Blog Posts

Mystery Lurks Just Beneath the Surface

Hillsboro students on a nature walk spotted a mysterious substance in the shallows of the Great Blue Heron’s pond on campus. 

Initial reports were concerning to school officials. The terms “monstrous” and “of alien origin” were leaked. In an effort to calm fears, an expedition of elementary and middle school students set up a mobile science lab to investigate. 

Students set up a safe perimeter before entering. At the water’s edge, a large decayed log laid enveloped in the undulating grasp of the unknown shapeshifting form. Students discussed their strategy. They needed an up close look, but there were so many questions. 

Is it a plant, animal, fungus or alien life form?

Is it poisonous, or harmful to the pond habitat?

Why is it here now and why has it never been seen before?

Can we keep it as a class pet?

Rather than sacrificing a student to wade in and sample the subject, students brainstormed to partially pull the log on shore carefully to take their sample as not to disturb the massive structure. The technique proved successful.

Students recorded their observations in an attempt to do further research to identify the substance. They developed a list of descriptive search terms to start an independent student web search.





Fractal star patterned



Attached to wood

Moves with the water




Stay tuned for a report of the students’ findings next week. Research with us and share your family’s results with us on our Facebook page! Isn’t it cool how the world is our school?