Fall SAVY 2016 (Day 3) – What’s the Matter?
We had an experiment and lab-packed morning of learning about matter and change this week! Our morning started with another entertaining reading from our book, 11 Experiments That Failed. From there, we reviewed what we have learned thus far about matter, states of matter, and properties of solids, liquids and gases. I used a prop from our lab last week, a soda bottle, to ask students how many states of matter they thought this object had. One student said liquid and another said solid, and then there was silence as students continued to think. I then shook the bottle and everyone chorused out, it is a gas too! We drew a picture in our lab journals and labelled the parts of the soda bottle that were liquid, solid and gas. We then added new information to our anchor learning charts. I introduced the meaning of physical properties of objects.
Next, I handed out a mini chart of the Scientific Wheel of Investigation and Reasoning for students to glue into their lab journals. We discussed the components of this wheel and how scientists follow it when they are working. This wheel takes students through the Scientific Method with the sequential steps being Make observations, Ask questions, Learn more, Design and conduct the experiment, create meaning, tell others what was found. Then I posed a question to students for consideration. I asked students: “Do properties of a solid or liquid remain the same if we change the size?” I could see looks of puzzlement among all the students, so I knew this would be a great lesson for learning how to apply the scientific wheel. I modeled asking other questions and several students added more questions. I then guided students to write a hypothesis. To help students use step four, I told them to think about the paper we just cut in order to place our scientific wheels in our lab journals and consider how they could learn from that activity. Next, I explained the steps they would use to conduct an experiment. Three students explored what would happened with liquids, and three explored what would happen with solids. Students with solids were given items such as foil, paper, playdough, and students with liquids were given water, different sizes of containers, measuring cups and some of the syrup from our last experiment. Students did their experiments, discussed the meaning of the things they observed, and then they presented their findings to each other. Both groups determined that changing the size of a liquid or solid does not change the state of matter.
Next, Miss Holly and I presented students with a mystery to solve! We read a letter from a cafeteria manager who found a mysterious goop substance in the sink in the cafeteria that had properties that confused him. The students were asked to help the cafeteria manager determine what form of matter it was. Students worked off clues from the letter to ask questions, which we recorded on the board, they also used what they knew about states of matter to consider what they would need to learn, and they wrote hypotheses as well as designed an experiment. Next, students each got to use the ingredients listed in the letter (cornstarch and water), to create the goop and analyze it themselves. The remarks that came from students were fascinating as they grappled with the question of, what state is this? A few of the observations (hands-on), were; When I squeeze it, it is like a solid, but when I just hold it, it is like a liquid; it is sticky and also smooth, it can be poured/dripped from one of my hands into another when I turn it upside down, etc. Students then discussed and made meaning out of what they experienced, and in the end, it was unanimous that this strange goop had properties of both a liquid and a solid! I then introduced the term suspension. I explained that cornstarch and water don’t mix well, so the cornstarch is suspended in the water.
Finally, we ended our morning with an experiment to understand how states of matter change by making ice cream! Students worked in pairs to roll containers which had baggies filled with cream, vanilla, and sugar (they noted that it was a liquid), and then after 6-8 minutes, when they opened their baggies, and found that the liquid had turned into a mouth-watering solid. As students enjoyed eating, we discussed changes in matter. Then, it was time to depart. I sent home a fun home-lab activity for you to do with your young scientist this week if you have time. Have a wonderful week, and we will see you all next Saturday!
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