Science Week at UT Elementary

Blog Overview

The last week of January at UT Elementary was a time for celebration, learning, and showcases. On Thursday, January 25th, students in grades 2 – 5 were judged on their science fair projects they had been working on since early December. That evening, families joined on campus for Science Night full of hands on STEAM activities for all ages. Then, on Friday morning, we had visitors from all over Austin on campus highlighting how STEAM skills are crucial in their day to day job responsibilities. Students as well as adults were inspired to discuss and learn science applications in so many ways. This week was very special to the UTES science team and the development of STEAM culture and classroom norms. I am very proud to be a part of coordinating events regarding Science Week as is pertains to all aspects STEAM education. Working with students, parents, and teachers has been a blessing and truly emphases how and why our UTES campus sets the bar for science learning, community building, and goal setting in the STEAM community. Lastly, on Saturday, February 24th, UTES science fair qualifiers competed in The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival.


2018 Science Fair

Students in 2nd grade worked in teams at school to complete their very first science projects. They completed inquiry projects to discover how various colors affect plant growth as well as human taste. They also investigated water erosion with m&m’s. All in all, students were very excited to learn from data and develop trends. They then showcased their projects during family science night.



Students in 3rd grade focused on investigating forces for their science fair projects. As this was 3rd grade’s first opportunity to participate in the judging process, they also worked in teams at school to develop and refine their skills in speaking to judges as well as understanding data trends over time. Their projects emphasized magnetism, friction, and gravity.

A few questions they explored included:

  1. Does the size of a pendulum affect how long it will swing? (Gravity)
  2. Does the surface of a ramp affect how far a marble will roll? (Friction)
  3. Does the size of a magnet affect how strong it will be? (Magnetism)


Some students in 3rd grade also elected to complete individual home projects in addition to their team projects. Wow guys, way to extend your learning and challenge yourselves! Check out these two projects: one about avocado oxidation and the other about fruit voltage. What amazing things we can learn from fruit!



4th and 5th grade students worked at home to complete their science fair projects. We had a number of various themes including Alternative Energy, Electricity, Water Conservation, Slime Making, Reflexes and more. Students worked incredibly hard together to bring some new and fun ideas to the table. It was wonderful to see our judges interacting and challenging our students. It was also inspiring to hear so many positive thoughts from our judges regarding the higher order critical thinking skills evident in our UTES science learners and their ability to communicate their findings in a professional and efficient way.

These two precious 5th graders discovered that when making slime, clear glue is best. Their clear glue slime stretched up to 4 times longer than it’s white and colored counter parts. WOW.



Check out this 4th grader who built wind turbines out of different sized Popsicle sticks. If this doesn’t scream “future climate engineer”, I’m not sure what does. Our judge, Mr. Scott Gray, who works in solar energy and solar panel development, was especially impressed by this project. #liferesouceconnectionYEAH!


These 5th grade scientists decided to see which cup insulated beverages more efficiently. No surprise here: GO YETI! Great job girls!


A big Congrats to all of our Austin Energy Regional Science Fair qualifiers. The AERS is a great family friendly showcase of hundreds of projects ranging in level from elementary all the way to high school– All in the Austin area. It’s open to the public and a great time to celebrate awarded projects and get ideas for future years. There are wonderful science resources, networking opportunities, and access to great careers. A perfect day for all lovers of science!

2018 Family Science Night

The evening following science fair, families gathered to celebrate winners as well as enjoy a wide range of hands on activities. Families were able to take home supplemental learning materials made by teachers to extend their learning at home.

Classroom Activities

4th and 5th grade: Rockin’ Rockets

Mr. Clark and Mr. Hall teamed up to provide engaging activities on energy transformations. Mr. Clark set up a music station complete with amplifiers, electric guitars, and drums. Students were able to see electricity transforming before their eyes as well as connect vibrations to sound. Mr. Hall set up a powerful rocket station outside in the green space. This very exciting activity allowed students to experience the power of air pressure, potential enegy and mechanics as they set off their rockets. To build on these great ideas, check out pinterest energy transformation ideas for great home explorations.

Great job guys! I want to jam out a Lil’ Longorn music video with blasting rockets as our back up dancers!




3rd grade: Crazy Circuits! 

Mrs. Wakim provided a number of activities for students to explore electricity including testing conductors and insulators, building parallel and series circuits and electromagnets. Check out this perfect starter site to build circuits at home! Circuits are unbelievably fun for kids because of their “magic qualities”. I mean, who doesn’t love connecting a power source to a conductor, then completing the circuit with a switch and load converter and allowing the electrons to travel to create energy transformations! Sounds complicated? NO! Electricity can be transformed to movement, sound, heat, and light! AH, did you know that all light creates heat but not the other way around? Did you know that anywhere there is electricity there is also magnetism but not the other way around??? #utesmindblowingSTEAM

Great job Mrs. Wakim. You have electrified science in a magnetically energetic way. 🙂



2nd grade: Milk on the Mooove and Ocean in a Bottle

What a campus hit! 2nd grade teachers, Mrs. Oakes and Mrs. Manglesdorf featured 2 activities. One, an amazing chemical reaction with milk, soap, and food coloring proved to be a favorite on campus. This fun reaction allowed students to explore reactants with very simple home ingredients. Click here to view videos of milk on the moove and implementation at home.

Milk on the MOOOVE!

Another activity in 2nd grade, ocean in a bottle, allowed students to experience basic density concepts with layering liquids. I love activities with varying liquids (and solids) densities because it allows students to critique and challenge traditional molecular models of solids, liquids, and gasses by looking at the “compactness” of particles in their given state, then comparing to other states of matter of the same volume.

Thanks 2nd grade, you have ignited wonderful science thinking and exploring!



1st grade: OZOBOTS

OMG. I love Ozobots. These little hand held treasures make coding and programming a dream for ALL elementary aged students and beyond. For younger learners, students are able to draw color codes or place stickers on pre-made maps. Oder students are able to use computers to write original code programs, learn games and apps, and load multiple bots at a time to write radical in unison dances and complete complex brain teasing puzzles and challenges. Visit the OZObots site to learn more and purchase one for at home! Thank you first grade for providing a sneak peak into our new STEAM robotics campus programming. Students are raving about this new addition to our new campus science resources. Thank you to Google Fiber Austin for taking our Robotics learning to the next level by providing EVO bots to our upper level learners!




Kindergarten: Great Geodes 

Observing and inferring from rocks continues to be a favorite among students at UTES, and all children alike. There is something about the rocks that will always remain mysterious and intriguing for kids; whether it be your pet rock, a cherished token from a priceless memory, a member or your collection, or a gift, the magic of rocks will live on for generations to come. Mrs. Vazquez and Mrs. Herrera in Kinder displayed a remarkable collection of rocks of all kinds and classified them for viewing according to common properties. Love it.




Pre K: Magnet Mania 

Magnets. Magnets! Parallel spinning valence electrons creating push and pull in metals? Why YES! A whole room of magnet explorations including races, classification, puzzle games and more? Double yes. I wish we had science night when I was a kid. Thanks Mrs. Kennedy for creating an amazing setting for the kids to explore one of the greatest science activities of all time!





Lastly, our master gardener Wellness teacher Mrs. Vore, welcomed students into her classroom to learn about seed dispersal. Students were able to classify different seeds and make inferences about how they travel in their ecosystems. The importance of plants and their important roles of energy transformation within ecosystems are often overlooked but with the help of Mrs. Vore, our UTES students are experts in plant and environmental science in and out of school.


STEAM Career Day

UTES school counselor, Lily Dominguez, and I worked together to recruit career day volunteers to present to students. We welcomed visitors from all over Austin and this culminating event to our science week left students of all ages inspired to learn more.

While we welcomed careers of all types (not necessarily STEAM related), we encouraged all visitors to discuss how STEAM disciplines are utilized in their careers daily. Our big idea was to help students see that no matter the career, math, science, problem solving, technology, and collaboration are all necessary and essential skills for career success in the 21st century.

Our diverse career day schedule included presentations from Google Fiber, graphic designers, app and software developers, robotic programmers, photographers, solar energy engineers, architects, college readiness counselors, UT professors, law enforcement, philanthropists, forensic scientists, media specialists, historians, museum curators, linguists and MORE.

A special thanks to all of our career day visitors! Your influence changes lives. Please come again!

Chelsea Francis, Ann McClain, Sarah Collins, Cybil Guess, Sonseree Gibson, Justin Ong, Scott Gray, Jennifer Rangubphai, Armando Perez, Angela Kennedy, Kaitlin Lloyd, Austin EMS, Jean Holland, Emma de Boer, Michael Watts, Quynh Pham, Scott Rubin, Shawn Clynch, Stephanie Sue, Vamsi Ghorakavi, Sean McMains, Tony Moreno, Jess Moss, Avonne Brooker-Rutowski, Chris Anderson, Amina Howard, Lawrence Williams and Daniel Lucio




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Hook Em STEAMhorns!

1 Comment

  1. I remember Science Fair. It was so fun! I learned from another project that light can travel really far and that light can be really bright!!


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