Learning in Action

Vernier Science Probes and 5th grade Ecoweek

October 06, 2017

by Dan Shinneman

5th grade students at Dunn Elementary, as well as many other elementary schools in PSD, have been using Vernier science probes to collect weather data before and during their EcoWeek field trip. Students are able to have an authentic experience as scientists in the field by learning about the changing weather conditions while gaining knowledge about the Colorado state standard 3.3 for Earth Science. “Weather conditions change because of the uneven heating of Earth’s surface by the Sun’s energy. Weather changes are measured by differences in temperature, air pressure, wind and water in the atmosphere and type of precipitation”

Below is the Weather Data collected at Dunn Elementary before going on their EcoWeek field trip and up at Estes Park, Colorado. It was a sunny and dry day at Dunn and a very wet and cloudy day up in the mountains. Students made predictions about the data they were going to collect and had rich discussions at each station about their findings. The students were amazed to see the differences in the data they collected in the two locations.

Air Temperature

Measure the surrounding air temperature using the thermometer.

Wind Speed

Measure the wind speed using the anemometer.

Light Intensity

Measure the amount of light intensity (brightness) using the light meter.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet radiation is part of the light energy that reaches the earth from the sun. These waves of energy are invisible to the naked eye.

Relative Humidity

Measure the amount of moisture in the air using the relative humidity sensor.

Soil Moisture

Measure the amount of water in the soil using the soil moisture sensor.

This experience helps support the Poudre School District Ends including Success in a Changing World and Above and Beyond, PSD ensures access and encourages participation in a wide range of experiences that reflect expectations of a changing world.

  • Students demonstrate college and workforce readiness.
  • Students have opportunities for authentic experiences.

Students are able to experience what it is like to be a scientist that collects and analyzes data to make predictions and gather observations. Resources and information about using science probes at your your school are on the PSD Science Curriculum website.

Coding Readiness across content

September 13, 2017

by Michael Foster

Here Sarah Weeks (Lopez) shows off the Segway people-mover she created to show innovation after building her 60-second duck (pictured).

This past Saturday, fourteen teachers spent the day working with a Lego League guru so that they could be better expert-guides for PSD students learning to code. The day was spent concentrating on how to draw out understanding the logic behind programming Lego EV3 robots, the platform used for "First Lego League" competitions where kids go up against other teams from around the state.

Right off the bat, teachers jumped in with a 60-second "6-piece duck challenge" to experience what it can be like for students faced with a new experience. The magic happened with the discussion after the build-time: none of the ducks were identical and EVERYONE was successful! Immediately tension in the room eased and everyone settled in for an intense, hands-on experience that will impact students across nine schools represented. When asked why it was such a great grounding activity, event sponsor Laura Bustos (Putnam) remarked, "everyone was able to communicate about the duck they built. We ALL felt successful!" After each activity, the team discussed how it connected to the classroom and reflected in journals how they would apply what they learned at their own school.

Lego trainer Matthew Collier referred to teachers throughout the experience as “engineers on staff” rather than talking about “playing with the Legos” to shift the mindset and engage them towards learning how robots can be infused across the content areas.

How are kids learning?

Alison Schutt (Shepardson): To represent how our students learn, I built steps to represent building on prior knowledge, the magnifying glass and shovel to represent that learning needs both exploration and discovery. It takes physical abilities (climb up the stairs of learning) as well as emotional abilities (the learner is balancing). There is another person here to show that there is a social/peer aspect to learning and the cog to show that creativity is an aspect of learning.


Lana Fain (Fossil Ridge): my model represents the two aspects of the media center at Fossil Ridge High School. The first character represents the book-aspect of learning available. The clear block and flower on the open-book represents how learning illuminates and reveals beauty. The shovel models how it takes digging into resources to learn. The second character shows the “maker” side of our media center learning opportunities. She has the hammer to show the hard work and determination it takes to learn while having a megaphone to communicate her learning.

Matt Perroni (Johnson) and Lorrie Maggio (Eyestone) prepare their EV3 robots for the next challenge.

Alison and Lana compare designs and how it connects to the way each organizes the library media centers at their own schools. Read what they had to say to the left.

Solar Eclipse 2017

August 29, 2017

by Kevin Murray

Get data from the eclipse to analyze with students here

On August 21, 2017 most of the continental United States was treated to a total solar eclipse. DeeDee Wright and CSU Little Shop of Physics secured over 30,000 solar viewing glasses and distributed them to students. While only high schools were in session, the eclipse was viewed by many PSD Students.

Members of the EdTech and CIA departments collected data that your students can view and analyze, you can find this data on eclipse.psdschools.org.

Adam McBride's telescope at totality.

Eclipse viewing parties were held across the district. Families and students were invited to schools like Tavelli Elementary, Preston Middle & Rocky Mountain High School. Check out a 360 view of the eclipse party at Poudre HS.

Adam McBride used a drone (available for teacher reservation) to capture this video.

What can I do with my solar eclipse viewing glasses?

Send them to the ITC c/o Kevin Murray- We plan to send to schools in rural Argentina and Chile for the 2019 total eclipse.

Vernier data collected by EdTech team.

Webber science teachers enjoy eclipse viewing

Preston Middle School students ready for the eclipse!

Adam McBride 3D printed this adapter for his smart phone and attached to telescope.