students to the PV Net for these classes, and to Sixth Grade teacher Eileen Mahoney for coordinating the details of this course.

Happy Whale Day!

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Our Kindergartners enjoyed a wonderful field trip this week right here in Palos Verdes! Tim and Cathilee Sharretts, grandparents of Kindergartener Hudson Power, helped plan this outing along with Kindergarten Teacher Christy Burden. Parent volunteers and Associate Teacher Carol Woo also accompanied the children to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Miss Natalie, a Docent at the Center, explained the different types of whales and their four stomachs, and the Kindergarteners gazed at the skeleton of one of these massive marine mammals. Outside, the children joined the volunteer adult whale counters at their posts and viewed the ocean’s waves through stationary binoculars. Dolphins – and perhaps a whale! – were located by our keen-eyed students. A delicious al fresco lunch was enjoyed by all, compliments of the Sharretts, and complete with a decorated cake exclaiming, “Happy Whale Day!” This outdoor experience was augmented by the hardworking goats from Fire Grazers, Inc. munching the nearby grasses and brush as they helped the City of Rancho Palos Verdes clear and reduce fire hazards!

Galapagos Diving

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Ms. Kathy Mallon, PHS Science Coordinator and Teacher, recently traveled to the Galapagos Islands as part of a scientific research group. Living aboard the marine research vessel Galapagos Sky, Ms. Mallon unfurled a PHS banner during one of her dives at Darwin Arch. This arch and Darwin Island bear the name of Charles Darwin who made observations about evolution during his 1835 visit to this archipelago. Ms. Mallon is a highly experienced deep sea diver, a Technical Divemaster, and a Full Cave diver. She returned from this trip with amazing photos and videos for an informative PowerPoint presentation she is creating for our PHS students.

Our Marine Animal Friends

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Our Kindergartners experienced a wonderful two-part field trip last week that brought to life their current science studies of caring for our animal friends.
At Torrance Beach, the children picked up trash that had not been properly discarded in the available containers. With the help of volunteer parent drivers, Science Teacher Ms. Nguyen, and Mrs. Burden and Mrs. Woo, the group’s next stop was the Marine Mammal Care Center at San Pedro’s Fort MacArthur. Volunteers staff this non-profit and nurse back to health sick and injured pinnipeds (fin-footed mammals).
The children learned by role-playing the typical feeding of an injured seal (actually a stuffed animal), using a feeding tube filled with “fish smoothie.” When asked if he would enjoy eating the seal’s food, one Kindergartner replied, “Oh, no! I’m a vegetarian.” They also listened for vital signs and recorded them in patients’ files.
The Center’s docents thanked the children for collecting the beach trash and explained how these items can gravely injure the marine mammals. For instance, plastic bags in the ocean are often mistaken by animals for jelly fish, a common source of food. However, the animals cannot digest the plastic and soon become sick.
These injured and abandoned mammals are brought to the Center, are treated and nurtured there for two to three months, and are then released back into the ocean.
In gratitude for the wonderful tour and demonstrations, and for all the good work that is accomplished there, Peninsula Heritage School made a small donation to this local Marine Mammal Care Center.

Awesome AstroCamp!

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

“This trip topped out at the highest level of awesomeness!” reports Fourth Grade teacher, Mrs. Kathy Gilbert, reflecting on the class’s recent three-day Outdoor Education trip to AstroCamp in the mountain town of Idyllwild, California.
From learning in the labs with AstroCamp’s outstanding instructors to hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains, each day was packed with adventure! The students viewed the planet Saturn through AstroCamp’s state-of-the-art telescopes and experienced the amazing zip line, not once, but twice!
Donning goggles, snorkels, and wet suits, the Fourth Graders created a structure under water, just as our U.S. astronauts simulate the zero-G environment of outer space in Houston’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab.
Strengthening class cohesion, building friendships, and creating lasting memories were additional bonuses of this great Peninsula Heritage student experience.

Diving the Galapagos

Friday, September 18th, 2015

PHS’s Science Teacher, Kathy Mallon, will be part of a research group going to various dive sites in the Galapagos Islands for ten days this coming February, 2016.
Ms. Mallon is a highly experienced deep sea diver, a Technical Divemaster and Full Cave diver. She loves diving in remote sites and is excited about being invited on this amazing research experience.
Lying about 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador, the remote Galapagos Islands and surrounding waters hold a huge diversity of land and marine species.
“We will be diving from a marine research vessel off the coasts of Wolf, Darwin, and North Seymour Islands,” relates Ms. Mallon. “In February, the currents are stronger, but the waters will be warm, clear, and filled with a tremendous amount of food for all the living creature.”
While specimens cannot be removed from the islands, Kathy Mallon will be taking a GoPro and an underwater camera and promises to return to PHS with a wonderful collection of photos and videos to share with our students!


Thursday, February 5th, 2015

We extend a warm welcome to our newest Science Lab teacher, Dr. Mary Wilson, DDS, who is teaching hands-on science to our current Seventh Graders in the Lab. Dr. Wilson is a graduate of the School of Dentistry of USC, and she also holds a degree in zoology. Dr. Wilson is no stranger to Peninsula Heritage School. From 1997-2006 she volunteered in our Science Department with Mrs. Kathy Mallon, and her own two children are also PHS graduates. We extend our gratitude to this remarkable woman who loves both children and science!

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