Wild Science + New Labs = Excitement at FMHS

Matchbook car races, swirling modern art solutions, frog dissections and roller coasters at Magic Mountain are all part of an exciting curriculum of science exploration at Frazier Mountain High School this year.

By Tamara Trost, FMHS Science Teacher

Students learn best by doing, and in science this means labs and hands-on experiments. FMHS Principal Sara Haflich supported stocking materials and refurbishing equipment for the FMHS science lab this year, with new glassware, scales, chemicals, dissection tools, dissection animals, along with chemistry, biology and physics supplies. All will be put to good use!

We are offering two chemistry classes: a year-long general college preparatory class and a semester-long college dual-enrollment class. Students can obtain both high school and college credit. The Chemistry B2A class at FMHS is aligned with Bakersfield College’s Chemistry B2A class. Students who earn a “C” or better will earn 4 units of college credit that go on an official Bakersfield College transcript and can be transferred to any school of their choosing.

There are a minimum of 15 labs planned for chemistry this year, including focus on the scientific method, calculating solid and liquid densities, titrations, single and double replacement reactions, solubility, heat capacity, calculating the number of molecules it takes to write your name in chalk and many other fun and informative activities.

Biology students will be treated to multiple labs including five animal dissections (earthworm, clam, fish, crayfish, and frog), as well as microbiology, genetics and human physiology labs. As an everyday science experience, we are sharing our classroom this year with a leopard gecko and a Triops. A Venus flytrap has been planted and a turtle may join us soon as well.

Physics students have already completed a scientific method lab and are now moving into two-dimensional motion. Exciting labs this year include the favorite projectile lab (where balls of different sizes and weights get catapulted between the classrooms), matchbox car races, lenses, electricity and magnetism and many other fun experiments. The real excitement of course is the annual trip to Magic Mountain where kids apply all the physics they learned throughout the school year to solve real-world calculations through analysis of amusement park rides.

The pictures shown above are of students completing their first scientific method lab. Students in all science classes analyzed the effect detergent has on fat and water soluble substances.

One result is a modern art explosion of colors. Students enjoyed the colors they created and many took pictures of their results to share with their families and other students. We are well on our way to getting students excited and curious about the world they live in, to get them to use critical thinking and logic, to learn to work as a team and to share data.

These things make me grateful to be teaching. I am looking forward to an exciting year with a tremendous group of students.

Photo captions:

Below, FMHS science lab students earn college credits while learning the effect detergent has on fat and water soluble substances, creating swirling colored solutions.

FMHS students get serious, studying the scientific method and making technicolor solutions in chemistry as many enroll to be eligible for college credits.

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This is part of the September 20, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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