Killip STEM Blog

  • D.U.D.E. at the Grand Canyon with Killip Fourth Graders

    Posted by Victoria Lewis on 5/20/2022

    On April 20th, 4th graders at Killip Elementary had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon. For some students, this was the first time that they were able to get a good look at Arizona’s famous hole in the ground! STEM lessons from the previous month finally came to fruition when they were able to observe first hand the many layers and iconic geology of the landscape. Our wonderful park rangers talked and guided us through D.U.D.E (Deposition, Uplift, Downcutting, Erosion) as we were taking a walk along the rim. I was so pleasantly surprised to hear students use vocabulary that we used throughout the year, using terms such as sedimentary or metamorphic, or describing various types of Earth processes and depositional environments. They participated in several activities that included modeling erosion in a forest ditch, identifying several rocks from each layer of the canyon, and discovering fossils from within each layer. As a graduate with a degree in geology myself, my heart was full of pride in what each student brought forward on the field trip. Witnessing students bring forward and apply knowledge that you were speaking about in the classroom is a moment that I will never forget- maybe not as unforgettable as their first looks at the canyon, but memorable nonetheless!

    view of the grand canyon fourth graders at the grand canyon another view of the grand canyon

    students walking the path of time at the grand canyonlearning and recording information at the grand canyonrock and soil exploration

    learning from the grand canyon park rangers

    student examining rocks students exploring rocks at the grand canyon

    more rock and soil explorations killip fourth grade and park ranger talking

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  • Another week, another STEM adventure!

    Posted by Victoria Lewis on 4/1/2022

    This week in the after-school club we created our own crystals. That’s right… Crystals! By mixing together a few simple household ingredients and adding a touch of color, we were able to create both large and small salt crystals in our very own refrigerator! I asked our second graders to recall what they had learned earlier in the year about mixtures and solutions, and they did so with ease. They were able to inform each of us that, since the salt dissolves in the water, it was actually a solution, and not just a mixture. What an awesome moment! We left our solutions in the fridge overnight and will reveal the crystals to the students next Tuesday, but for now here’s a sneak peak into what a few of them look like!

    colorful crystals starting to grow in a plastic tray   close up of colorful crystals starting to grow in a plastic tray


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  • Creating Anemometers

    Posted by Sheryl Wells on 3/24/2022

    Third graders are learning about weather and climate. This week in the lab, students created anemometers. Next week, they will work with Cassandra Roberts from WillowBend to calculate wind speed using their anemometers. 

    If you would like to create an anemometer at home, here is a link to the video we used to help students with directions for building their own. 

    two students working together to create an anemometer  two students working together to create an anemometer

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  • Shelters from the Sun

    Posted by Sheryl Wells on 3/23/2022

    This week, kindergarten students are working on creating shelters to protect creatures from the heat of the sun. Before spring break, the kindergartners tested different earth materials under a heat lamp to see and feel the effects of the sun. Next week, the students will test out their shelters and make any engineering improvements needed. 

    students smile and work together to create a shelter from the sun  students use teamwork to create a shelter for animals the created from clay

     students work together to create a shelter  students smile with pride about the shelter they are building together.

    students use earth materials and toilet paper tubes to create a shelter  shelter created by a group of kindergartners to keep creatures safe from the hot sun

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  • This week in STEM Club: 3/21-3/25

    Posted by Victoria Lewis on 3/23/2022

    This quarter, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders will get a chance to run the show in the afterschool STEM club! Tuesday, things got groovy when we made lava lamps out of water, oil, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer tablets!

    While making our super cool lava lamps, we discussed why they work.
    ● Oil floats on top of the water because it isn’t as dense as water.
    ● Water also doesn’t like oil (it’s hydrophobic), so it will always stay separate even if we mix it with a spoon.
    ● Oil is also more viscous (thicker) than water, so that’s why it pours so much slower in comparison.
    ● The Alka seltzer tablets dissolve and create a gas (the bubbles) which is how we get our neat-o balls of lava.

    We will continue to learn about density as we make density jars this Thursday and experiment with suspending different objects in each layer. It is always an adventure with these scientists, and I can’t wait to see what observations they will continue to make!

    students listening to the next direction in order to create their own lava lamps
    Students followed the steps to create their lava lamps and observed the changes.

    student noticing a change in smell, and wrinkled up her nose,  when the Alka Seltzer tablet was added
    Some students noticed a change in the smell of their lava lamp once they added the Alka Seltzer.


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  • Third Graders Move Cars with Magnetic Forces

    Posted by Sheryl Wells on 3/10/2022

    As part of the third graders' student of forces and motion, they experimented with creating cars that were moved without students touching them. Students worked together to create unique car designs using their knowledge of magnetic fields. When they held magnets with two south poles (or two north poles) near each other, their cars moved forward. When they placed magnets with a south and a north pole near each other, the car moved toward them and the magnets stuck together.

    Students used the engineering design process and made improvements along the way. It was wonderful to hear them share their designs and understandings of magnetic fields and forces with each other.

    two third graders work on creating a Lego car that moves using magnetic forces students discuss the design of their car students discuss their design and try it out for the first time

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  • Red Cross Pillowcase Project

    Posted by Sheryl Wells on 2/19/2022

    A big thank you to Emma, Jermaine, and Mel from the Red Cross for coming in to share the Pillowcase Project with our fourth graders. Our fourth graders impressed the guests with their knowledge of natural disasters and preparedness. Each student was given a booklet and a pillowcase to take home. These items will assist the students in discussing evacuation plans with their families.

    You can go to to learn more about the importance of having a smoke detector and to get information regarding free installation from the Red Cross.

    To learn more about the presentation, ask a Killip fourth grader. : )

    Our local Red Cross office number is 928-779-5494.

    fourth graders talking with members of the Red Cross students looking at maps of the most common natural disasters in the US students working on their "go bag" pillowcases

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  • Construction Community Helpers

    Posted by Sheryl Wells on 2/18/2022

    Last week we concluded our community helper unit with our kindergarten students with the help of CORE Construction. Thank you to Bennett and David who came to talk and share information about the new school with the kindergarten students. Students were able to see and touch samples of tiles, floors, carpet, wallpaper, and more that will be in their new school. Our kindergartners will be first grade when we move into the building for the 2022-2023 school year.

    CORE Construction Worker sharing with kindergartners  CORE Construction worker sharing materials with kindergartners

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  • Marble Runs Part 2

    Posted by Victoria Lewis on 2/18/2022

    This week in STEM club, we upgraded our marble courses from cardboard to wood and plastic. Gone are the glue sticks and scissors. Here now are legos, glow in the dark marble runs, and wood blocks. Students were asked to create another run , but now with new materials. Unsurprisingly, they conquered these new challenges with finesse. Wooden blocks became stairs, legos turned into foundations for high-rises, and plastic tubes became tunnels for unsuspecting marbles to roll through. Compared to last week, our student architects and engineers were able to develop more sophisticated and efficient designs with marbles flying towards the finish line in record time! The new Killip construction crew better lookout. We’ve got some great builders coming up!

    students creating marble runs with plastic tracks and Legos Student demonstrating how her wooden block marble run works

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  • A-maze-ing Work in STEM

    Posted by Victoria Lewis on 2/8/2022

    Since the start of Quarter 3, students in the STEM Exploration Club at Killip have been bringing their curiosity and enthusiasm to the lab table. Last week, they were tasked with creating a maze and/or an obstacle course for a marble- not a hamster as much as some students wished. With little direction and a LOT of glue, they set out on their marble maze mission. The varying designs and ideas did not disappoint. Each student had a separate vision, with some incorporating their surroundings such as the lab tables or counter edges, and others using only the provided materials. Every design was as unique as the next. The sound of ripping cardboard, marbles rolling every which way on the hard floor, and giggles were assurance that they were enjoying the freedom to create and explore, which is truly the heart of STEM. I look forward to seeing their creativity shine this week as we continue our after-school adventures together.

     younger student creating a maze with cups and craft sticks student with marble run created with toilet paper tubes, cardboard, and craft sticks student smiling with completed maze
    longer marble maze that stretches across a whole table unique marble maze with horizontal and vertical pieces student getting started and exploring with glue to secure vertical sections of a maze

    What to look forward to this week:

    Designing and following our own treasure maps, revealing mystery ink

    Creating our own sun catchers

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