Electricity is mysterious and exciting. It has completely changed the way human beings live. We cannot see it directly. We can only observe its effects.

During our Physics block we experimented with electromagnetism, magnetizing iron nails with an electric current, generating an electric charge with magnetism and using it to create motion. Students created simple and parallel circuits, single and two-way switches, light bulbs and electric motors.

There is always a moment of anticipation before a circuit is closed. Will the light light? Will the buzzer buzz? Will the motor go? It is an exciting moment when they do! Eighth grade students cooperated, collaborated and had to think through their procedures and trouble shoot problems when things didn’t work as expected.


We also studied the properties of water and air. These studies began first with meditative observation of the elements. Students sat by the Hartsbrook brook looking and listening, employing all of their senses of  perception to observe the element of water. They made sketches and made notes on what they observed. Later these sketches were used to create paintings and the notes to write prose. In the classroom, through demonstration and experimentation, we considered the various properties of water.

We had a wonderfully blustery day to observe the movements and properties of air. It is interesting to note that our study and observations of air went much more quickly and became much more lively than those of water!


Water observations by Kara

Dazzling water sits and glistens in the sunlight. The cool surface ripples outwards as I gently touch it with my finger.

I gaze down at the mysterious water. It possesses magnifying properties. The crisp scent of fresh water overwhelms my nose. It doesn’t leave It stays together like glue, never pulling apart. The water’s pervasive calm hypnotizes me, luring me to observe more.

Wondrous water stays level as it sparkles. The short depths of the water glides down the smooth stream. Slowly, making it’s way. Suddenly, like rapid-fire, the soothing water that I once knew turns into fast ripples, racing each other down the endless stream. Then, it changes back, continuing the cycle.

Moving on by Benjamin

Plastic. It is fake. Should not be.
Should not be here. He sits on it.
He is still
It gurgles.
Water, he touches;
Water, he watches;
Water, he feels. Water feels good.
Water, is rippling.
Water is moist. Feels soft, it’s crystal.
It’s clear.
Roosters are loud. Water
Is silent.
It picks its way around the rocks,
around the sticks, around itself.
Never stopping. Always watching.
Sometimes jumping, sometimes tripping.
Always going forward. Never resting.
“Pressure” and “surface tension” are its qualities.
But really, it is just water

Going Forward. Moving On! Air observations by Leela

The morning wind was cool, strong, refreshing.
It blows over the land like an uplifting rush of sweetness.
It makes the branches sway on the trees and the leaves on the ground skip, jump, scuttle, run across the grass and through the air.
The grass waves in the breeze.
The wind blows the leaves, acorns, pine needles, off the trees.

The wind carries voices.

Air observations by Quentin

I hear the rustling of leaves, blown by an unseen force.
Seemingly mighty trees shake, swing sets move, and all of nature leans in one direction.
The wind suddenly changes direction, and all the fallen leaves jump, run, and fly the other way.

These experiences lay a foundation for a deeper consideration and understanding of the Industrial Revolution when these properties of water and air were harnessed to animate machinery in cotton and wool factories, flour and snuff mills as well as the steam driven locomotive.

Our future study of Meteorology in the spring will give us another opportunity to revisit these phenomena. Additionally in our Anatomy block we’ll see how our earlier studies of acoustics apply and relate to the structure and function of the ear and how light and color relate to the structure and function of the eye.

We are marvelous beings living in a marvelous world!

Anne Haendiges
Eighth Grade Class Teacher