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Project Night: The Desert

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Whether it be a life-sized camel created out of paper cache and recycled materials, a beautiful desert mural, a Bedouin tent, or a giant colorful green cactus, there were many highlights of Project Night at Solomon Schechter Academy. This year, Project Night focused on the desert theme and family and friends were amazed by the science projects and beautiful artwork displays. K-1 students learned about the saguaro cactus and its life as a "cactus hotel" for many desert animals. The class conducted experiments to demonstrate cactus adaptations such as water absorption and retention, and the role of the spines in protecting it from animals, wind, and sun. K-1 students also learned about three desert arachnids and compared their characteristics to determine similarities and differences. They graphed their results in both studies. Our Grade 3-4 students learned about the extreme harsh climate that can be found in North American deserts. They discovered the unique ways that plants and animals have adapted in order to survive in the desert habitat. For example, plants that grow in a desert store water in their stem and grow very spaced out so that their roots can extend to find water. Cacti have spines that protect them from being eaten by animals and their waxy outer covering keeps moisture from escaping. Each student researched a different desert plant and animal. Detailed watercolor paintings were completed to depict their plant while life size animals were created out of recycled materials. Cardboard cacti were created along with detailed murals to show the desert during the day as well as nighttime. Students also graphed the slow growth of the Saguaro cacti found in the Sonoran desert. They were surprised to learn that a ten year old plant might only be an inch and a half tall. Students also investigated camels of Middle Eastern deserts and learned that camels store fat in their humps rather than water. Grade 5 students compared and contrasted desert characteristics in the form of a wall size Venn Diagram. They studied the climate, people and culture, plants, animals and physical features of deserts. Additionally, they graphed weather temperatures across 24 world deserts. They compared these deserts in terms of rain fall, temperatures, and location. Students created an oversized map and identified the location of the world's deserts. Fifth graders also had fun sharing their desert inventions for the Connecticut Invention Convention with their friends and family. For Judaics, the children learned about Bedouin culture and tasted Bedouin foods, made Bedouin blankets and pillows, and created animals of the deserts that lined the wall before entering a large Bedouin tent. We thank the outstanding SSA teachers staff for putting together another exceptional Project Night at SSA!

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