Welcome back! This will be an exciting school year!

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Here is a website that will help you to organize your school work!  http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/time/tips2.html

On Wednesday October 8, you may have a chance to glimpse a lunar eclipse - see the sun rise and the moon set while both appear in the sky at the same time.  In NY, this should occur between 6:55 and 7:05 am.


Mrs. O'Donnell's Summer Science Journal:

Entry One:  My husband and I spent a lot of time at the beach this year.  We go to the Town of Oyster Bay beach, which is located on Jones Beach Island,  a barrier island off the South Shore of Long Island, New York
A barrier island is a long, thin, sandy stretch of land, oriented parallel to the mainland coast that protects the coast from the full force of powerful storm waves. Between the barrier island and the mainland is a calm, protected water body such as a lagoon or bay. Barrier islands are dynamic systems, constantly on the move, migrating under the influence of changing sea levels, storms, waves, tides , and longshore currents. In the United States, barrier islands occur offshore where gently sloping sandy coastlines, as opposed to rocky coastlines, exist. Consequently, most barrier islands are found along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast as far north as Long IslandNew York These islands protect the mainland by absorbing the energy produced in hurricanes and normal winter storms. But barrier islands are not just important geological features. 
They also are unique ecosystems. A barrier island usually consists of a wide sandy beach facing the ocean, an area of one or more sand dunes with anchoring beach grasses and shrubs, and a wetland area that may consist of a bay, a lagoon, or a marsh that lies between the island and the mainland. These ecosystems provide feeding, mating, and nesting areas for shorebirds, commercial fish species, and shellfish such as clams, oysters, and crabs. These beaches, dunes, and wetlands also provide important recreational activities for people.

In our walks along the shore, we saw many various species of wildlife - seagulls, piping plovers, and an interesting bird that looks like a seagull but has a red beak (the North American oyster catcher.)  

We also saw tons of moon jellies: (Aurelia aurita) is also known as the moon jelly, common jellyfish or saucer jellyfish.  When washed up on shore they look like a round disk-shaped pad of hardened jelly. Most of the moon jellyfish you find are about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The disk that washes up on shore is the most durable remnant of this creature. This jellyfish is a carnivore. It eats plankton that it catches while floating in the water column. Their prey includes a wide variety of small organisms like juvenile mollusks and crustaceans, rotifers, young polychaetes, protozoans, diatoms, tunicate larvae and fish eggs. Tentacles that hang down from the underside of the animalsweep the water, entangling whatever it encounters. Stinging nematocysts are effective at killing their prey and secreted mucus helps hold onto ensnared plankton. Captured food is moved via flagellar movement towards canals along the underside of the disk, then moved by other smaller flagella into the stomach.

Moon jellyfish's stinging cells are relatively benign to us. In some

 cases a person may experience some mild stinging sensation if stung. The discomfort is fairly localized and does not

 persist for a long period of time. The disks you see on the beach usually have few if any tentacles remaining attached hence there are no stinging nematocysts present.  Moon jellyfish tend to stay close to the water surface, in large part because this is where there is the highest concentration of plankton. This behavior makes the jellyfish themselves susceptible to being eaten. Moon jellyfish are preyed upon by various large fish, turtles and even some birds. Another consequence of living close to the water surface is that the jellyfish are moved around by water currents. Moon Jellyfish can m

anipulate their bell shaped body to thrust water away from them and 
propel themselves forward. Their rhythmic propulsion is largely a means to move up or down in the water column. They can only move in one direction though and they are not powerful enough to outpace even a moderate water current. Since plankton are also moved by these same currents, and also tend to be position themselves at different depths by their own movements, the combination of up-and-down movement and drifting does work well for keeping the jellyfish in places that are rich in food. Their limited ability to control their movements does mean they are susceptible to being washed ashore by currents and tidal action.


Entry 2:  When we weren't at the beach, we spent a lot of time at physical therapy.  My husband has a condition called severe adhesive capsulitis, which in common terms is known as frozen shoulder.  Symptoms include limited range of motion, pain and stiffness. It 
can be caused by many things including overuse, injury or as the result of a disease.  Tissues around the shoulder joint get hard, and motion becomes limited and painful (think of shrink wrap wrapped tightly!)  His therapy has helped him quite a bit and he has more use of his arm, but it is still a work in progress, and sleeping at night is difficult.  

Treatments usually begin with anti-inflammatory medications (motrin), cortisone injections, gentle stretching and physical therapy.  In extreme cases , or those caused by tears, it can include surgery, which is usually done through a small incision site arthroscopically, but is very painful. Mrs. Korn has the more severe form, which necessitated surgical repair.  Her summer was spent recuperating from the surgery, wearing a hot, heavy, cumbersome sling 23 hours a day, as well as icing her shoulder with a special machine.  

I on the other hand was going to physical therapy for my lower back pain, which is caused by ruptured and herniated discs in my spine.  I had to have an MRI in order to see exactly what was going on.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MR

I) is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body's organs and structures.  An MRI scanner consists of a large doughnut-shaped magnet that often has a tunnel in the center. During the examination, radio waves manipulate the magnetic position of the atoms of the body, which are picked up by a powerful antenna and sent to a computer. The computer performs millions of calculations, resulting in clear, cross-sectional black-and-white images of the body. These images can be converted into three-dimensional (3-D) pictures of the scanned area. These images help to pinpoint problems in the body.  The machine is extremely loud, but they give you headphones to wear, and they player Sirius Satellite radio (and I got to pick the station - I picked Top 40 hits and listened to Bruno  Mars, Arianna Grande and Calvin Harris.)  The hardest part is lying entirely still and not moving.  This was extremely difficult especially since I was listening to such awesome music!v

My therapy consists of a lot of core building exercises; stretches, using a rubber ball and resistance bands.  

Entry 3: Although most of the weather this summer was very pleasant, not too hot, not a lot of rain, there was an exception to this. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday August 12 and 13, we had record breaking rainfall on Long Island.  The Town of Islip had more than 5" of rain in one hour, and a total of 13.55 inches, smashing the state's previous record for daily rainfall of 11.6 inches set on Aug. 28, 2011 in Tannersville.  This rainfall caused severe flooding, power outages, sinkholes, and many unforgettable images such as stranded cars on the parkways, and boats floating down the middle of streets.  When too much rain falls too rapidly for the sewers to carry it away, or the ground to absorb it, flooding occurs.  

Natural sinkholes – as opposed to manmade tunnel or cave collapses – occur when acidic rainwater seeps down through surface soil and sediment, eventually reaching a soluble bedrock such as sandstone, chalk, salt or gypsum, or (most commonly) a carbonate rock such as limestone beneath. In a process that can last hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, the water gradually dissolves small parts of the rock, enlarging its natural fissures and joints and creating cavities beneath.

As the process continues, the loose, unconsolidated soil and sand above is gradually washed into these cracks and voids. Depending on how thick and strong that top layer is (sand will not last long; clay can hold out for millennia), and how close to the surface the void beneath is, the land may be able to sustain its own weight – and that of whatever we build on top of it. But as the holes grow, there will come a day when the surface layer will simply give way.

Entry 4:  We didn't go away on vacation this summer because we needed to have some work done at our house.  One of the things we did was have a new sidewalk put in.  First the workers removed the old concrete, and cleaned the site of loose dirt.  They next cleared out the grass, dirt and sod along the sides of the sidewalk.  They built wood forms in which to place the new concrete. They placed sheets of steel mesh on the dirt to help reinforce the concrete.  They then poured the concrete into the molds they had created.  Between the sections of concrete (called "flags") the workers placed expansion strips, fiber strips that compress when concrete expands to prevent heaving, cracking and buckling. They used tools like rakes and squeegees to smooth the concrete, and they used a special tool to imprint the design around the outside edges, and to cut the flags into sections.  The concrete was dry and semi hard in about 6 hours, but not walkable for 24.  I didn't realize that concrete needs water to cure (harden) properly, so the crew sprayed the sidewalk with water from the hose; they told us the wetter it is, the whiter it become so we continued to spray it for a few days. 


Entry 5: Our pool is probably about 20 years old, and the liner was torn and leaking, and had been patched many times.  We bought another liner and had a company install it.  I am so happy with it - it has pictures of tropical fish and coral, so whenever I go in the pool I feel like I'm swimming with the dolphins.   

Read more: http://www.familyhandyman.com/masonry/pouring-concrete/how-to-pour-a-concrete-sidewalk/view-all#ixzz3ByLmgyA3


Mrs. ODonnell's Highland Science Fan page: 
Those of you who have an IPod Touch, and IPhones or an  IPad can download a FREE BrainPOP app for your device.  Here is the link:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brainpop-featured-movie/id364894352?mt=8.  Enjoy!!!
Carol Ann ODonnell,
Jul 11, 2011, 7:28 PM
Carol Ann ODonnell,
Sep 11, 2012, 9:53 AM
Carol Ann ODonnell,
Jul 11, 2011, 7:28 PM
Carol Ann ODonnell,
Sep 11, 2012, 9:37 AM