Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scientific Method

I started the school year with teaching my students about the scientific method.  I found some fun videos on YouTube (one Scientific Method Rap that I really liked, one done to Gangnum Style, and one to Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend").  Then students worked through making a table of the scientific method in their SNB's (Sci/SS Notebooks).  The rest of our first week was spent bringing the scientific method to life as I followed the "I do, we do, you do" teaching framework.  I modeled the process of the scientific method myself where we ended up doing an experiment involving balloons and pushpins.  Through my explanation of why you can insert pushpins at the tops and bottoms of balloons without popping them, I talked to the students about polymers.  It's not part of the 3rd Grade curriculum, but they were definitely engaged!  Then we went through the process of the scientific method together.  Using what they knew about polymers from the first experiment, we focused our attention on ziploc bags filled with water and pencils.  The pencils pierce the bag without dripping any water ... except in one class which led to a discussion on human error.  Oops!  On the third day, I modeled dropping water on a nickel and the class got to do the same with water on a penny - a HUGE thanks to Walgreens Pharmacy for donating 30 medicine droppers to my classroom!  I know that in these brief explanations, these all sound like "cute little experiments" but each of these was so much more than that.  Please know that we spent an hour or so on each of these days making observations, asking lots of questions, forming hypotheses, of course doing the experiments, recording and analyzing data, and drawing our conclusions.  One of the best things they got out of these experiences was discovering that the more you learn, the more questions you should have.

Here's what our very first ever SNB page looked like:

By the way, please note that this is my personal SNB page but the students did the same in theirs.  Since our teacher copies were cut in half this year, I had students draw the table by hand as well.  I think next year I may cut back somewhere else and give them the basic table to glue in their books!  One thing I was glad that I did (thank you Kindergarten background for making me a teacher who anticipates students' need for details!) was to tell students to start at the second line, then go down 12 lines to make their first big box.

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