So to start off Wednesday was our principal’s 50th birthday so we had to do up his office windows with signs and streamers and at the morning assembly make a little bit of a big deal. We all had little signs and those little roll up things you blow and I made a big 50 out of balloons for him to hold.
He had been teasing me about the fact that we had not made anything explode yet in class so for his birthday we had a go at rockets. We have been learning about phases of matter and have covered solids and liquids and so this then was the introduction to gases. We saw that CO2 is heavy since the balloon falls and that it can put out a candle. We saw that H2 is light since it floats and then we went to the gym for the big finale. Many of the kids were fascinated by the floating balloons and I may just have to make more to explore. I doubt very much if most of them have ever seen a floating balloon in person. Helium is expensive in Kotzebue and nonexistent in the villages.
So we all filed into the gym along with Mr. Franklin who brought the first graders to watch too. The first balloon we lit and as expected it gave a loud boom and a small flash of light and heat. I used the other to fill a plastic water bottle. The hope was that the force of the explosion would be directed out and propel it as a rocket. Good theory and had there been something with some mass like a cork or water or something to be pushed out the back it may have worked. As it was the energy did not move it at all although the heat was enough to melt and deform half the bottle.
Regardless the kids got a kick out of it and hopefully have the take away that although most gases look the same they are different.
After school we set up for the school’s Thanksgiving feast. But before that there almost an hour of quarterly awards for attendance, student of the month, sports, recognition of various people and a heart felt talk about parents responsibility to help their children, the ‘elephant in the room’ as our principal calls it. Then there were shirts to pass out to the adults and the students from 5th to high school got new shoes donated I believe by a church in the lower 48.
Then finally it was time to eat. ‘We’ the staff who was left, started serving the food. At this point several of our staff had already flown out, which was in question due to recent weather (2 day blizzard with high winds and heavy snow. See picture below.) My roommate had been put on standby and then told that the plane was rerouted but finally it all worked out which is good because now I can work on my fox hide and skull and all the other projects without having to worry that I am making too much mess or smell… as long as I hide the evidence before Sunday.
After the food was cleaned up there was a basketball game, high school vs city league. I did not stay through to the end but did enjoy watching for a while despite the several kids who really wanted to play tag with me in the stands.