We just finished the month of April, which is sometimes known as Earth Month since Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22nd each year since 1970. Arbor Day is also the last Friday in April, when we are reminded to plant trees. But May is when we really start to reap the benefits of Earth’s springtime! After a relatively cold April (with a couple of warm days to tease us), May is a time we can really start to rub our winter-weary eyes and stretch our legs as we venture outside to see things come alive. May begins with a lime-green undertone to all the brown-grey branches and ends in a full explosion of leaves in our faces! Somewhere in between the tiny buds on the trees burst open to reveal the trees’ means of reproduction – their flowers. There is always a hint scientific truth to weather cliches, such as “April showers bring May flowers!” Many Native American cultures call the full moon of May “the Flower Moon”, very simply because of the obvious occurrences in nature during this time of year.
This year’s May full moon is on May 15th. As a bonus, this Flower Moon will undergo a total eclipse! An eclipse of the moon (lunar eclipse) happens when the Earth blocks the Sun’s light rays from reaching the moon. We can actually watch the shadow of the Earth cross the moon! To see this one, it will need to be a clear night on May 15th. The eclipse begins at 9:30pm that night and reaches totality (when Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon) around 11:30pm. You will know totality has occurred when the moon appears to turn a reddish hue. This is due to the Sun’s light rays refracting through Earth’s atmosphere, essentially bending around Earth’s surface to reach the moon. Let’s hope for a cloudless mid-May!
To get in the spirit of May, a fun activity is to make seed bombs. They are super easy, can become a springtime tradition, and are a fun gift! An added bonus to this Earth-friendly activity is that you can use paper scraps from a past craft activity, that would otherwise be thrown away.
You will need:
To make seed bombs:
You can make this springtime activity into an experiment. For each of the following options, see which variable makes the plants grow best. Keep track of the plant growth over time by measuring and taking observations down on a data table.
CA BOCES Advancing STEM Kits help elementary students understand our natural world. In Kindergarten, Grade 2, and Grade 5 students learn about what it takes for plants to grow, while students in Grade 1 and Grade 5 discover patterns of our moon. For more information about Advancing STEM Kits, check out our website, or contact me anytime!
Notice: The deadline is fast-approaching for an institute for teachers that are determined to implement the new science standards effectively. This is a chance to build NYSSLS-aligned assessments and integrate them into their classroom. There is an associated stipend as well as CTLE. The application process will be competitive and the deadline to apply is May 15th. Please share this opportunity with elementary teachers and secondary science teachers: Building and validating NGSS/NYSSLS Classroom Assessments
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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