K-5 Science with Mrs. V at St. Justin School
St. Justin School is very blessed to have Mrs. Michelle Varnau (Mrs. V) lead our K-5 Science program. She has been working closely with our Middle School Science teacher, Mrs. Nancy Floerke, which allows students to learn about science curriculum across grade levels and prepares them for the next generation science standards. One of the new school wide science projects this school year is the start of a community garden. The girl scouts constructed it last spring and students have been growing flowers, vegetables, and some fruits with Mrs. Floerke and Mrs. V’s support. Onions were given to St. Justin Parish Community Service and pumpkins were brought to the classrooms (those that survived before the rats got to them!). Students also tested the soil nutrient levels and amended it, which means they added compost after determining its organic content. Through this community garden project, students are learning more about life science through the parts of the plant, ecology (predator and prey), and photosynthesis.
Besides the weekly hands-on science activities, Mrs. V also invited special guest speakers from the Santa Clara Valley Water District to do a presentation on the history of water in Santa Clara Valley. St. Justin students learned about water-usage and water maintenance, how in the early days people had enough water that just flowed from the streams and underground wells. While the population increased, people had to devise a way to get clean water to everybody by sanitizing, recycling and using reservoirs to store water.
What Mrs. V and her Grades 3-5 science students are looking forward to is the annual Science Fair held during Catholic Schools Week in January. The Science Fair gives students the opportunity to ask their own questions, apply math and language arts skills along with scientific methods, and use a little bit of their art/creative skills on a display board. Students get to choose, with Mrs. V’s approval, topics from life science, chemistry, physics, or earth science. Middle school students will interview the Science Fair participants and judge their presentations as well. Awards will be given out in each category and the projects will be on display at St. Justin School’s open house on Sunday, Jan. 25. All are welcome to visit the school and see this wonderful Science program in action