In the month of September and part of October, our students engaged in activities and projects that focused on the practices of Planning and Carrying out Investigations, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, and Interpreting and Analyzing Data. Vernier temperature probes were used in investigations and projects such as exploring temperature in a chemical reaction, constructing and testing solar ovens, and designing and testing an insulated cup.
The fog lifted and sunny skies prevailed this morning, which allowed us to test our solar ovens. Last week students constructed solar ovens using pizzas boxes (Thanks McKenzie Evers for your help with that part!). Our students have been learning about energy transfer, and this activity is great for learning about solar energy, science inquiry, and a few engineering design skills as well. As with the other labs we’ve been conducting, this project used Vernier temperature probes to collect data. Part of that process also involves data analysis to see the big picture. We plan to keep the solar ovens this year and perhaps use them in May or June on a warm day for a follow up activity.
Today our students learned about states of matter, and measured temperature change during a chemical reaction, which in this case was baking soda and vinegar. We were very impressed with how our students followed directions during the lab, and how hard they persevered during the lab write up that followed.
Our students engaged in an introduction to using Vernier Temperature Probes used for collecting and analyzing data. In the coming weeks students will using technology for science inquiry investigations and engineering projects.
We have hit the ground running in the new year and are immersed now in a new STEM unit – Bridge Engineering. Over the next few weeks, students will build and study different bridge design. We are using a Vernier force sensor to measure the amount of force that can be applied to each bridge and collecting data. Writing and researching are integrated into this unit as well. Students are researching notable bridges from around the world for a future essay, and they are writing and diagramming in engineering journals. The culminating project will be to build a truss bridge made only out of construction paper and masking tape. Each bridge will also be tested with the force sensor. Stay tuned for more!
We started up the new year focusing on science inquiry skills using Vernier temperature probes. Students are learning how investigations are designed and conducted. Using the temperature probes, our students are learning how to form a hypothesis, read data in charts and graphs, and they are analyzing data as well.
Our latest project has students building wind turbines and testing them for the amount of voltage (milli volts) they produce. Thanks for Mr. Zirschky for creatively designing and building our testing racks. They work wonderfully. Also, a special thanks to Mr. Byerley (District STEM TOSA) for loaning us Vernier Labquests and voltage probes to use to collect data.
Last week our students engaged in our first STEM activity this year. Student groups were given the task of developing a hot beverage cup that would be a good insulator. Specifications were to use materials supplied in the classroom, not include a lid, and fit in a typical car cup holder. Each group collaborated to generate and sketch ideas and write a proposal. Once their proposals were submitted, students began construction. Chapters Books generously donated sixty 16 oz paper cups for our project, which enabled us to provide each group with two cups to use for the activity.
The day following construction, each group used Vernier temperature probes along with either a Labquest handheld (borrowed from MVMS) or laptop to record, monitor and analyze data (starting temp, ending temp, and temp difference after 5 min) . After recording data, our students analyzed the data collected in a spreadsheet to find out which student group cups were the best insulators, and why they were so effective.
Parents will be able to view the students’ cups on Back to School Night along with the their analysis work.