Bug Lady Ms. Johnstone Rules!
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My AI Lab

April 11

Jim “The Dude” Pire is a genius in a digital lab, cooking up AI images to suit my scientist/teacher personality. I like this one in particular!

Buoyancy – Notebook

December 12

Scalar, Vector, Displacement

October 10

Scabs, scars and radioactive slime – Happy Halloween

October 27

 PA181147 PA181145

To make the best oozing wounds, you need:


  Red Food Coloring

  Kleenex Tissue

  Cocoa Powder or Ground Cinnamon

First, smear some clear Vaseline as a base.  Tear a single ply of tissue and pat some tissue into the Vaseline.  Then add a smear of Vaseline tinted with red food coloring down the middle to be the bloody part.  Then take a Q-tip and dab the cocoa powder around the edges and a little in the middle for the bruised and scabby look!


For glow in the dark “radioactive” looking slime:

Remove the wick from a yellow highlighter and soak it in a jar of water.  Mix 6 0z. of CLEAR elmer’s school glue to 1 cup of the highlighter water.  In another jar, mix Borax (laundry booster powder) to water until it is saturated (no more will dissolve).   Mix equal parts of the highlighter/glue mixture to the Borax/water mixture and shake or stir for about 1 minute.  The slime will be at it’s best consistency after about 45 minutes and will keep for a good long while if stored in a baggie in the refrigerator.  IMG_20151028_111247 IMG_20151028_111309


Variables – whatever works!

September 12


Welcome 7th GradeTransformers!

September 3

transform evolve (1)

To the new scientists in Room 42, I’m excited for all that we are about to do in our class.  I know that each of you will bring your best effort. Let’s do this!

Hammer and Feather

September 1

Thank you – Transformers rock!

May 20


Dinner With a Scientist

May 20

I had the best time with my guests.  Great dinner, interesting speakers and presenters, and cool geeky folk of all kinds.


Periodic Table – Groups (Families)

May 7

periodic table


The periodic table is organized into periods and families (groups). Each horizontal row is a different period, and each column of the periodic table is a different family.  In the sections below, you will learn more about each family.

Alkali Metals

The first family is the Alkali Metals (group 1). The elements in this family are lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb), Cesium (Cs), and Francium (Fr). The elements in this family are very reactive metals that do not occur freely in nature. These metals have only one electron in their outer shell. As with all metals, the alkali metals are malleable, ductile, and are good conductors of heat and electricity. The alkali metals are softer than most other metals. Cesium and francium are the most reactive elements in this group. Alkali metals can explode if they are exposed to water. Their uses include batteries, ceramics, medicine, agriculture, glass, soap, catalysts, and photocells.

Alkaline Earth Metals

The alkaline earth elements are metal elements found in the second group of the periodic table. All alkaline earth elements are very reactive. Because of their reactivity, the alkaline metals are not found free in nature. The elements of this family are Beryllium (B), Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Strontium (Sr), Barium (Ba), and Radium (Ra). Their uses include spacecraft, missiles, aircraft, life forms for bones and shells, flares, fireworks, crimson color, medical applications, and treating cancer.

Transition Metals

The 38 elements in groups 3 through 12 of the periodic table are called “transition metals”. As with all metals, the transition elements are both ductile and malleable, and conduct electricity and heat. There are three noteworthy elements in the transition metals family. These elements are iron, cobalt, and nickel, and they are the only elements known to produce a magnetic field. Their uses include steel, batteries, ceramics, magnets, special glasses, jewelry, photography, and electrical conductors.

Boron Family

The Boron Family is family 13, and has the elements Boron (B), Aluminum (Al), Gallium (Ga), Indium (In), and Thallium (Tl). All elements in the boron family are metals with the exception of boron, which is a metalloid. Some of the uses of the elements in this family include heat resistant alloys, airplanes, soda cans, rat and ant poisons, and detecting infrared radiation.

Carbon Family

The carbon family consists of the five elements that make up Group 14 of the periodic table: carbon (C), silicon(Si) , germanium (Ge), tin (Sn), and lead (Pb). The family is particularly interesting because it consists of one nonmetal (carbon), two metals (tin and lead), and two metalloids (silicon and germanium). (A metalloid is an element that has some of the properties of both metals and nonmetals.) Some uses include steel, filters, glass, semiconductors, coating for steel cans, solder and shielding against radiation, and batteries.

Nitrogen Family

The nitrogen family consists of the five elements that make up Group 15 of the periodic table: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), and bismuth (Bi). The elements in this family are strikingly different from each other in both physical properties and chemical behavior. Nitrogen is a nonmetallic gas; phosphorus is a solid nonmetal; arsenic and antimony are metalloids; and bismuth is a typical metal. Some uses include forming most of the atmosphere (nitrogen), fertilizers, detergents, poison, semiconductors, hardens lead, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fuses.

Oxygen Family

The oxygen family consists of the elements that make up group 16 on the periodic table: oxygen (O), sulfur (S), selenium (Se), tellurium(Te) , and polonium (Po). The elements are quite different from each other. Oxygen is a gaseous nonmetal; sulfur and selenium are solid nonmetals; tellurium is a solid metalloid; and polonium is a solid metal. Uses include supporting life (oxygen), matches, gunpowder, medicines, photoelectric cells, TV cameras, coloring of glass and ceramics, and thermoelectric devices.


The halogens are five non-metallic elements found in group 17 of the periodic table:  fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), astatine (At). The term “halogen” means “salt-former” and compounds containing halogens are called “salts”. The halogens exist, at room temperature, in all three states of matter:

  • Solid- Iodine, Astatine
  • Liquid- Bromine
  • Gas- Fluorine, Chlorine

Some uses include refrigerants, water purification, bleaches, poisons, necessary in humans (sodium).

Noble Gases

The six noble gases are found in group 18 of the periodic table: helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and radon (Rn). These elements were considered to be inert gases until the 1960’s, because they are not very reactive and do not form compounds readily. They are very stable elements. Some uses include balloons, deep sea diving, lighting, powerful lamps, bubble chambers, and treatment of cancer.

Rare Earth Metals

The rare earths are metals found in the two rows of elements located below the main body of the periodic table.  There are two blocks of rare earths, the lanthanide series and the actinide series.  Sometimes only the lanthanides, and not the actinides, are classified as rare earths. Several of the lanthanides form during the fission of uranium and plutonium.  All of the actinides are dense radioactive metals that are highly electropositive. They tarnish readily in air and combine with most nonmetals.


The earliest stage in the lifecycle of the Bug Lady has been traced to the Midwest in the early 1990s, where elementary students near the Illinois State University campus were presented with live insects from the ISU Entomology Lab by an inspired graduate student.

Wings unfurled, she expanded her range as Associate Director of Education for Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences in Peoria. Bug Lady appeared frequently in school outreach and after school enrichment programs, summer camps, senior homes, and occasionally on the local news. In 2001, she served as President of the Peoria Academy of Sciences, reviving the Entomology section and encouraging girls to pursue careers in science.

She then migrated to the west coast, not unlike the Monarch butterfly, to bask in the California sun and tend to her newly hatched larva (baby Sophie). “In my mind and my heart, I’ve always been the Bug Lady, not so much for the knowledge I’ve acquired regarding insects, but more for the feeling that I’m in a constant state of metamorphosis – ever changing.”

Now, after a long diapause, the imago of Bug Lady has recently been sited in Alameda summer programs along with her assistant, Bug Gurl. She is taking flight in cyberspace to share her love of insects, science and life in general with enthusiasts of all ages.