Friday, May 5, 2017

Music of the Stars

Music of the Stars?

Fourth-graders from Westshire and Samuel Morey visited the Montshire Museum just before Spring Break in order to spend some time in the Star Lab. Once inside the portable, inflatable dome, students were able to view an accurate model of the sky as it would appear that night. They spotted important constellations, like Orion and the Big Dipper, as well as planets, like Venus, Jupiter, and Mars, and the moon. We learned how to use the pointer stars of the Big Dipper to find the North Star, which is the one star in the Northern Hemisphere that remains in the same location throughout the year.

While one group was in the Star Lab, the other group was free to explore the museum's other exhibits. By far the most popular was the special exhibit called Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Futile Search for Amphibians

Futile Search for Amphibians

Third-grade students from Samuel Morey and Westshire traveled to Glen Falls in Fairlee on April 11 to search for salamanders and other amphibians, but found not a single one. The water was high and the soil temperature cold, which may have prevented the amphibians from venturing out of their winter hiding places. In addition, a side trip to O'Brien Pond in Orford had to be cancelled because the access road was too muddy for the bus. Nevertheless, the 70-degree temperature -- spring at last? -- and sunshine made it a nice day to be outside. After our unsuccessful search for amphibians and a leisurely picnic lunch, field trip coordinator Maggie Stoudnour led us on a short hike up the Rivendell Trail, not far from Glen Falls, before we returned to our schools.


Felted Mural Makers

Felted Mural Makers

The third-grade students joined other classes at Westshire in making portions of a large felted mural that will be hung at the Westshire School. Students worked on three consecutive Thursdays with felting artist-in-residence Janet Cathey to create portions of the mural. Cathey, who teaches art three days a week at the Strafford School, was brought to the Rivendell as an artist in residence thanks to funds raised by the Friends of Rivendell through the Kids Creation Sale. In the photos below, students work on and display some of their creations.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What Makes a Motor Run?

Montshire Museum teacher Mike Fenzel helped students in the third grade learn how to make small motors run by using wires and batteries. Students discovered how to make complete circuits so that the electricity would run in a circle through the battery and motor. They attached a wire to each of the two contact points on the motor and then attached one of the wires to the positive pole of the battery and the other wire to the negative pole of the battery. The students found that by reversing the wires, they could make the motor spin in the opposite direction.

Mr. Fenzel also provided motors for the students to take apart. Inside, they found and examined the small magnets and brushes that turn the motor when electrical current runs through it. Students enjoyed making circuits from different combinations and numbers of batteries, light bulbs, and wires. They also learned about and made both series and parallel circuits.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Spanish Lessons

Westshire students in grades one through four recently completed a 4-week series of half-hour Spanish lessons. The sessions were led on Tuesday afternoons by students from the Mountain School, under the direction of Comfort Halsey Leckerling. Another series of lessons will be offered at Westshire during the Mountain School's Spring Term. Pictured below are third-grade students participating in the final lesson.


Dry Ice Stimulates Fourth Graders
Montshire Museum Teacher Mike Fenzel came to Westshire on November 14 to present a captivating lesson on the properties of dry ice. The session also was the final lesson in our States of Matter Unit. After having experimented with some basic changes of state in which heat drives the changes (ice to water to gas (melting and evaporation) and then reversing the process by using ice water to show condensation (vapor to liquid) and then building mini-freezers to turn water to ice (freezing), students were confronted with a solid (dry ice) that skipped the liquid phase entirely and turned right into a gas. Students learned that this process is known as sublimation. They were fascinated by the process and enjoyed observing the various experiments.