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Gillispie School / Elementary  / Specialty Spotlight: Science
science spotlight

Specialty Spotlight: Science

As part of the Grade 1 social studies curriculum, students learned about national symbols and monuments.

One big question that came out of their homeroom discussion was, “Why is the Statue of Liberty green?” In science, we set out to answer that question. We talked about the oxidation process that some metals go through when exposed to certain environmental elements. One of those metals is copper, which the students excitedly shared, “That’s what the Statue of Liberty is made of!” To give the students the experience of seeing this process firsthand, we decided to make Statue of Liberty torches. First, each student used a pipe cutter (with teacher supervision) to cut a 6-inch piece of copper pipe. We then used a special spray to start the patina process on their torch handles. Next, we used the bottom of paper cups to represent the torch’s observation deck. We spray-painted those cups with copper-infused spray paint and repeated the patina process. Finally, we used tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and white glue to create the flame of the torch. The students really enjoyed seeing the transformation of both the copper pipe and the spray-painted cups and walked out of the Science-Design room holding their torches with great pride!

The national monuments theme did not stop with Science-Design. In Art, the first graders created 3D paper popups of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor with ships in the foreground. They used pens and watercolors to give life to the skyscrapers, water, sky, and boats surrounding Lady Liberty.

In Spanish, first graders talked about the national symbols and monuments of Mexico, comparing the Independence Angel to the Statue of Liberty. They also learned about the different parts of the Mexican flag.

In Music, first graders listened to The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee). Mr. Lewis spoke about the lyrics and meaning behind each song. They also discussed how each country has its own anthems and will be listening to some of them in future classes.

Chip Edwards and Brian Belsha, Science & Design Teachers

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