Thursday, April 10, 2014

Consumer Reports

Today was the world famous paper towel experiment. Which towel reigns supreme? Well, it all depends. Bounty held the most liquid in all trials and our school towels, the least. However, when we factored in price, the story changed. Clearly, the school made the right choice by choosing the less expensive towel.

Now for the process.  Students were given the challenge and introduced to the tools.  There were gram weights, balance scales and graduated cylinders to choose from.  First they had to plan how to use the tools to measure.  Some came up with a plan for the balance scale and weights, while others went the route of the graduated cylinder.  In either case the children had to measure before and after.  Students who used the graduated cylinders determined absorbency by comparing the amount of liquid in the cylinder before and after.  As for the balance scale, students weighed the paper towel dry and then after absorbing all the water it could.  Finally, more comparing gave us the amount of liquid each towel could hold.  
Both experiences gave us some great practical use of all the measurement skills and knowledge we have been learning in math this unit.  I hope everyone enjoyed our science/math crossover and much needed practice of the metric system.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Friday with Tyler Whitesides

In our author read with Tyler Whitesides today, he shared some personal information with us. Over the wifi we surfed through some great background information and even got to hear some clips from his series, Janitors.  Qlovi supplied us with a unique opportunity to hear this story direct from the mouth of the writer himself.

He shared with us his longstanding desire to write.  He knew he wanted to write even as a child.  He showed us a picture of him with his favorite author when he was only 14.  I hope the children heard just how much this man's love for reading gave him the determination to follow through we his dreams.  

This entertaining story supplied us with magic, friendship and some strange trashy monsters.  A great Friday was had by all with this great author opportunity.  Part of the entertainment was him playing the steel drum and the marimba.  He did impressions for us of Mickey Mouse, Yoda, Gollum and Jack Sparrow to try to show us how he would decide on his characters' voices.

At the end, Tyler opened up for discussion and our question about his next book was answered.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Curiosity Club Concludes

How high can different balls bounce?
How much water can different
sponges absorb? 
How far will different size balls roll
 using different fan settings?

What brand of plastic wrap is the
How absorbent are different paper towels
after they are wet?

Which way is the best way to fold a
paper airplane?
Which paper flies the best paper airplane?  
It has been a great experience working with this group of students to design experiments of their choosing and follow them through from beginning to end.  These experiments all followed the scientific method and tested for the changed variables.

Mrs. Heald and I are proud of the amount of effort the children put into their work and the outcomes of all the experiments.  Thanks to all the students and families for making all the meetings count!

What kind of salt makes ice cream melt
the fastest?
Finally, we would like to give an extra special thank you to our super scientist judges:  Mark Czerwinski our resident middle school student scientist, Mrs. Czerwinski our high school science teacher, Mr. Musselman our Science Center Guru and Mr. Rigby our friendly neighborhood food scientist.  And of course, thank you to the families for coming to our presentations.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Can We Present

After many weeks of collecting data, setting up experiments, experimenting and charting collected data, it is time to make our presentations.  Students were given scientific method headings to customize and questions to complete.  These scientific method documents have been filled in every week as part of the club.  In the end, each group has information for every heading, charts and graphs that are student created and a completed poster presentation.

Walking around last week, there was one moment particularly interesting.  These two girls who were sitting at a desktop computer also had their iPads on their laps.  They bounced back and forth between the two mediums.  They used the best tool for the problem and recognized that although the same document was open on all the devices they were able to do what they wanted to the document using the best tool.  Very cool!