Core Curriculum Class Descriptions

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(Core Science Curriculum for "Younger," "Middle," "Mixed Age," "After School," and "Older" students.)

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On this page:
Core Classes (Various groups covering ages 5-16)
Advanced Core Class (Ages 12-16)

See also:
Class Descriptions
Electives

Rock-it Science Core Classes (taught by Mr. Mac, with Miss Michelle)

This is our Core Science curriculum. We strongly recommend that all students register for our Core Classes. In these lessons, we cover a wide assortment of science topics such as electricity and magnetism, engineering, potential and kinetic energy, chemistry, and physics. Students explore a different topic each week, and each lesson includes something to discover, so students get to have the "Aha!" experience that makes them excited about learning and exploring. Each 10-week class series is independent of the others, so there are no prerequisites for these classes.

Core Classes
Core classes are listed as Younger Students (Age 5-8), Middle Students (Age 7-12), Mixed Age Students (Age 5-16), and After School (Age 7-12). The lessons for all groups are the same, but the presentation and experiments are adapted for each age group.
Advanced Core Class
The Advanced Core class is listed as Older Students (age 12-16). This advanced class provides a wide assortment of more challenging experiments than the lessons for the younger groups.

Core Class Description (Age 5-12) -- Fall 2017-18

Tuition $175 (Charter school $205)
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Here are the lessons for Younger (Age 5-8), Middle (Age 7-12), Mixed Age (Age 5-16), and After School (Age 7-12) students. Core Classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. See Schedule for days and times.

  1. Towers of Zoobs: Silly looking plastic parts look like they are good for nothing, but I bet you can turn them into animals, machines, or buildings. Interference fit ovoid polymer components can be assembled to create 3D structures resembling creatures, buildings, and machines.
  2. Wave in a Bottle: Is it possible to fill a bottle clear to the tippy top with liquid and still make waves inside? Gravitational dynamics of two or more hydrophobic liquids constrained by optically clear cylindrical containers.
  3. Heat Conduction: Does copper ever scream? Does any metal ever scream? Will they scream for ice cream? Will they scream for dry ice cream? This calls for an experiment! A study of the acoustic and mechanical vibrations created by rapid sublimation of solid carbon dioxide under a solid flat surface.
  4. Whirlpools: Whirlpools usually happen in water. Can they happen in air? Can they happen in fire? Do they come in different colors? Come to Rock-it Science to find out! Three dimensional flow in aqueous and gaseous media while forced to circulate in a spiral.
  5. Pinhole Lens: Discover how much you can see through a tiny hole… and compare that to how much you see through a magnifying glass, and compare that to how much you see through a four foot wide magnifier. Field of view and depth of focus created by refraction of optical elements compared to same created by diffraction surrounding a thin wall hole in air.
  6. Color: Paint vs. Light: You get to mix colored paints and then mix colored lights and then look at the colored paints under the colored lights… of course, something totally unexpected happens! Comparison of additive and subtractive colors and the physiological effects of observing opaque colors under intensely colored light.
  7. Infinity Box: You’ll make a string of lights and then make those lights appear to light up an infinitely long tunnel. The use of fully reflective and partially reflective aluminum coatings on clear Mylar to create the illusion of great depth.
  8. Elephant Toothpaste: Mix a little soap, some water, some hydrogen peroxide, and a catalyst and what do you get? A huge mess! Spontaneous oxidation of hydrogen peroxide in an exothermic reaction that releases oxygen and great quantities of heat, creating rapidly rising columns of oxygen trapped in spherical soap films.
  9. Osmosis: That’s a strange name for chemicals that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. And this gives us the perfect opportunity to play with bubbles and dry ice! A study of the increasing volume and density of air trapped in various types of spherical thin-wall containers surrounded by an atmosphere of carbon dioxide gas.
  10. Stethoscopes: Make a stethoscope. Jump up and down. Act crazy, and then listen to your heart. A study of children that make a stethoscope, jump up and down, act crazy, and then listen to their hearts.

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Advanced Core Class Description for Older Students (Age 12-16) -- Fall 2017-18

Tuition $175 (Charter school $205)
Advanced Core Classes are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. See Schedule for days and times.
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Important! Please Read: We have all sorts of dangerous machines, chemicals, and people around us. We can either try to isolate ourselves from them to stay safe or we can learn how to deal with them. At Rock-it Science we feel that it is very important to learn how to deal with dangerous situations. In the Older Students Class (Age 12-16), we sometimes use strong chemicals, high voltage, and other materials and processes that can be dangerous if the student does not follow instructions. Before you register your child for this advanced class, be sure they have the emotional maturity to focus on the lesson, listen carefully to instructions and safety warnings, and perform the experiments as directed. If your child is over 12 years old but is not ready for this kind of advanced class, he or she may register for the Mixed Age Class (Age 5-16).

Here are the Advanced Core lessons for the Fall session:

  1. Microwave Oven Experiments: You get to cook things in a microwave that should never be put in there. Do not do this at home… we ruin microwave ovens doing these experiments. You will create flaming plasmas that can melt glass and steel in the pursuit of misguided scientific knowledge. Utilizing microwave energy of 10 cm wavelength to create spontaneous emission of light, heat, and products of combustion.
  2. Super Capacitors: These capacitors store enough energy to start a car, evaporate aluminum, or destroy a soda can. You will use them to create arcs of electricity and compare them to ordinary capacitors. An exploration of the effects of short bursts of electrical energy on ordinary objects.
  3. Distillation: The basic idea is to separate one liquid from another, but somehow we usually end up with the chemicals catching on fire. Not to worry though, because we will have plenty of chemicals on hand. The separation of various boiling point fluids during isothermal evaporation and condensation.
  4. Photo Cells and Sound: Everybody else uses photocells to produce useful amounts of electricity, but we use them to create weird sound effects. Exploring the effects of random pulses of visible electromagnetic energy on photosensitive media amplified to create acoustic energy.
  5. Vacuum Chambers: What happens to your lungs, your eyes, and your blood when you jump out of a spaceship wearing your swimsuit? You’ll make models of these parts and try them in our vacuum chambers. Gauging the physical effects of rapid pressure drop on biological tissues and organs.
  6. Refraction of Light: Some people say that light always travels in a straight line and other people say that it bends . . . who is right? You’ll do experiments to find out for yourself. Propagation of electromagnetic energy through the interface of angled optical elements.
  7. Glass Blowing: You get to use propane torches to melt glass and try your hand at making it stick to other pieces of glass without breaking when it cools. Ameliorating the thermal stresses in amorphous clear solids upon physical strain created above the glass transition temperature and rapid cooling.
  8. Gravity Walkers: You’ll make a critter that walks by itself right to the edge of the table or down a tilted table looking as silly as possible. The translation of lateral rocking motion into bipedal motion through the effects of gravity alone.
  9. Disease Spreading: To solve this mystery lesson you have to figure out who is responsible for starting the dreaded purple polka dot disease among the people of Goodville. Using the basic steps of epidemiology to determine the origins of a rapidly spreading communicable disease.
  10. Straw Tower: Simple . . . build a tower that is as tall as possible with a one ounce weight at the top. Trial and error methods to determine the most efficient design for building a tower capable of supporting the weight of a polymer ursa.

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