Skittles Science

This year I made a firm decision that no matter what happens, I would include science experiments in my instruction.   It is my belief that we are not truly teaching science, if we are not conducting science experiments in our classrooms.  How else will the students begin to genuinely think like a scientist and understand the scientific method without actually experimenting in class?  The answer is simple.  They won’t.

I’m happy to report on our second experiment–Skittles Science!  I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Runde’s Room, and she mentioned this experiment.  I immediately went to teacherspayteachers.com to purchase this product.  (That’s right.  She’s that good.  Every recommendation from her has been quality.)

Great product! Has all materials for experiment and more.
Great product! Has all materials for experiment and more.

This particular product has more than just the science experiment in it, but I just used the PPT to explain the key points I wanted students to focus on i.e. how to record observations.

 

The question to be investigated was:  Do Skittles dissolve faster in hot water or cold water?

Once the question was posed we went to work through the scientific process.  Each student had to form their own hypothesis based on their prior knowledge of the effects of different temperatures of water on certain items.  It was very interesting to hear the students’ reasoning to support their hypothesis.  Most of the students predicted that the hot water would dissolve the skittle faster due to the fact that items are dissolved in hot water more often than cold.  (For example, hot tea, coffee, cleaning dishes.)

The following are pictures of the students conducting their experiments.  I chose to leave the procedure part open to each group to decide the steps they needed to take.   I simply told them the materials and tools that would be available to them (pretty much like the diaper experiment).  And might I add, the procedural steps were SO MUCH BETTER than the first experiment.  Yay, they are learning from their mistakes!  Just look at how engaged these kids are.  I love it!

IMG_7187

Love seeing the students all leaning in like this!  Totally engaged.
Love seeing the students all leaning in like this! Totally engaged.
Look at this engagement!!  Love it!
Look at this engagement!! Love it!
Students working together, each with a different responsibility for this science experiment.
Students working together, each with a different responsibility for this science experiment.
Science is fun!
Science is fun!
Skittles Science Experiment!
Skittles Science Experiment!
Teaching the students how to label and to be precise and accurate with tools.
Teaching the students how to label and to be precise and accurate with tools.

As far as some teacher tips….here goes:

1.  I heated water from home and brought it to school in a large thermos.  I also have a Keurig in the classroom and was prepared to use that if we needed more water.

2.  Each group needs to have a stopwatch or timer of some sort to record timed data.  (Cell phones worked well for this.)

3.  Set aside at least an hour of time for this lesson.  On average, skittles were dissolving in 8-10 minutes and the experiment calls for 3 trials.  Personally, I thought this was a good lesson on patience and persistence.  They are used to conducting school experiments in which the “reaction”, whatever that may be, happens pretty quickly.  The students struggled tremendously with having to wait and watch the changes in the skittle because it occurs slowly.  I used this as a teaching moment to explain how meticulous and patient real scientists need to be in order to obtain reliable data.  Scientists do not dismiss experiments simply because “something” doesn’t happen after a minute.  Reliable data is usually gathered over long periods of time.

Overall, the students had a great time being scientists.  Once we finish recording all the data on their lab sheets, I’ll post some pictures of the final product.

They can't help, but love a science experiment.
They can’t help, but love a science experiment.

The Water Cycle!

Every year our grade level team chooses to begin science with the water cycle.  Why?  Because it’s honestly so fun to teach.  There are so many different activities and lessons that go with it, I just can’t get enough.  After watching videos and researching it in our textbooks, I love showing the students Mr. Parr’s video.  If you haven’t looked him up on youtube, I highly suggest it.  He puts current songs with the lyrics to different educational concepts.  The water cycle one is awesome!

All you need for this flipbook is white construction paper, some glitter, tissue paper, cotton balls, and the headings included in the pdf below.

Start with a 9.5 by 12 white construction paper.  Fold in half.  Then have students draw a line across the middle to cut flaps.
Start with a 9.5 by 12 white construction paper. Fold in half. Then have students draw a line across the middle to cut flaps.
Clouds-cotton balls.  Rain-glitter and glue.  Sun-yellow tissue paper.
Clouds-cotton balls. Rain-glitter and glue. Sun-yellow tissue paper.

Behind each flap the students wrote the exact definition for each process (found in their textbooks).  Then as a class we added more detail and explanation to the steps of each process.  The class is going to be writing their first informational summary on the water cycle so I told them this information would help them and be sure to do a quality job.

The center section of the book is changed up every year.  Some years they have drawn a diagram, others they have written their summary right there, but this year I printed out a diagram from enchantedlearning.com and the students simply labeled it.

For the section below the diagram, I tried something new.  I gave the students a sheet of paper with 10 important facts regarding Earth’s water (the chapter of study).  The students had to circle what they believed to be the five most important facts.  Then, they had to rank the facts in order–#1 being “most important” to “least important”.  I asked the students, “If you were going to teach about Earth’s water, what are the 5 things that we HAVE to know?” and “What’s the most important thing you learned about Earth’s water?”  The students then had to be able to justify why they picked certain facts over another….always very interesting to hear their reasoning.

The diagram fill-in on top and the sorted facts on the bottom.  Inside the flap: definition and important details
The diagram fill-in on top and the sorted facts on the bottom. Inside the flap: definition and important details
Water Cycle Flipbook
Water Cycle Flipbook
Water Cycle Flipbooks
Water Cycle Flipbooks

Here is the pdf of headings and the diagram.  (The 10 important facts are on my flash drive at school—so sorry!)

Water Cycle Flipbook Blog