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St. James Academy students working on science experiments.Learning is a lot of fun in my class. I am always trying to create new opportunities for the students to engage in their interests and learn more about the world! The Seventh Grade Earth Science class is currently studying the Earth’s atmosphere. This week, the students participated in a lab experiment that exposed two different materials to equal amounts of radiant light. Using 200ml of sand to represent the land and an equal volume of water to represent the ocean, students heated the two containers with a light bulb. Every minute they measured the temperature of each breaker and graphed the results. After fifteen minutes, the students shut off the light and measured how quickly each beaker lost heat.

St. James Academy students participating in a lab assignments.At the conclusion of the lab the students were able to show that under similar conditions, sand and water respond differently.  The “land” gained and loss temperature rapidly compared to the “ocean” which remained relatively unchanged.  This should come as no surprise to anybody who has been to the beach.  A quick trip across the sand at noon can be a painful experience!

As we progress further into this topic we will also explore the concepts of air pressure by making our own barometers, and we will investigate the physical properties of certain gasses such as CO2 and O3 to see what impact they may have on the atmosphere. Stop by if you’re up for the challenge and join our class!