Spring SAVY 2018, Day 1- What’s the Matter? (Kindergarten)
We had a wonderful first day of SAVY discussing what it means to be a scientist and how we can use our skills of observations to study the world around us. As a class, we brainstormed all the different ways we could categorize the seemingly random objects in a box. We developed several ways that divided the objects by style, color, shape, utility, and size. We also applied a similar organizational strategy to divide our class into groups based on shirt color/style, gender, and age. We related these abilities to categorize and make observations to some of the skills that scientists use when studying matter. We learned that matter is anything that has mass (weight) and takes up space (has volume), and there are lots of things that are matter! We used water as an example of matter to conduct the rest of our experiments. First, we learned that the molecules that make up water are attracted to each other. When we put drops of water on wax paper, we saw that we could drag smaller drops together and all the little drops would combine to form larger drops that were difficult to separate. Students were able to practice their scientific investigation and reasoning as they recorded their experimental steps and observations through drawing and writing about the experiment. Some of the observations from the students included: “When I touch it, it expands and makes a giant one!” (Referring to moving one drop into another drop) and “If you make a drop in the middle of two small ones, it makes them together, bigger.”
After learning that water molecules are attracted to other water molecules, we did an experiment to find how many drops of water a coin can hold. First, we hypothesized as a class which coins would hold the most drops of water and which coins would hold the least. The students reasoned that quarters (because they were the largest coins) would hold the most drops of water and that dimes would hold the least drops of water. Each student was given their own coin and once again recorded their experimental procedure, observations, and results. Then we came together as a class and each student shared his or her results and we saw that our hypothesis was nearly correct. This gave us a chance to talk about why scientists repeat their experiments to make sure that their results are reproducible.
The last activity we did was to design an experiment to test whether or not the molecules that make up water are in motion. Our experiment consisted of putting drops of food coloring into a bottle of water and watching the food coloring and water mix without us stirring. Then we wanted to see what would happen if we added another color. We talked about the change that was occurring as the colors mixed together.
If you want to watch a video to see an example of water molecules being attracted to one another and have your student explain some of what they learned this week, check out this slow-motion video of a water balloon popping and watch how the water molecules stay together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn7K8SEWgYY
Additionally, a fun game to play with drops of water is Race Drop Raceway! The raceway paper is attached. Here are the instructions:
1. Take the “Race Drop Raceway” sheet onto a piece of cardboard to give it support.
2. Tape a piece of wax paper over the sheet.
3. Place 2-4 drops of water together to make one larger drop at the start.
4. As fast as you can, tilt the cardboard and guide your race drop around the track to the finish. Try not to touch the edge of the track!
I am looking forward to next weekend when we will learn about some of the physical properties of matter and take a field trip to a real chemistry lab to learn what kind of instruments they use to study matter.