Archive for the ‘SERC Home School Class Registration’ Category

Home School Sneak Peek for Programs Spring 2014


This post is an early preview of the home school classes we’ll be offering for the 5-12 year old students (and one workshop for 10-13’s) this Spring at SERC. We are transitioning to a new registration system (yeah!) so registration will not begin until February 7th at 9 am, and it will be entirely online. You may download the paper form of this preview here:Spring 2014 Elementary-Middle grades

Please let me know if you have any questions (McDonaldK@si.edu)


Wednesdays: 5-7 year olds 9:00 – 10:00 am, 8-12 year olds 10:30 am – Noon and 1:30-3 pm.


Thursdays: 5-7 year olds 9:00 – 10:00 am, 8-12 year olds 10:30 am – Noon     

Hydraulics Workshops (1/2 Day): 10-13 yr. olds 9 am-Noon

Course Descriptions and Dates

You must sign up for an entire block of classes. If you cannot make a class you will be asked to make up the material with the instructor, either in person or through e-mail at McDonaldK@si.edu . Class content builds upon each lesson and it’s important for students to keep up with the course.

 Lab Science Block  (March 5th-April 3rd) 

  • Introduction to a Science Lab: Tools and Safety (March 5th or 6th) We will introduce students to commonly used items in a laboratory such as Erlenmeyer flasks, graduated cylinders, tongs, beakers, scales, and more. We’ll also discuss lab safety and how to use these tools.
  • Microscopes: Use, Scale, and Drawing (March 19th or 20th) Students will learn the difference between compound and dissecting scopes and how to use a dissecting scope properly. They will learn how to draw to scale (8-12’s) using a microscope and practice their skills.
  • Chemistry Lab (April 2nd or 3rd) We will hands-on lab with equipment learned in the previous classes, including testing soil and water pH, finding properties of unknown substances, and making mixtures.


Ornithology Block (April 16th-May 8th)

  • Feathers and External Anatomy of Birds (April 16th or 17th) Students will learn the major groups of feathers on the external anatomy of a bird and we’ll look at feathers under microscopes as well as discuss feather function.
  • Internal Anatomy and Eggs (April 30th or May 1st) We’ll explore the internal anatomy of birds that makes them adapted for flight. We will also examine their eggs, the layers of an egg, and conduct some experiments.
  • Flight and Design (May 7th or 8th) In this class we’ll discover how birds fly, the mechanisms of flight, and try our hand at designing gliders for flying.

Hydraulics Workshop (May 28th and 29th) When you sign up you must attend both 1/2 day workshops. 

  • Part 1: In part one of this workshop students will be introduced to the physics of hydraulics and pneumatics, liquid viscosity, and Pascal’s principles. We’ll begin asking some questions about application of hydraulics and designing our own simple machine. This will be different from the previous “blue crab class” in that we will be designing lifts, claws, and complex arms. Parents are encouraged to attend and help out.
  • Part 2: Students will create their own simple machine using hydraulics. This project can be taken home at the end of the class. Parents are encouraged to attend and help out in this class too.

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To register for the SERC home school Fall/Winter 2013-14 classes please click the following link:

http://si.doubleknot.com/event/space-available/serc-home-school-classes-fall-winter-2013-14/25937 m

NOTE: WHEN REGISTERING, USE THE DAYS AND TIMES LISTED IN THE TITLE OF EACH CLASS, NOT THE COLUMN THAT SAYS “SCHEDULE” (see below). The days listed in the final registration column of “schedule” are a range of days due to how I had to enter the data online. IGNORE this if it says Wednesday-Sunday (the class listed will be the day listed in the title). Times in the time column are correct.

Class RegistrationClick on each green plus sign to add a class.

PARENTS: If you are registering for the parent’s class you must register yourself as a “participant” so that you can sign up for the class.

participant registraiton

If you have difficulty registering please be patient. Because of the high volume of those registering the software may be slow.

If you have immediate concerns call (443) 482.2388 or e-mail McDonaldK@si.edu.

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SERC Summer & Fall/Winter 2013-14: 

Chesapeake Bay Science-Student Documentary Course

(Ages 13-16 yrs.)

 Instructor: Karen McDonald, Education Outreach Coordinator

McDonaldK@si.edu, (443)482.2388


Course Information

In this course students will select a topic, related to SERC research, they will research the topic, create a story board, interview researchers, record interviews, narrate their documentary, edit the documentary and post it to the SERC YouTube channel. We’ll also have a special showing at SERC for parents, students, and staff.


Course times: Every other Thursday, 1:30-4 pm every other week. These correspond with the same Thursdays as the home school classes for 5-7 and 8-12 year olds.


Registration: Will be online only starting at 9 am on July 23rd. a live link for registration will be posted on this blog. We must have at least 10 students to make this class.


NOTE: Students are required to register for the entire block of courses below. Due to the nature of this course class material builds upon each subject. If students miss a class it will be incumbent upon them to make up materials with their instructor.


 Registration: The cost of the course is $153 for 9 classes.

 Texts:   “Shut up and Shot, Documentary Guide.” Anthony Q. Artis. Amazon.com $12-$15.

 Class Updates: Course materials, class updates, weather policy, and homework will be posted on the SERC Home School Blog at:  https://serchomeschool.wordpress.com. Parents should register with this site for e-mail notifications about the course. 

Course Outline

The topics for each day are flexible and may overlap or change depending on the rate that students progress with their film.

September 12th   Smithsonian science and the anatomy of a good documentary.

September 26th Choosing topics and story boarding.

October 10th Creating interview questions and how to interview.

October 24th  Creating a time line for the video, locations, and needs.

November 7th  How to use video equipment, edit, and  put together a documentary.

November 21st  Filming specific topics, interviews, and editing.

December 5th  Filming specific topics, interviews, and editing.

December 19th  Critique of product by classmates.

January 9th Final project showing.

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This is a sneak peak of the classes for Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 for ages 5-7 and 8-12 yrs.

Another announcement will be posted for the 13-16 yr. old classes.

REGISTRATION WILL BEGIN ON TUESDAY, JULY 23RD AT 9 AM. I will post a live registration link on this website.

SERC Home School Courses

Primary Grades, Ages 5-7 and 8-12 yrs.

Course Descriptions

Class Times: 5-7 year olds (Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9-10 am)

8-12 year olds (Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 am-Noon and 1:30-3 pm Wednesdays).

You must sign up for an entire block of classes. If you cannot make a class you will be asked to make up the material with the instructor, either in person or through e-mail at McDonaldK@si.edu . Class content builds upon each lesson and it’s important for students to keep up with the course.

 Ecosystems on the Edge

For this series we’ll be watching a short videos, produced for and about SERC, and then doing hands-on activities to learn about SERC research.

  • Steam Health (September 11th & 12th)

We’ll begin by watching a short video about stream health and how it’s measured. Next we’ll handle benthic invertebrates from a local pond, and sort them into categories as to what type of water quality they live in by playing aquatic bug bingo.

  • Blue Crabs-Top Predators in Peril (September 25th & 26th)

Blue crabs are a research specialty here at SERC. We’ll watch the introductory video about these top predators and learn about their decline, then we’ll visit with live blue crabs and try our hand at crabbing.

  • Nutrient Odyssey (October 9th & 10th)

First we’ll learn about research conducted by our nutrient lab regarding watersheds and how water carries nutrients into the Bay. Next we’ll build our own wetland in a pan and create riparian buffers to see if we can prevent runoff.

Rocks, Gems, and Minerals

  • Rocks (October 23rd and 24th)

This class will focus on the rock cycle, handling and identifying different types of rocks, and how dimensional geology works.

  • Gems and Minerals (November 6th & 7th)

Students will become mineralogists and learn the different geometric structures of minerals using 3-D models. We’ll then do an agate craft and handle some real minerals; as well as exploring common household minerals such as toothpaste!

  • Crystals (November 20th & 21st)

We’ll explore the world of crystals by continuing our exploration of their 3-D shapes and how they grow. We’ll try growing our own and then we’ll break open geodes to take home. There is a $5 fee per student for take home geodes.

Science and Math in Action

  • Patterns in Nature (December 4th & 5th)

Nature is built on mathematical principles. We’ll learn how to find the main patterns that repeat in nature and the math behind them.

  • Reading and Making Graphs (December 18th & 19th)

Making good graph is essential in science. We’ll explore the different types of graphs scientists use, their parts, and how to read them. Next we’ll create our own graphs and label them properly, including line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts.

  • Mean, Median, Mode, and Simple T-tests (January 8th & 9th)

Some of the most basic measurements in science include being able to find mean, median, and mode, as well as conducting simple t-tests. Students will learn these concepts and apply them to simple data sets that are provided.


Biomimicry Science Fair

  • Introduction to Biomimicry (January 22nd & 23rd)

Students will be introduced to the field of Biomimicry, which is learning from nature to solve problems. They will do hands-on activities to learn how we can mimic sharks and butterflies to create such things as cell phones and bacteria proof surfaces. This will also inspire them to get ready to choose a topic for their science fair.

  • Choosing a Science Fair Project and How to Make a Poster (February 5th & 6th )

Parents and students will attend this workshop on scientific design, how to choose a topic for their science fair, conducting experiments, and what their poster presentations should look like.

  • Science Fair Presentations (February 26th Times TBA)

Participants will present their biomimicry research in this fun science poster presentation. We will have guest scientists and visitors. New this year, we’ll also be awarding prizes for the competition for the two ages groups.


Special Class:

Science Resources for Home School Parents (February 19th)

At SERC we receive many requests regarding the types of microscopes we use, where to buy dissection organisms, how to find age appropriate teaching materials, and science resources. In this course our educators will work together to help you find the resources you need to teach science at home, either to complement our home school classes or if you’re working independently.


5-7 year olds:                                                      8-12 year olds:

Ecosyt. on the Edge  (3 classes)    $36      Ecost. On the Edge (3 classes)  $42

Rocks, Gems, Minerals (3 classes) $41    Rocks, Gems, Minerals (3 classes)  $47

(rock fee includes purchase of geode for cracking)

Science and Math (3 classes)       $36        Science and Math (3 classes)  $42

Science Fair (2 classes+Fair)       $31        Science Fair (2 classes + Fair)  $37

Special Parent Workshop: $14 (10-11:30 am)

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