Science

We will begin the year by delving into some Crosscutting Concepts of Structure and Function, Systems and System Models, and Energy and Matter.   

We will learn about matter using Middle School Chemistry and apply our new knowledge to understand heat transfer and the laws of thermodynamics.

Later, we will study living things, cells, and body systems.

Science Resources for Human Systems
Videos on Cells, Cellular Respiration, etc.
Basic Organelles and Function
Dr. Binoc's Trip Inside to Find the Cell
Basic Cellular Respiration
Cardiovascular and Repiratory Systems Collaborate
Oxygen's Surprisingly Complex Journey through your Body

The Circulatory System video
The Digestive System article
Photosynthesis and Respiration

Pampas Grass

COMMON NAME: Pampas Grass

ORIGIN: Argentina, South

America

Photo of Pampas Grass © 2006 Carolyn Martus

Reason for listing as invasive species:

Pampas Grass is a common weed in moist areas of southern California, and it can displace large areas of our wetlands, which are home to many threatened and endangered animal species.

Pampas Grass creates a fire hazard with excessive build-up

of dry leaves, leaf bases, and flowering stalks. In conservation areas, pampas grass competes with native vegetation, reduces the aesthetic and recreational value of these areas, and also increases the fire potential."1

"Large infestations of Pampas Grass threaten California's native coastal ecosystems by crowding out native plants.

Methods of invading natural areas: Seed dispersal by wind or animals.

COMMON NAME: Tree of Heaven

ORIGIN: Asia (China)

Photo © 2006 Carolyn MartusTree of Heaven

Reason for listing as invasive species:

This plant has ecological impacts on ecosystems, plant and animal communities, and vegetational structure. It is fairly widespread in its distribution across California, including San Diego County. "By producing abundant root sprouts, it creates thickets of considerable area, displacing native vegetation. In California, its most significant displacement of native vegetation is in riparian zones. It also produces allelopathic chemicals that may contribute to displacement of native vegetation. A high degree of shade tolerance gives Tree of Heaven a competitive edge over other plant species." "Tree of Heaven is a prolific seed producer, grows rapidly,

and can overrun native vegetation. Once established, it can quickly take over a site and form an impenetrable thicket. These trees also produce toxins that prevent the establishment of other plant species.

The root system is aggressive enough to cause damage to sewers and foundations."

Methods of invading natural areas:

By seed and vegetatively by root sprouts.

COMMON NAME: Brazilian Pepper-tree Brazilian Pepper Tree

ORIGIN: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay

This plant has ecological impacts on ecosystems, plant and animal communities, and vegetational structure. People sensitive to poison ivy, oak or sumac may also be allergic to Brazilian pepper tree because it also has the potential to cause dermatitis to those with sensitive skin. Some people have also expressed respiratory problems associated with the bloom period of pepper tree. Brazilian pepper tree produces a dense canopy that shades out all other plants and provides a very poor habitat for native species. In California, its most significant displacement of native vegetation is in riparian zones. It also produces allelopathic chemicals that may contribute to displacement of native vegetation.

Methods of invading natural areas:

Birds and mammals are the primary mechanisms for dispersal, although seeds may be transported via flowing water.

COMMON NAME: Giant Reed

Giant Reed, Arundo

ORIGIN: Europe (Photo courtesy of UCDavis.edu)

Reason for listing as invasive species:

This plant has severe ecological impacts on ecosystems, plant and animal

communities, and vegetational structure. Its reproductive biology and other attributes are conducive to moderate to high rates of dispersal and establishment. Also listed as a CDFG noxious weed. This nonnative species has escaped cultivation and established in natural areas of San Diego County.

The Giant Reed has been the most serious problem in coastal river drainages of southern California, where it sometimes occupies entire river channels from bank to bank. It displaces native plants and associated wildlife species because of the massive stands it forms. It is also believed to alter hydrological regimes and reduce groundwater availability and presents fire hazards due to the massive quantity of fuel available, often near urban areas.

Methods of invading natural areas: Spreads vegetatively either by rhizomes or fragments4

COMMON NAMES: Red Gum Eucalyptus,Red Gum Eucalyptus

River Red Gum

ORIGIN: Australia

Photo from Landscape Plants for Western Regions

Reason for listing as invasive species: This is the most widely occurring species of Eucalyptus in Australia. 1 It grows in arid and semi-arid areas and can survive along seasonal watercourses in acidic or sandy alluvial soils and colonizes natural areas with moisture. Growth and development of understory plants is inhibited by large volumes of leaf, bark, excessive shade and branch debris.

It is on the2005 Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Inventory as 'limited': this species is invasive but its ecological impacts are minor. Its reproductive biology and other attributes result in low to moderate rates of invasion. Ecological amplitude and distribution are generally limited, but this

species may be locally persistent and problematic.

Methods of invading natural areas: seed

COMMON NAMES: Blue Gum Eucalyptus Blue Gum Eucalyptus

ORIGIN: Australia

Photo by John M. Randall, The Nature

Conservancy, more photos at http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/photos.html

Reason for listing as invasive species: Historically, the Blue Gum Eucalyptus tree was planted in California commercially for timber and fuel production. Existing stands of these trees can aggressively invade neighboring plant communities if sufficient moisture is available. Growth and development of understory plants (plants beneath it) is inhibited by large volumes of leaf, bark, excessive shade and branch debris. The Blue Gum Eucalyptus tree contributes to the spread of fire because of its characteristic long, stringy bark.

COMMON NAMES:

Fennel,   Sweet Fennel,   Wild Fennel Sweet Fennel

ORIGIN: Mediterranean

region of Europe

Photo Courtesy John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, more

photos at http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/photos.html

Reason for listing as invasive species:

Fennel will invade areas where the soil has been disturbed and can exclude or prevent the establishment of native species. It grows quickly, out-competing native plants for sunlight and water.

This species has severe impacts on ecosystems, plant and animal communities, and vegetational

structure. Its reproductive biology and other attributes are conducive to moderate to high rates of dispersal and establishment. 2

Methods of invading natural areas:

Humans have dispersed this plant globally for landscaping and cultivation. Seeds are transported by water, vehicles, humans and by birds and rodents.

COMMON NAMES:

Castor Bean Castor Bean Plant

ORIGIN: Tropical Africa & Asia

Photo © 2006 Carolyn Martus

Reason for listing as invasive species:

Castor bean plants grow easily and quickly in our mild climate. One plant can produce at least 10,000 seeds. Once established in riparian areas, it can be difficult to control. It seeds within 3-6 months and quickly produces multiple generations within one year.

Seeds can also be poisonous to wildlife. It is very invasive in San

Diego County and difficult to confine to landscaped areas, and is not

recommended for landscaping anywhere.

Methods of invading natural

areas: Seed, capable of crown sprouting if cut.

COMMON NAMES:

Mexican Fan Palm Mexican Fan Palm

ORIGIN: Northwestern

Mexico

Photo © 2006 Carolyn Martus

Reason for listing as invasive

species:

The Mexican Fan Palm is extremely drought tolerant, grows quickly and produces copious amounts of seed. It is established in many canyons, wetlands and riparian areas throughout San Diego County and directly competes with native riparian trees. Once established in natural areas, it grows quickly out-competing native plants and quickly forming dense thickets of palm trees with untrimmed fronds.

Methods of invading natural areas: Humans have dispersed this plant globally for landscaping and cultivation. Seeds then travel over shorter distances from initial plantings through gravity, birds, mammals, and storm drains.


More/larger photos

water hyacinth

Eichhornia crassipes

Reputed to be the fastest-growing plant in the world! Can double in size in a week during hot weather. Forms dense mats that impede water flow. Seeds can live 15-20 years. The State of California has spent $45 million over 15 years to control water hyacinth in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

More/larger photos

giant reed

Arundo donax

A serious problem in coastal streams. Dense growth damages habitat, while creatng a fire and flood hazard. Variegated varieties are also problematic and are not recommended.


More/larger photos

Uruguayan water-primrose, creeping water-primrose

Ludwigia hexapetala, L. uruguayensis, L. peploides

Crowds out native plants and reduces water quality. Dense mats slow water movement and create habitat for mosquito larva, which can carry West Nile virus. Although there are native Ludwigia, do not collect them from the wild.

Weather Data

Websites about Heat Transfer:

Wisc-On line Heat Transfer

Geography for Kids--Heat Transfer

Physics for Kids

Three Methods of Heating

Bite-Sized Science from BBC

Conduction, Convection, and Radiation

Teacher's Domain: Heat transfer

Lowe's Home Improvement --Info on Heat Transfer

Heat Shield Solution

GCSE Physics

Preventing Heat Loss

Heat Transfer and Thermo Bluffton Edu

A system is composed of parts that interact. The Earth's system includes the atmosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the geosphere.

Using your knowledge of Greek stems, can you figure out...

  • Which one is the part that contains all living things, including plants and animals, and other organisms?
  • Which is the part that contains the planet's water, including oceans, and rivers, ice, etc.?
  • Which is the part that includes the crust, mantle, and inner and outer core?
  • Which is the part that includes the mixture of gases that surround our planet?

We will start the year learning about scientific investigation and experimentation. We will be creating and using an interactive science notebook.

Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.
As a basis for understanding this concept, and to address the content the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a. develop a hypothesis.
b. select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, stopwatches, etc.) to perform tests, collect data, and display data.
c. construct appropriate graphs from data and develop qualitative statements about the relationships between variables.
d. communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations.

The Water Cycle

Sun Water Cycle

What factors converge to create it?

Plates

Find out about Plate Tectonics. Click here.

Spaceshuttle

Visit NASA's site! See the earth from space. Find the San Andreas Fault!

Quakehouse

See the latest
information on
Earthquakes in
San Diego County!

Volcano

Interested in volcanoes?
Click here

Visit the U.S. Geological Survey Site to find out about the latest seismic activity!

Earthquake

Or try this site: Earthquakes for Kids

Rock Cycle Activities! Click here.

How are rocks formed? Click here.

What are the big ideas in Earth Science? There are five key scientific concepts that provide the foundation of our study of Earth Science:

  • The Earth is a set of closely linked systems. (See below.)
  • Our Earth's processes are powered by two sources: the Sun and the Earth's own inner heat.
  • The geology of Earth is dynamic, and has slowly changed over 4.5 billion of years.
  • There is a record of Earth's geological change and this evidence is studied by geoscientists (and 6th graders in our class!).
  • We depend upon the Earth's resources.