Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 4 homework

Howdy folks!
     Here is homework week 4 all ready to go and your link to the Matter Changing States BrainPop.

Optical Illusions, Ernst Rutherford, tongue torture with soda (or "pop" as Minnesotans call it) and a shocking experiment inspired by the John Travoltage simulation from the previous post.  Good Luck!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Part of Homework week 3

Howdy folks!
     Here is the link to BrainPop States of Matter and the pdf of the homework will be online Monday if I have it scanned on time.  This week we finish exploring dissolving using M&M's.  We will compare this to other candies and see if they react the same way, and if so... why?

And here is the rest... Quarter 2 Week 3 homework 

and this link is a simulation called John Travoltage that made me laugh... it will make you laugh too as you learn about how static electricity is formed and released.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Science Simulation

     We are using a computer simulation to learn about how atoms and molecules behave.

Computer Simulation


Monday, December 5, 2011

More homework!!!

Howdy everybody!
       Here is the link for the science homework for week 2.  

And before I forget, here is the BrainPop link For the Atomic Model

That said, our exploration to how atoms and molecules work and move are taking a tasty turn as we use M&M's to explore matter.

I just learned that we are going skiing on January 17th so mark your calenders and start scraping $25 buck together because going skiing and tubing and snow boarding beats staying in school and going to class.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The first homework of Quarter 2

Howdy folks!
     I hope you all have had a great break.  KK and I tested out our Disney YES program trip with 23 former 6th graders.  The trip was an unprecedented success!  I look forward to offering the trip to this year's class.

Thanksgiving was a trip... literally!  The family packed up and headed out to William O'Brain State Park where the boys discovered a tree house... so to speak.

So Quarter 2 is fast approaching and with it a new set of homework.

Quarter 2 Week 1 is due Dec 1st.

Oh yeah... and the BrainPop Measuring Matter

This quarter we will study matter and the physical properties that make matter different from each other. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The last homework for Quarter 1.... or is it???

Howdy folks,

Here is the link to this week's homework Week 9 homework

And the link to Brain Pop's Cell Structures

That said... we are wrapping up the quarter by practicing the steps of the scientific method.  We are counting the drops of water that will fit on a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.  Once graphed, students use this information to predict how many drops of water will fit on a silver dollar and a half dollar.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Chunkin Pics!

Hi there,
    This week students were asked to assist with a special experiment.

The experiment is called, "The effects of Sudden Deceleration of Soft Vegetative Tissue In a Vertical System" aka Russo pitches Pumpkins off the Roof so we can observe how much they splat!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homework week 8

Here is the link to homework week 8
and the link to BrainPop The Eye

Students this week have been practicing writing good instructions for experiments.  This is done by using Captain Hyper-Literal.  He is a character that will do exactly what you say... no more and no less and has the amazing power to still mess up any instruction while still doing whatever you tell him to do.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well that didn't work...

Hi there,
     My last post didn't seem to publish so here are both assignments. 

Week 6

Week 7

Brain Pop to Acids and Bases

     We did an observation this week regarding a candle that was lit, burned for about 30 seconds and then was gobbled up by a crazy science teacher.  The students were so interested into what was going on that I created an extra credit extension assignment.  This is OPTIONAL so don't feel obligated to do this but I think you may find it fun.  With your parents research and create a "candle" made of food from the grocery store that can be lit, burn for about 30 seconds and then eaten.  Students don't have to eat their creation, just that it could be eaten.  Please have your "candles" in by Friday Oct 14th or parent conferences.  Parent supervision is required for any activity involving fire so be careful, safe and be with a parent / guardian.  Any questions, please email me at or call me at (651) 379-2653.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Access to BrainPop

Howdy folks!
     Another post to give you the link to Week 5 Science Homework

    Here is the link to Week 5 Brain Pop video  and below is the link to a whole bunch more that we will use throughout the year

Whole list of BrainPops

This week we are examining the scientific method and the first step is all about careful observations.  A fun way to train your brain for careful observations and noticing detail was introduced in last week's homework with the picture puzzle.  If you want to try some more, try these Spot the Difference Puzzles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 4 and the science letters!

Howdy folks!
     Welcome to week 4 of the year!  We introduced our first unit question which is, "What makes Science Good and what makes Good Science?"  We started by brainstorming what science is and channeled all those ideas into writing the question in big letters outside the room.

The next step is to synthesize all those good ideas into one working definition so that we can begin to study "what does it mean to be scientific?" and "How can I think like a scientist?"

The link to this week's homework is available here :   Week 4 homework

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sun House Welcomes 2 more teachers!

Hi there,
     Sun House Science is welcoming 2 more teacher's from the University of Minnesota!  Miss Walden and Miss Sheedy will be joining our class in the morning.  The classes have named themselves because "physical science period 3" is not all that exciting so the classes that will be working our guest teachers are "The Chemical Reaction" and "SpongeBob Swag."  The other classes have chosen the names "Super Samuari Butt Kickers" and "Pretty Pretty Princess and a King with a Chainsaw."  Well... it is definitely more interesting then the alternative.

If you want a peek at this week's homework... Quarter 1 week 3 homework

Last week we successfully set up (most) of our science notebook.  This coming week students will get a better understanding of why we use a science notebook, we will answer the question "What is science?" and begin to address our unit question "What makes good science and what makes science good?"

I am in the process of assessing the student's first homework assignment which will be posted on Infinite Campus for your viewing pleasure.  Weekly homework and science notebook checks every two weeks will be in the grade book as well as in class activities, labs, tests and quizzes.

If you have any questions, please email me at or call (651) 379-2653.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Second Week at Crosswinds...

Hi there everyone!
     Last week students got the orientation and had some time to explore their new classes.  This week, students will be setting up their science notebooks, and practicing skills they will need for their homework (always due on Thursdays).  If you want to see what it looks like click on the link below.

Science Homework Week 2 (don;t panic... there was no science homework week 1.)

This is due Thursday Sept 15th. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Got Homework?

Howdy folks!
     Today was the last day of our Intro to Crosswinds program.  When we toured the grounds outside our school, saw horses (some saw turkeys), visited the park, played THICKETT!!! and fought our way through thistles and a downed tree that tried to block our path!  It wasn't all adventuring and games however, we created "Me Shields," processed the book "The Giving Tree" and prepared the all important planners for the rest of the year.  At the end of the day we had a little time left to set our goals for the quarter.  All in all it was a busy day.  I love to watch the growth the first few days of school.  They come in, not knowing any of the procedures here and they learn so much in just the first 48 hours.  The buses are working themselves out bit by bit, and should be smooth by week's end.

     Many students have been asking (almost pestering) me about homework.  Who am I to turn down all this enthusiasm?  On Thursday, I will ask students to check out this blog and answer the riddle posted there well here it is......

The Riddle:

You throw away the outside and cook the inside.  Then you eat the outside and trow away the inside.

What is it?

Hint... there are several correct answers.  Be prepared to justify your answer.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Need Locker Help?

Hi there!
Tomorrow is the first day of school and I am very excited! The Math teacher, Mr. Luepker, showed me a video on how to open your locker that I thought would be good practice for the first few days.
Of course, no amount of practice will help you if the office gave you the wrong combination.

In general, the schedule for the first 2 days are focused on getting to know each other, the school (inside and out) and the big ideas of the year.

If you have any questions, please let me know at or (651) 379-2653.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Welcome to the new year!

Hi there everybody!
This blog is for anyone but mostly the 6th grade science students in Mr. Russo's class at Crosswinds Arts and Science Magnet school in Woodbury Minnesota.

Feel free to look back at last year's blog as a possible way to explore some of the assignments and topics that we will cover.

If you are signing on for the first time, at the top of the page is a link to "follow" this blog. If you do, you can be alerted every time I add homework, share relevant information, or just rant and rave with entries starting with, "Well back in my day..."

Parents, if you want to know every tiny detail about your student's academic progress, Infinite Campus is the best way to keep up with all the assignments, especially if your child may be "unsure" if they turned in their work or they looked awful shifty and nervous while saying, "Uh... Nope, no homework today... really!"

One of the most important things to understand early in Russo's class is that homework is ALWAYS due on Thursday. If there is school and it is Thursday, your child has homework due for science. OK, the first week of school and the last week of school don't count but EVERY other Thursday, you can count on science homework due. Hint: Look back through last year's blog and you can see some past examples of what homework looks like. (It is hard! Don't try to wait till Wednesday night before starting)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Final Exam support materials...


For those still polishing up their final exams... here are the reference materials we used in class...

Herman Hollerith and even More Herman Hollerith

The science related article about the Physics of Wet Dogs

The link for BrainPop (but you will need an account)

Here is the Room at the Inn puzzle

Here is Logic Puzzle 55

That is everything you need. Now here is the important part... there is no official "science class" tomorrow so if you forget to turn it in because of the exciting and distracting Olympics, and Goodbye ceremonies, I will have noting to grade and have to put an INC for your grade which means incomplete and there is nothing worse than being a 7th grader who still has to do homework to finish up 6th grade... well there are plenty worse things than that but trust me that is more annoying than a paper cut on your tongue.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hi there,
We have started the park project this week and will be building a model of a tennis court to practice our skills for when it is the student's turn to create their own model from their own design for their own park project. Have I emphasized that the student will be working this "on their own" enough? More than a week of class time will be exclusively devoted for students to work on their individual project but they are encouraged to continue their projects at home to expand and deepen their understanding.

here is the homework week 6 and here is the Brain Pop Link
here is the homework week 7 and here is the BrainPop link

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quarter 4 science homework and more!

Hi there,
Let's start with the basics... here is the homework so far for the fourth quarter.

Week 1 was to grow a plant (any plant) and bring it in.

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Note: Google Docs "translated" the PDF so the homework download may look a little wonky, but it is all there.

After the break students will be working on the Park Project. In science they will be focusing on the 3D model of one part of their park. The goal will be to manipulate scale to make a replica for the student's presentation. The scale will be approximately 1 / 40.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How are the plants coming along?

Hi everyone! Just checking in to see if the Sun flowers are up yet. You should have something poking its head out of the soil. If not, grab some dandelion fluff so you have a seed and plant that, if they are anything like the ones in my yard, they will poke their evil heads up in a few days.

Fully grown some of your plants could look like this by summer's end.

Hope you are having a restful break. The hardest part is over, just one last push and the year will be officially over and you will explore the adventures of being a "seve" (7th grader) see you all next week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Howdy Ranch Hands!
So this week we are all about all the different forms of energy waves. In the past we have become experts in energy and spent all last week learning about waves and how they carry energy. Now we will delve into all the forms of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum. This includes light, but infra red (heat) ultra violet (not just a comic book character!), X Rays, Microwaves, Gamma rays and the list goes on and on.

Here is your link to all BrainPop videos that we have access to.

If you are looking for the homework to download, it is on the blog down by March 12.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Minor mistake with the Week 6 homework. I forgot to direct you to a specific BrainPop. No matter you can pick you own this week. Click on the menu of Brain Pop movies. Choose from dozens of free BrainPops. You may review a Brain Pop you have already seen (which may sound easy but is in fact fairly boring because you have already seen the video and done the work) or you may choose to pick one that you have never seen before that speaks to you (saying "Pick Me! Pick Me!") Don't for get to let me know which Brain Pop you are doing and of course, write down the 10 questions and the 10 answers (and Not 1 = C and 2 = B... I don't remember what B is, but I can recognize a correct answer when placed next to the appropriate question!)

This week we will finish up with heat and begin our study of waves. We will start by learning about sound waves and what makes them. The homework week 6 is a big part of that. You can get some good sound experiments at this website. And here is a great science news article about sound bullets (no kidding!). I still think making a tin can phone and trying different strings (or cans) would make a great experiment. Good luck!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Energy Project

Good afternoon everyone!
We are starting a big project today and it looks a little like this.

Students will design a Rube Goldberg type device that will use the different types of energy to accomplish a goal. This is Due Friday March 25th. This is worth 60 points and is the biggest thing we have attempted this quarter.

We will start the work on Friday by going over the guidelines and expectations and having students brainstorm types of energy and ways to connect them together. Monday they will have some time to try to develop a draft of their design but the finishing touches will be done at home. The rest of class time will be devoted to viewing professional Rube Goldberg devices and creating a few small scale devices of their own.

If time is a factor on you have any questions, feel free to email me at


Monday, March 14, 2011

Rube Goldberg RULES!!!!

Howdy cats and kittens! I was online doing science "research" (code for I was playing games that I thought I could use in class) and found this little gem. A virtual, online Rube Goldberg machine that has 13 steps and needs YOU to fix it! Click on this link to play: Cool Rube Goldberg machine challenge puzzle. As proof of just how cool you are, take a screen shot or write down what words are in the window when you successfully complete the machine and staple it to your homework for a FREE SQUARE... you still have to do 3 in a row but add this and it will be the same as if you did 3 in a row PLUS another square... extra credit here you come!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For science the week of March 14th through 18th

For science this week, we will continue exploring a little deeper the types of energy introduced in class last week (electric, kinetic, nuclear, thermal, and chemical). We already spent time diving into kinetic energy and we won't spend a whole lot of time on nuclear energy (unless that shipment of enriched Uranium comes in). So that leaves chemical, electric and thermal energy. The ultimate goal is for students to create a design of a Rube Goldberg device which will incorporate each form of energy and pass it along. Thankfully, this device will not need to be built (I wish we could, but it would take the rest of the quarter)

Insights for this week's homework... (Week 3)

A whole list of energy articles to check out

Some energy slang words and where they came from.

Some energy puzzles do them for fun and show off what you know!

Just awful energy riddles I love them... you may not.

Some energy experiments that may give you some hot ideas.

I hope that helps give you a sea of ideas to use in science this week. Good Luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New homework website!

Students will be using a different website for some science homework activities in the weeks to come.


This link will take you there. It is up to you to experiment with healthy breakfasts and energy drinks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holy Homework Batman!!!

Rejoice! the entire 3rd quarter lineup of weekly homework assignments are right here at your fingertips! No more waiting for a week to get your next exciting installment of what your cranium yearns for.

Homework week 2

Homework week 3

Homework week 4

Homework week 5

Homework week 6

Homework week 7

Homework week 8

Homework week 9

Homework week 10

Behold the magical link to BrainPop

Here is the link to the index of BrainPops that we use in science class. From here you can choose the topic needed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week 1 Energy in all its forms

This week's science is all about ENERGY and all the forms that energy can take. One key concept (one that is sure to show up on a test) is that Energy can't be created or destroyed, it can just change form.

The forms of energy that we are studying this week are:

Nuclear (think nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs)
Electrical (wires and lightning)
Kinetic (energy of motion, like when you get hit in the nose by a Frisbee)
Chemical (gasoline in a car to an energy drink)
Thermal (heat)

Some homework suggestions...
Here is an interesting article about energy drinks
Here is another about burning energy while you sleep

Here is possible demo called the electric wand remember to ask a testable question like, "Does a longer wand work better?"

Good luck and remember, any questions... please email me at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get a jump on Quarter 3 homework!

Howdy everybody!
So all our wonderful Minnesota Snow is melting and it makes me a little sad because I am not finished with Winter just yet. Intersession Broomball class is no longer on ice, its being played in 2 feet of water!

For those NOT wishing to have to do a ton of homework on the first day back... here is week 1 homework that is due March 3rd

Quarter 3 Week 1

Weathering BrainPop

See you in March!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

week 8 links...

Hi there everyone... I was enjoying the January thaw and realized that I have no idea why we have a January thaw. There is no reason that things should warm up in the middle of winter every year. It is not El Nino nor El Nina so what does it happen? I am sure top minds are working on it even as we speak. If I learn more, I will get back to you... if you learn anything (or already know the answer) please let me know.

Week 8 brain pop link on Magnetism

Week 8 homework

This is the last week to turn late assignments in to any Sun house class. The universal due date for all late work is Friday Feb 4th.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Next weeks homework... in advance!

Hi there!
We are working on our formal lab this week using our Dry Ice investigation from last week as a way to ask a testable question, create a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, gather results and form a conclusion.

Here is week 7 homework

and here is the link to the brain pop video

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homework week 4 and 5

Hi there,
the holidays went by so fast I didn't have time to post the homework...

Week 4 Front
Week 4 back

Week 5 front
Week 5 back

week 5 Brain Pop