Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What's Going on in the Lab? Effervescing Tablets!

So glad to see you again with my Wednesday updates.
Most Wednesdays you can find some updates about what we are doing in the lab!
It seems like we are doing a lot and how on earth can we do so much?
I have three grade levels. That's one reason.
Second reason is simple: As hard as I try I cannot keep every class moving at the same rate, so inevitably I end up with a class or two that is ahead of others. One third grade group might be finishing volume with popcorn while another has started experimenting with flood barriers. The same thing is happening in the other two grade levels so I may have 6-7 different challenges going on at the SAME TIME! That is why this Wednesday update is jam-packed!

So recently we tried EFFERVESCING TABLETS!
Say that three times fast!

STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!

So, here's the background....
third graders need some help with understanding the Scientific Method.
Jeez, I need help with it, too!
When you start talking about variables, controlled ones, dependent ones, and independent ones it makes my head spin.
So, anyway, with eight year olds it is really fun to get them to understand controlled variables and how to make the experiments fair.
To keep them interested I have to make the experiments super cool!

So, we start with this:
STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!
Usually, when they walk in and see trays set up like this I hear someone say, "Oh yay, we are doing real science today!"

For this Scientific Method exploration we first had to learn the word Effervescing.
It means a bubbling effect due to a chemical reaction and the result is dissolving. Think Alka Seltzer and you will totally get it!
Then we set out to learn how to fill in lab sheets....

The question was, "What will make the effervescing tablet dissolve faster?"
The little sweetie above wrote, "I predict saliva or some sort of acid will make it faster."
Yeah, cause we are definitely going to use our saliva..... but he was thinking!

After forming a hypothesis we set about to test the effervescing tablets. This was a very planned procedure with everyone doing it at the SAME TIME because these are third graders and they could not be turned loose with fizzing and bubbling and watching the clock at the same time.
STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!

STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!

STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!
We timed the dissolving by using a very large stopwatch from a website I found. Here's the link: Stopwatch
The kids recorded their results.
STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!
 And in the end they worded a conclusion to the experiment.
STEM Challenge: This is a great experiment and design challenge. Students experiment and then design new things to test! Blog post with photos!
Here's the most popular wording of our conclusion, "Hot water is faster. But it will hurt you if you drink it!"
Overall, this was a big hit with my third graders! If I were using this with older students I would give them stop watches and let them time their own tests and I would allow them to choose what to test. Personally, I think dissolving it in coffee would be best for me!

So, that's what we have been up to lately? What is going on with your science class?
Join me next Wednesday for more:
Next up:
Catapults
Marble Runs
Bungee Jumps
Flood Barriers

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