Home   Fourth/Fifth Grade   Ms. Zapata’s 4/5 Class Field Trip to Excelsior Science Workshop

Ms. Zapata’s 4/5 Class Field Trip to Excelsior Science Workshop

Warning: some of these photographs are of fish dissections and show fish blood and guts.

On Wednesday 3/20 Ms. Z’s class took a trip to the Excelsior Science Workshop. It’s brand-new and just opened last week. It is run by the same group that does the Mission Science Workshop, but we’re lucky that this is a lot closer for us- just a 10 minute walk away on San Juan Ave.

Our assignment was to learn about how living systems breathe, using fish (ocean perch) as our example. First we examined the fish from the outside to see what we could learn.

Timyas, Neiman, and Raimon worked together to observe their fish.


We looked inside the fishes’ mouths and felt their outsides. One person guessed that the guts of the fish were on the underside, because that side was squishier than the top.


Next we looked at the gills and counted them. We used scissors to cut out a gill so we could examine it more carefully.

Dan the Science Workshop Man led us through a discussion of the gills and how they work. We talked about how a fish’s heart and gills work similarly to how a human’s heart and lungs work- the gills and lungs bring oxygen into the bloodstream, and the heart pumps the blood throughout the body.

Next Dan showed us the technique for dissecting a fish.


Raishad is working carefully to open his fish without damaging the insides.


Julia and Julienne are working together on dissecting their fish.


Here’s what the insides look like: pretty squishy! The heart is a small dark red blob near the fish’s head, right next to the feathery dark red gills.


Some of the ocean perches were female carrying egg sacs. When we were done with the dissections, we put some of the egg sacs into petri dishes and used food coloring to highlight the eggs.

Lena is using a microscope to examine the eggs dyed blue.


We were also free to explore the other stations at the Workshop. The bubble table was really popular.


Some of the many other stations included a Tube Phone, a magnet table, build your own pinball machine, an air hockey table, musical instruments, and a Van de Graaff generator.

Dan mentioned that the Workshop is going to have some free drop-in afternoons over the summer, so stay tuned!


Ms. Zapata's 4th & 5th grade class


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