Welcome to Wade Thomas STEAM + Science Fridays program!
The Science Fridays of 2018-2019 school year is offered to all students during lunch recess. K-2nd grades stop by at noon-12:25pm and 3rd-5th grades at 12:45-1:10pm. (Schedule adjusts during rainy days.)
The year-long program, run by WTPA Science Committee volunteers, offers students hands-on science experiments to ignite children’s curiosity and inquiry about the world around us. Folding STEAM into the daily life of the elementary school, volunteers set up tables during recess for 25 minutes every Friday with a robot, a supply of magnifying glass or plants or a fizzy volcano—and the students come over to explore, learn, share and ask questions.
Download the flyer with dates and topics throughout the school year.
If you have any questions or would like to help the STEAM team in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Consider volunteering during Science Fridays. Send us an email if you can make it. No experience necessary; check in the office when you arrive.
Looking forward to an amazing school year!
SCIENCE FRIDAY POSTS: Here’s what’s happening at Science Fridays.
May 31, 2019
This Friday concluded the year of 2018-2019 lunchtime science at Wade Thomas Elementary School.
We invited Brian Kaplan, science teacher and founder of Mobile Maker Club, to share his incredible collection of maker projects. The truck was parked in the middle of the playground, and the minute the...Read More »
May 24, 2019
We’ve noticed the fascination in the students’ eyes when looking at the Newton’s cradle in motion. So we brought back the toy and let everyone have a chance to play. We also encouraged building a long line of Keva blocks on the floor to create a chain reaction...Read More »
May 17, 2019
What’s a better way to wrap up a week than to make a stop-motion animation using with Stop Motion Studio app? But before we worked creatively in teams on the script and play dough characters, we talked about the way our eyes perceive frame-by-frame movies. We made a...Read More »
May 3, 2019
With so much unusual rain, we focused on the properties of water this week.
Aside from free play using spray bottles, pipettes, beakers, and a small pool filled with water, we did some specific experiments such as: using pipettes to measure water droplets in a beaker, breaking water tension...Read More »
April 26, 2019
This Monday was Earth Day, so we celebrated the belated holiday by learning about the structure of our planet. Using colored play dough, students constructed the Earth: inner and outer core, inner (mesosphere, asthenosphere) and outer (lithosphere) mantle, and continental and oceanic crust (lithosphere). Then we looked at...Read More »
April 19, 2019
This Friday we looked at various maps, reviewed cardinal directions, talked about the Earth’s magnetic field, learned how to use a compass, and played with magnets.
We marked four directions around a center of a circle on the floor (using tape), and played this game: one student at a...Read More »
April 18, 2019
Who can resist colorful plastic blocks and the endless building possibilities they present? Today we had a visitor from the original Play-Well Marin activity center (founded in 1997) right her in San Anselmo, the first of what became a national phenomenon. Kids were instructed to build with LEGO®, and, at...Read More »
April 5, 2019
It’s springtime, and time to think of what to grow in the garden. On this Friday, kids came by the Science Fridays area to play in the dirt and plant some seeds. We are looking forward to hearing students’ stories of watching new shoots appear!
Visit: Marin Arts and...Read More »
March 29, 2019
We gave an introduction to the periodic table of elements by showing the everyday stuff (water, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, sugar, vinegar, baking soda), and its molecular composition and talked about how the same building blocks (Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, etc.) can make up different substances. We discussed how...Read More »
March 22, 2019
Students had fun playing with the classic Newton’s Cradle, making paper spinners (cardboard paper circle + toothpick), creating paper rollercoasters (paper + tape), hula hooping, and reading science books. Many shared their knowledge of forces of acceleration and gravity. It was fun giving physics names to the everyday...Read More »
March 15, 2019
Students were given open-ended play materials—paper and scissors, cardboard and tape—and were tasked to create houses, furniture, roads, or anything they liked. The design process “ideate/build/test/revise/share” came naturally through the exercise.
Older students collaborated to build a cardboard chair able to withhold the weight of one person. With humor,...Read More »
March 8, 2019
Students could choose three different activities to study light absorption, reflection and refraction.
We lowered the lights and turned on a lamp directed at a cardboard box with tracing paper. Kids could either play with pre-cut shapes or make their own shadow puppets (black construction paper, scissors, tape and...Read More »
March 1, 2019
Touch, sight, smell and hearing were the four human senses we focused on today, before heading out to use the fifth—taste—during lunch. Touch experiment: guessing a round object in a box (orange, apple, tennis ball, etc.) while blindfolded. Sight experiment: optical illusions. Smell experiment: creating a custom perfume...Read More »
February 15, 2019
A stack of printer paper and some tape was all kids needed to turn this week’s 25 minutes of lunch recess into flight experiment lab. Younger students focused on learning how to fold paper while the older kids tested their unique designs to attempt a flight across the...Read More »
February 1, 2019
Playing detectives, during this lunch science time students collected evidence—took fingerprints, looked at hair through microscope, and measured footprints with rulers—to dismiss themselves as suspects in “Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?” crime scene.
Also: App Essential Skeleton for learning basic anatomy (bones)....Read More »
January 25, 2019
With a few boxes of spaghetti, plastic ties donated by the local grocery store, rubber bands, paper tape, and clumps of clay, students embarked on a 25 minute challenge to build spaghetti bridges. We looked at different types of bridges, explored variables such as shape and materials increasing...Read More »
January 18, 2019
During lunch Math Lab, students solved magic squares, learned how to draw circles with drafting compass, built triangles using toothpicks, learned about fractals and solved tangram challenges....Read More »
January 11, 2019
The first Science Fridays of the year started off with exploration of the night sky. Students built beautiful constellation art and telescopes. We are lucky to live in a town where we can see bright stars at night. Maybe there is a future astronomer or astronaut amidst us....Read More »
December 21, 2018
This final winter lab of the year 2018, students enjoyed exploring three states of matter of water. They had fun building ice igloos with ice cubes and salt. Kids made snowflake paper craft noticing the 6 part radial symmetry of the snowflake. They also talked about temperature...Read More »
Kids also played with sets of Snap Circuits.
Make: Your own light-up...Read More »
December 7, 2018
We celebrated the week of Hour of Code by introducing the fundamentals of code to our elementary school students. Kids broke down the path of a “mouse” through a “maze” (10×10 taped squares on the carpet) into steps (“forward”, “turn left”, etc.) using prepared code cards and adding...Read More »
November 28, 2018
The annual Wade Thomas science night, STEAMFest, delighted families with science-themed hands-on activities brought by the Wade Thomas Parent Association STEAM Team and by our local vendors: MVCode Club, TinkerTech and Play-Well TEK.
Thank you to all the amazing parents who made this event possible.
Image by...Read More »
November 9, 2018
This Friday we collected data on the students’ birthday months and determined corresponding birthstones. Students could then study gems and minerals available for viewing in our lab, followed by a step-by-step process of identifying their own rock (including weighting, measuring length, checking for magnetism, doing a streak and...Read More »
November 2, 2018
Today our young paleontologists dug through dirt and sand for toy dinosaurs, cleaned and dried them, measured their length, classified their features (bipedal or quadrupedal, herbivore or omnivore) and identified their name by comparing to the index of dinosaurs. Outside, students compared the length of their own steps...Read More »
October 26, 2018
We hit record attendance for the Slime Lab this week! Students had a blast learning about chemical reactions and the periodic table of elements. Kids played with baking soda and pipettes full of colored vinegar, creating fizzing reactions. They looked at the chemical formula for the reaction and...Read More »
October 19, 2018
One of our favorite labs, a plants lab, took place this Friday. Students looked at the “museum of plant uses”—a long table showcasing examples of plant use by humans: vegetables, fruit, juices, wooden toys, spices, cotton fabric, chocolate, perfume, etc. Students could then study the leaves and stems...Read More »
October 12, 2018
Today students looked at different insects—mosquitoes, bumble bees, butterflies, flies—under a digital microscope, pointing out structure and textures. They used magnifying glasses to study preserved butterflies and discussed the Monarch butterflies’ migration to and through California about this time of the year.
Adding the art component to the lab,...Read More »
October 5, 2018
What is friction? Jump in place and land, use a screwdriver, slice an apple, tie a knot—the force of friction is applied. Do different surfaces cause varying friction? Students explored this phenomenon by racing toy cars down ramps covered with cloth, bubble wrap, paper, cardboard and foam. How...Read More »
September 28, 2018
Our fun gravity lab offered students an assortment of activities with a chance to observe the law of gravity. Students designed vertical marble maze runs using paper towel rolls, tape and scissors. Students launched stomp rockets and observed the trajectory variation of a falling object launched at different...Read More »
September 21, 2018
Today we will play with objects floating or sinking in water and talk about density, properties of matter, and Archimedes. Stay tuned!
Read: A wonderful book A Drop of Water by Walter Wick.
Thank you to all the parents who volunteer their...Read More »
September 14, 2018
Today kids had a blast making all sorts of bubbles while learning about surface tension and pressure.
Students made their own bubble wands out of craft pipe cleaners and straws and ran outside to the kiddie pool filled with bubble solution to test them. There, one at a time,...Read More »
June 1, 2018
Today during lunch students decorated a cardboard robot with CDs, air duct tubes, colored paper, foil and markers.
Kids took turns “programming” each other by placing code cards such as “Move Forward”, “Dance”, “Turn Left”, “Turn Right”, in a row. They used pre-programmed cards with a real robot
May 25, 2018
We brought back the popular electricity unit this Friday. SnapCircuits Jr. kits were available to all who wanted to safely learn about electronics and using electrical energy to turn on lights or power up speakers and fans.
Students learned how to use a digital multimeter to sort good...Read More »
May 18, 2018
Once the word got out on the playground that we had balloons in the Science Room, our classroom filled with a record number of eager students. Kids charged the balloon surface by rubbing it on their hair, and tested if thereafter their balloons stuck to other surfaces. We...Read More »
May 11, 2018
We put on an engineer’s hat again this week to think about how our buildings are constructed and how the forces are distributed within the houses. Students used lots of uncooked spaghetti and paper masking tape to create various “dwellings” of many shapes and sizes. Some students thought...Read More »
May 4, 2018
Our little engineers tackled the next engineering challenge: to build a toy car. From putting together cardboard wheels, attaching them to the bbq sticks and straws, to designing the look and feel of the car using recyclable materials, students engaged in the creative process of iterating prototypes and...Read More »
April 27, 2018
Building bridges to cross gorges or rushing rivers has been part of human endeavor for ages. Our students put on their engineering and designer hats today to built their own bridges across two desks with the following materials: rolled newspaper, sticky tape, colored paper, cardboard and popsicle sticks....Read More »
April 20, 2018
Our special guest Ian from Play-Well Technologies brought his amazing curriculum and thousands of Legos to the science room today. Students collaborated in groups and worked on individual structures to make one big Lego city.
Here are some examples of their work. Well done, team!
...Read More »
March 30, 2018
We continued to explore the human senses by studying hearing and seeing. Students looked at diagrams of the structure of our ears, discussed the physics of sound, played drums and piano with varying volume (amplitude of the sound wave), determined the pitch (frequency of the sound wave) of...Read More »
March 16, 2018
Time to introduce neuroscience to our students! How does our brain process the constant information that our senses of touch, smell and taste send? How do we use our sense of touch to guess an object without seeing it? Kids closed their eyes and tried to pull an...Read More »
March 9, 2018
This week we looked at the animal kingdom and the intricate network of sources of food. Students wrote down their favorite animals from A to Z. We connected picture cards of animal within the same ecosystem via predator-prey network, noting the effect of change in population of one...Read More »
March 2, 2018
After reviewing the definition of an invertebrate (animals without backbones) and insects (6 jointed legs, compound eyes, body with three sections–head, thorax, and abdomen, antennae and, usually, wings), kids looked at live caterpillars, studied butterfly specimens with a magnifying glass, watched ant behavior in an enclosed ant farm...Read More »
February 9, 2018
Room 16 came alive with plants during this Science Fridays. Students studied displays of examples of plant use by humans: perfume, grains, juices, teas, spices, oil, cork, fuel, wooden toys, furniture, and cotton. Students then studied parts of a plant—roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds—using a digital microscope....Read More »
February 2, 2018
As we learn more about life and living organisms, we look into a complex interconnected dependence within an ecosystem. A life on the beach shore is a good example. Students happily recalled family trips to the beach and the flora and fauna they encountered. Everyone collaborated on a...Read More »
January 26, 2018
This Friday we talked about the life forms which lived on Earth a long time ago and how we know about them. Students put their paleontologist hats on and dug “fossil” eggs for toy dinosaurs. They also closely analyzed the fossil collection from the Wade Thomas science lab.
January 19, 2018
We have switched our lab’s focus to life sciences. We will continue to introduce fundamentals of biology and the study’s fields in the next couple of months. This Friday students learned about DNA. They made a paper model of the double helix as well as an attempt to...Read More »
December 15, 2017
Before heading out to celebrate winter holidays, we got a bit messy in our science lab during the general introduction to chemistry. First, some safety rules: it is essential to never touch or smell an unknown substance. To demonstrate the importance of this rule, we showed four vials...Read More »
December 8, 2017
This Friday we played with magnets and explored the invisible force of a magnetic field. Students tested various materials’ response to magnets, sorting out those that can be picked up with a strong magnet and those that cannot. With magnets, students realized, they can control the movement of...Read More »
December 1, 2017
All children had a chance to hold various rocks and minerals we are lucky to own at our school. From an amethyst to volcanic rock, lunchtime science visitors enjoyed our “museum” of rock collections.
November 17, 2017
This week we taught erosion and the formation of caves, canyons and other landscape features created by water and wind.
October 27, 2017
The best way to teach about Earth’s layers during recess? Bring out the colored play dough! We had a very large group of students this week, and they all diligently built a miniature Earth: a rock in the center to represent the inner core, a yellow play...Read More »
October 20, 2017
The events due to dry weather/lack of precipitation caused schools to cancel last Friday, but we are back this week with more exciting science experiments.
October 6, 2017
Ahoy! Coming down from space through exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere, we land on earth and… which way is the wind blowing?
Today students put on their engineering hats to design toy sailboats and test the best way to capture the power of moving air. Materials used for...Read More »
September 29, 2017
We are on a roll in the Friday Science Lab! Every elementary school child needs to know the names of the planets in our Solar System, right? We are here to help! Students discussed the eight planets–and had to be reminded that the Sun is a star—and chose...Read More »
September 22, 2017
Did your family have a chance to see the total solar eclipse this year? We focused this week’s science experiments on the light, heat and energy we receive from the Sun. We also created a scaled version of totality with a desk globe and a flash light. Our...Read More »
September 15, 2017
To the stars! This week our students learned about major stars and constellations, and then proceeded to create their own: a tube for viewing and constellation cards with punched holes. They can make their own at home following these instructions found online.
We also taught how humans have...Read More »
September 8, 2017
We start the year with one of the most exciting aspects of living in the 21st century—space travel. We talked about the timeline of space research, astronaut training, building and flying rockets, and our physical location in the universe. Science Fridays are during play time—so we set up lots of...Read More »
June 9, 2017
Approaching the end of the school year, we put on our party hats and brought the best experiments from the year’s worth of Science Fridays. There were: stomp rockets, Zoomy digital microscope, MakeyMakey piano, Keva blocks, BlueOrange games, household items for chemical solutions (baking soda, vinegar, food coloring)...Read More »
June 2, 2017
In this Friday lab session we discussed the importance of our senses, primarily, the senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing and vision. For sense of touch experiment, we filled a box with similarly sized round objects: an orange, a tennis ball, a stress ball, a lemon, an apple,...Read More »
May 26, 2017
As the long weeks of state testing came to a close, we chose to provide lots of opportunities for the children to move during the lunchtime science session. First, we had the students propose a hypothesis about a correlation between the height of a jump and the student’s...Read More »
May 19, 2017
We were thrilled to have the San Anselmo firefighters visit our Science Fridays this week! The men explained what they do in medical emergencies, demonstrated their first aid kits, tools and procedures and answered many questions. Students had a chance to play with Zoomy microscope and The...Read More »
May 11, 2017
What’s a better way to start an anatomy unit than to bring a life-size skeleton into the classroom? The elementary school students discussed the names of the bones and their placement and importance, learned the muscle group names and ways to stay strong, and looked at their skin...Read More »
May 5, 2017
To deepen the knowledge about our Earth, we continued with an exploration of geology. Our volunteer presented continent-shaped paper cutouts floating in a bucket of water to explain the continental drift. The students were asked to recite the names of the continents. They studied stones and gems with...Read More »
April 28, 2017
We wrapped up the incredible Wade Thomas International Week by talking about geography. We had a table covered with library books about the world explorers and their adventures, world maps, continents and countries. As we discussed the countries our students learned about during the previous week, we looked...Read More »
April 21, 2017
This week we switch gears to talk about our solar system and what lies beyond. We started from afar, and zoomed in toward the Earth. First, the stars. How did Moana navigate with her open hand? She measured the angle between the stars in the nigh sky....Read More »
March 31, 2017
As our new school garden has begun to take shape—how exciting!—we turned our classroom into a lunchtime botanical laboratory. We had five different fun stations. As the children entered the room, they saw a large table filled with various plants we’ve collected. The children studied parts of a...Read More »
March 24, 2017
We have a box of Keva blocks at every science session, and this time, it was the highlight of the planned activities. Build a tower that is leaning, we asked the kids, as tall as you can. At which point does it collapse? Where was its base of...Read More »
March 11, 2017
The chemistry unit fell on St. Patrick’s Day, and, boy, did we use a lot of green food dye! Making a mess (and cleaning up afterwards) is part of hands-on chemistry activities. We had lots of towels handy and let the children have fun. We began with an...Read More »
March 9, 2017
The Wade Thomas STEAM Team held a first annual Maker Night this week! This very special evening event brought together Cyber Garage, Play-Well, WPTA, volunteers and many families to Wade Thomas Elementary School. Among the amazing free activities for the attending children were: stop-motion animation, robot...Read More »
March 3, 2017
Switching to the field of physics, we got the kids talking about Isaac Newton this week. We had three stations labeled “Gravity”, “Newton’s Laws” and “Momentum”. At the first station, children played with a make-shift pendulum (tennis ball on a string), launched stomp rockets, and tried juggling. At...Read More »
February 17, 2017
“Why do magnets push each other apart?” This and many other great questions were overheard during the Magnets science hour this week. The children played with variety of magnets of different sizes, shapes and strength. They magnetized metal paperclips and watched how the magnetized objects moved the compass...Read More »
February 10, 2017
The room’s atmosphere was charged with excitement during this February Science Fridays hour. We talked about sources of electricity, showed how to measure battery’s charge with voltmeter, explained how electricity produced a magnetic field, and tested which materials conduct electricity. Next, children built circuits with the the game...Read More »
February 3, 2017
We were very lucky to have Justin Smith from Play-Well come to Wade Thomas during our regular Science Fridays hour and bring a myriad of colorful Legos for the children to play with. Kids worked together in groups to build a Lego city with skyscrapers, towers, bridges and...Read More »
January 27, 2017
How does one create a sequence of commands—or code—a robot? We made it easy to understand in a simple and fun activity “Make a Robot Dance”. Children put prepared instruction cards in order of their liking—“Raise Arm”,”Jump”, “Nod Head”, “Bow”, etc.—and one child “robot”, in cool square glasses,...Read More »
January 20, 2017
As we taught in December, the process of design involves prototyping. In this Wade Thomas’ Science Friday we brought out our creative thinkers’ hats. As with all of our Science Fridays, we brought in many books on the subject of the week—this time, ornithology. Build a birdhouse, we...Read More »
January 13, 2017
Happy New Year! We begin our Wade Thomas science hour with a nod to the winter. First, before we delved into states of matter, kids learned about investigating properties of an object. They measured the weight and length and width of an ice cube using a scale and...Read More »
December 16, 2016
Today Wade Thomas students learned about engineering! At first, we mentioned the process of design: identifying the problem, researching possible solutions, picking the best and building the prototype, testing the prototype and repeating the steps to improve the design. Then we introduced two hands-on stations: building bridges and...Read More »
December 9, 2016
This week we introduced six types of simple machines—machines that make work easer: lever, inclined plane, pulley, wedge, wheel&axel and screw. Everyone had a great time in this hands-on workshop. At the lever station, students built first-, second- and third-class levers out of a ruler and a book...Read More »
December 2, 2016
We started our Friday science hour with a conversation about sources of light: the sun, flashlights, fire, candles, electric light. We provided various materials to shine a flashlight at to see how light travels through transparent, opaque or translucent objects. Using a magnifying glass, we bent the light...Read More »
November 18, 2016
The theme of the fourth Science Friday was “Water”. We talked about the water molecule and hydrogen and oxygen atoms. As an introduction to the concept of buoyancy, students tested how various objects float or sink in water. Then the students moved on to surface tension experiments: they...Read More »
November 4, 2016
Our third Science Friday focused on the air around us and the music it makes. Kids used Keva blocks to understand how moving molecules affect each other. Students built paper airplanes to explore Bernoulli’s principle and aerodynamics. They also talked through paper & string telephone to learn how...Read More »
October 21, 2016
Our second Science Friday lab was a bit quieter as the children were very focused on the tasks measuring their right- or left- handedness. They caught a beach ball, looked at objects with each eye, kicked a ball into a soccer goal, jumped, wrote their name and cut...Read More »
October 7, 2016
We kicked off our first 2016-2017 Wade Thomas Science Fridays with a topic on Static Electricity. Imagine thirty children in a classroom, each holding a colorful balloon and each having hair going straight up! It was a sight not to be missed. The children learned which materials create...Read More »