Science Classes


Astronomy – Students have worked toward understanding Earth place in space, life cycle and variety of stars and galaxies, the sun as a star, and technology used in astronomy.  Class research has focused on the electromagnetic spectrum, telescopes, data types and light pollution..

1 year course
Biology 1 year course
Computer Science – Students worked at individual pace on learning computer programming language of their choice.  Students checked progress daily in a journal, meet with each other and teacher on progress.  Final project for the semester was to create and present an original code that solved a real-world problem of their choice.  Second semester students used the online MOOC from Harvard to take and complete their Computer Science 101 course.  Students also helped to design a future computer science and technology class as well as write the grant proposal to fund the purchase of needed components. 1/2 year course

Earth Science – Students have been working in the areas of weather, geological features (earthquakes, mountain building, volcanoes, and erosion), the atmosphere and oceans.  The students have looked at case studies and investigated the Cascadia subduction zone and Cascadia Earthquake, the process and effects of strong thunderstorms and tornadoes, the Yellowstone volcano, types of minerals found in our area and around the world, creating and using scientific models, local and regional weather patterns, and created two classroom educational displays for future students.

1 year course
Environmental Science – Students worked this semester on the concept of environmental science, the process for evaluating an environmental issue, types of common environmental problems, and how to evaluate and use resources.  Class research was focused on weekly article case studies and individual research in to topics of their choice. 1/2 year course
Middle School Science – Students have worked in the areas of physical science (light, energy, structure and interaction of matter), astronomy (Earth place in space, galaxies, stars, technology, light pollution).  Class research focused on effects of light pollution and community light pollution survey, participation in Globe at Night program, constellations and objects in the sky, food based chemistry, and uses of energy.  A portion of class was also dedicated to expand and practice with programming languages and writing computer code. 1 year course
Physics – Students have been working on energy, motion, light, electricity and magnetism, and use of technology in problem solving.  Class research and projects have included building and testing various styles of ‘egg drop’ challenges, engineering and testing windmill blades for energy production, building and future testing and use of a radio telescope, electricity and magnetism studies of the Sun and its effect on the Earth, use of light in imaging and telescopes, and creating and using scientific models and simulations.. 1 year course

Optional Science Activities

Globe at Night – The middle school students started working with this international citizen science project this year to aid their studies of the local night sky.  The program is open to anyone and is focused on generating data to allow for study into the effects of light pollution on the night sky.  Currently the students have conducted a light survey of Ukiah and are working to develop a presentation to the community about the effects of light pollution, areas they believe Ukiah could improve its risk and preserve its sky.  Future work will be done and research cooperatively done with other students in the state for comparison.  Currently the student work has caught the attention of the director of the Globe at Night program as well as the International Dark Sky Association and their work maybe highlighted on the organization websites and at regional conventions.

Large optical telescope – The astronomy club of Tri-Cities donated a large 13 inch telescope to the school and community.  The telescope is being used for evening viewing and will be accessible throughout the summer.  It is hoped to become a community tool for all interested to use and enjoy.  Several other smaller telescopes are also available for use and star viewing events will be open to any interested.

NITARP – This program connects students to a working astronomer and takes them through the astronomy research process over the course of a full calendar year.  Mrs. Orr was selected as a teacher mentor to the program and with that opportunity she can share the experience with interested and motivated students.  This year the area of study is in the identification and evaluation of young stars in a small area near the constellation Cepheus.  More information about the team work, the program in general, and past research done by Mrs. Orr and others as part of the NITARP program can be found on its website.

RadioJove – The students of the physics class are the primary target but all students are invited to participate.  This program/project combines the build and use of circuitry that allows for monitoring of radio emissions from nearby celestial objects such as Jupiter and the Sun.  The materials were provided by a grant/award for classroom innovation by the Donors Choose organization.  Construction of the telescope has started and will continue over the summer with plans for use in the coming academic years as well as a tool available to interested community members.

Skynet Junior Scholars – This program is available to all students and provides them with access to active research grade telescopes around the world for their own research and use.  The program trains, educates, and provided telescope time to students through the school/4H program.  Students are free to connect with other around the country in a supervised and supportive online forum and image gallery supported by working astronomers and active hobbyists.

THEMIS/GEONS – This is a group started by a NASA funded project to study the Earth’s magnetic field and the influence of the Sun.  The official scientific period of study has concluded but active research still continues.  The bulk of the research is done by teachers and students from participating schools across the US (including Ukiah) and is under the guidance of working astronomers from the University of California at Berkeley and their Space Sciences Lab.  Current research Ukiah is participating in is looking in to solar storm tracking and propagation around the Earth’s magnetic field.  Students are invited to participate.  Results will tentatively presented at the 2017 AAS in Texas as well as the 2017 AGU convention in San Francisco.



Phone: 541-427-3731 Fax: 541-427-3730
201 Hill Street, PO Box 218
Ukiah, Oregon 97880

2015 © Ukiah Cougars --- by Jop van der Zee