Day 34

This is for last Friday.

Physical Science: So we continued working on the “Particles in Motion” article. Students complete the questions I had assigned to them, and had aimed at a specific level for comprehension. Students were put into groups of 3, and then asked to read the other kids papers and see if they thought if their partners had met the levels they were shooting for.

Most kids felt that they and their partners were within 1 level of each kids goal. That changed a little bit more when they read my level-specific examples. I had prepared an example response to one specific question at each Level 1-5. When the kids say what a response for each level was, most kids felt that they had fallen short.

I think this provided a good learning experience. We talk about feed back and giving concrete examples all the time. Getting feedback from their peers and then also from me, let them know what the expectations were, and what each kid would have to do in order to hit their achievement level.

I then assigned them one more question that allowed them to try once again to reach their achievement level. I am still reading those.

FYI: I am not posting the article or questions as the document A) has example responses directly in the article, and B) I have not recreated the article as the pictures keep getting messy looking. Sorry 😦

Chemistry: We spent the hour talking about air pressure. Since we have been developing the idea of particles making up matter, that they are always moving, and they can collide, I introduced the idea of air or atmospheric pressure. I always do this by asking a simple question:

“How does a straw work?”

Every kid has used a straw, so the act of using a straw is not unknown to them. Most kids say that they suck fluid up the straw. But demonstrating what happens to the straw when you pinch one end and the inhale (while its not in or filled with fluid) is quite telling.

“Why does the straw collapse?”

“Air pressure.”

Hmmmm….so we work towards a better understanding of what air pushing on things can accomplish. I show them a hover craft, and we talk about how it works. This can lead to some misconceptions though. Kids see a leaf blower or vacuum running and pumping more and more air in, and think that they produce the force as they run, instead of focusing on how it is air that is lifting the person up. Note: That might seem a bit nuanced but it is a big difference.

We also look at Madgeberg spheres. A great demo for the power of the atmosphere, especially if you have a bunch of football players in your class.

We then transition to how we would measure air pressure, and look at barometers and manometers. We talk about standard pressure and different units. All leading towards investigating variables that affect air pressure.

Physics of Light: Today we did a bridging activity to get us from simple refraction to looking at how to manipulate light.

As you can see from slides, the questions dealt with qualitatively drawing what happens when parallel light moves through a set of objects. Sometimes the light gets bent together, sometimes the light gets bent apart. The idea was to introduce how we could setup a system that allowed us to control the refraction, and then think about what we might be able to do with it.

We investigated this behavior for both light going from air-glass-air and also the reverse. The kids predicted that the behavior would be opposite. If the system of shapes is thicker in the middle the light gets bent together when its air-glass-air, and opposite if it was glass-air-glass. I just happen to have a set of lenses that can be made to be air tight, and placed into water to observe the second set of conditions. We’ll check this out on Monday.

Big Friday News: My blog was featured on “The #Scied Daily” last Friday. That was pretty cool.

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