Class Journal: Notes and Reflections

For assignments, click on Science Notebook

1/5 Class Notes

First experiment: pour a bottle of seltzer water into a high plastic tube.
  • predict the level it will fill up to
  • what do you notice about the liquid? (bubbles are rising, etc)
  • do you think it will fill over?
  • put various items into it, and have students predict if they will sink or float (pennies, cork, kernels)
Journal: Where was the science?
I think the biggest element of today's class was the fact that we asked questions about everyday items: seltzer, kernels of corn, pennies, etc., to explore topics in science. This shows that the science is there: issues of volume, density, real science stuff, without expensive science lab equipment.
Thinking about fifth graders, and what type of science they would be into, I thought it was very helpful to see ways in which I can spark this inquiry state of mind by getting the students to ask questions about the things around them. In my classroom, the students learn about ecosystems, and we start with what they know--what's around them. If students learn about distant places and ecosystems that aren't accessible to them, they may learn a lot, but it might not transfer easily to other arenas--home, in nature, etc.
Whereas if they learn about the nature around them, and everyday objects, they are more likely to bring the same curiosity home and beyond the classroom.

1/19 Class Notes

Energy-->atoms moving
Rules for the dry ice experiment:
  • don't use screw-top containers
  • keep away from eyes
  • don't touch it
  • keep the door open so air can flow
Dry Ice Experiment: What do you know about dry ice from observation?
  • cold
  • gives off cold vapor
  • crystalized
  • roundish, 1" by 1/2"
  • reacts with pennies--turns it green
  • when adding low energy water in a small vial, it gives off cold vapor
  • adding high energy water, it gives off warm, dense vapor that creeps out of the container and spills over
  • placed in low energy water, it bubbles somewhat violently and gives off cold vapor
  • placed in high energy water, it gives off a warm, dense vapor that creeps along surfaces
  • aquarium with candles, dry ice and water added, the vapor causes the candles to go out well before the vapor reaches the flame
Comparing substances:
  • Similar in the following ways: colder than 0 degrees C, decrease in size when energy is added, when placed in water they decrease in size, slide across surfaces, contain oxygen, both have solid and gas stages, both have atoms,
  • Different in the following ways: dry ice is -73 C, ice is 0 C, dry ice has carbon, ice has hydrogen, dry ice sublimates, ice melts, reacts with pennies,
Journal: Where was the science?
Where indeed. This was really interesting to start out with a substance and have free reign to examine it, play with it, record data about it, mix it with other materials, etc. It fosters the attitude that you can look for the science in everything!
Today's class: Today was definitely a model in allowing a more unstructured curiosity envelop the students. If the goal was to allow the students to foster an interest in atoms and molecules, then the class was successful. If the goal was to teach the students about the properties of dry ice, then the class was somewhat successful.

1/20 Class Notes

  • STC: Science Technology for Children
  • Foss: Science kits
  • Delta Education: premier kit provider for the Northeast
  • Insights
Water cycle experiment: put water and salt in a small cup in a sealed ziplock bag and place in sunlight.
Density: fruit in water
Bottle with blue and white beads
  • white beads on top of blue beads in the middle of the liquid
  • Alcohol, white beads, blue beads, then salt walter
  • when shaken, the white beads rise and blue beads sink, then slowly comes back to what it was before
Hoberman's sphere to show density
Journal: Where was the science?
We were starting to think about why certain objects act a certain way in terms of their density, conductivity, and other properties.

1/21 Class Notes

Cartesian diver:
  • materials: bottle, water, dropper (pipette), nut/bolt
  • fill the dropper so that it barely floats, so the top of the dropper is at the top level of the water
  • and... SQUEEZE (watch what happens)
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  • the Cartesian diver sinks to the bottom
  • if you observe carefully, the volume of air in the dropper decreases, and fills a little more with water
  • Why does this happen? Because the air is compressed and gets denser, and allows space for the dropper to fill with more water
Pirate science:
  • why do pirates wear eye patches?
  • when attacking other ships, they often went from the bright sun to the dark deck below. If they wear an eye patch, they can take it off when they go below deck and have one eye adjusted to the dark
  • How do pirates know where they are? They use a compass. A compass points to magnetic north (around Greenland). The earth is tilted at 23/5 degrees. They can use stars at night. Polaris/North Star.
  • Clinometer/sextant: used to measure incline. Can be used to measure angles from north by pointing the straw at something and measuring what degree the string lands on. This tells you how many degrees you are away from the North Pole.
Journal: Where was the science?
Learning about the world, astrology, tools for navigation and eyesight. Themed science: pirates. This was so interesting to choose a theme--pirates--and find the science there. How do pirates navigate? Why do they wear eye patches? Even if it isn't totally organized (learning about eyesight and latitude and longitude in the same lesson?).

1/22 Class Notes

Sun Stick: Take measurements every hour to measure the sun's shadow
Straw caterpillar: take the straw cover and scrunch it up, then add water and watch it grow. Why does it grow? Because the molecules need to spread apart to absorb the water molecules.

Cheap science:
  • fortune teller fish-kids can come up with the own fortunes, they have to come up with a reason why it moves, and do experiments with a control to test out their theories. (It's made of cellulose, which responds to moisture)
  • crawfish: 10 legs, 6 antennae (used for smelling, tasting, feeling), red and brown kinds, depending where they come from (iron in the water), exoskeleton (hard skeleton on the outside), kids would examine what kingdom, examine how they get water.
  • Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
  • Tarantula
  • Beetle larvae
  • prehistoric shark tooth
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  • A block of foam and a block of aluminum, place ice on top. the ice melts faster on the aluminum one because it conducts faster
Journal: Where was the science?
Learning about animals: adaptations, number of legs, how they breathe, classification of animals. It's great for students to learn about animals by observation. Learning by doing, rather than from books.