Anyway, I started to think about planning and how I was going to start off the year. Math and language arts popped up into my mind but then.....science. UGH! Science is just so hard in 5th grade. You see, I teach at a Math/Science/Technology magnet so there is a bit of added pressure to be good at science...and quite frankly I am not. So I have to start the year off on a good note, getting the kids to really understand the scientific process, variables, et al...
Immediately I thought of something I did at the end of last year, thanks to my friend Ari, The Science Penguin. After a dismal showing at the Science Fair, I realized that my students just didn't understand the entire scientific process the way that I thought they should. They got the basics, but really setting up an experiment and knowing WHY it happened weren't quite cemented. So I was stalking pinterest looking for something easy that would help them to understand a bit better (since it was the last week of school and all), and I came across this pin. After
She has this awesome pack (which you can get from her TpT store), with this great Skittles activity in it. Basically, the kids set up an entire experiment, going through the scientific process, making hypotheses, crafting a procedure, conducting the experiment, and writing up a conclusion, using Skittles. It was exactly what I needed. So I got ahold of the pack and materials, and we were off and running in my room.
The kids LOVED this. I mean, they were so into it. We went through the whole process on the recording sheet (which INGENUOUSLY she has made without a back on it so that it can go in the science notebooks.)
The kids set up the experiment in their science groups, took the times themselves, created their own graphs, and then came to their own conclusions. It really was fabulous.
We then talked about WHY it all happened. Why did they think the Skittles dissolved faster in the hot water than in the cold water...and surprisingly some of them remembered our earlier experiments with uneven heating and molecules from Earth Science. It all just came together.
Next, we listed our variables to see if this was a valid experiment. I used this sheet that I showed you at the beginning of last school year (in this post). It really went over well. I think that I am going to really have to be diligent about using this in this upcoming school year. It seemed to really cement the issue of variables for the kids. Click here to download the variable sheet.
So the first week back to school, my plan is to do this experiment again. I am going to load them up with all of this background knowledge on the scientific process, focusing on the WHY this year, so that when we do go into the Science Lab, they know what I want. (Oh, I did forget to mention that the pack Ari sent had more than just this experiment...it really lays out the scientific process fabulously! And, no, she didn't ask me to write any of this...I just am :)) And then, come Science Fair, we knock it out of the park.
How do you plan your science time so that the kids really understand what it is that they are doing?