Fall SAVY 2016 (Day 2) – What’s the Matter?
We began our morning reading one of my favorite books, which quickly became a favorite of the students too, called 11 Experiments That Failed. The students howled with laughter as we read the first scenario, and then they cried out for more, so I read the next one too. This book reinforces the permission to see failure as opportunity, and it promotes academic risk-taking as well as questioning and learning. We also read What is a Scientist? After reading these books, we were able to discuss the steps of the Scientific method the characteristics of a scientist.
Next, we turned our discussion to matter and defined what it is. We began a concept map of matter, with the first two components being that matter has mass and takes up space. I introduced the three main categories of matter as defined by scientist; liquids, solids and gases, and briefly introduced plasma as another form of matter. Then, we got our science lab journals and headed outside for a matter hunt. Students called out matter until it truly hit them all that matter is really everywhere! They were busy writing and drawing pictures of the matter they found with each turn of the eye. In the beginning a few were not sure if plants were made up of matter or if things that were not hard were made of matter, but by the time we finished our matter walk, each student had a clear understanding that everything is made of matter.
When we returned to the classroom, we discussed our findings, and added to our information anchor charts. Miss Holly and I then let students break into partners and each partner group got a variety of different items and were asked to sort their items into whatever categories made sense to them. Each group had a mixture of liquids, solids, and one group had a plastic bottle with soda to represent gas. Each group sorted by different physical categories, which was interesting. Categories varied from heavy and not-heavy, hard and not-hard, squishy, soft and bumpy/pointy, and liquid. Each group presented to the others and then we discussed how matter can be classified in different ways. Students were then led into an analysis discussion where they were asked to look at their items and see if they could identify properties of solids, liquids, gases. To aid in this discussion, I produced a water bottle and some containers of various sizes and asked students to take turns emptying the water from the water bottle into the containers. Students then came up with properties of liquids as being pourable, and that they took on the shape of the container they were poured into as well. One student said that you can poke your finger down into a liquid. Students then were able to identify properties of solids as having opposite qualities of liquids. Gases were still a challenge; however, for the moment.
Finally, we gathered for a lab activity to discover properties of gases. Students were asked to observe the liquid in the soda bottle and then each student got to shake up the bottle and observe what happened. It was incredible to see how excited they were to identify bubbles, and a ring of bubbles. They were quite articulate in describing things such as: the bubbles are coming up from the bottom and are popping inside and getting more intense as they move around. They also noticed that if left alone, the bubbles stopped appearing and moving around. They, then understood gas! We drew pictures and described this lab step by step. Next, I asked students to take a deep breath, hold it and let it go slowly. I asked what happened and students said their lungs filled up with air. We talked about how air is a gas. Then I blew up a balloon and let it go! Another example of a gas. They were able, at that point to describe that gases take on the shape when they are captured. Finally, I brought out a container filled with water, along with a tall glass and a paper towel. I asked students if they thought the paper towel would get wet it I placed it into the glass and put the glass down into the container filled with water. Everyone agreed that the paper towel would be wet. They were shocked to feel a dry paper towel when they pulled it out. We repeated it a few times, and then submerged the cup on its side and the paper towel was wet. Students then realized that air in the glass kept the paper towel dry.
We then closed our day with a wrap up where we talked about changes and how matter can change. It was another high-five, great day! I can’t wait to meet again next Saturday! Have a wonderful week!