I wanted to boost my children's investigative skills, so I took them off-timetable for the day and had a science day!
Egg-citing Eggs-periments! (Couldn't resist!)
We started with an egg (or was it a chicken??) and carried out three investigations.
1: How can we make an egg float?
2: What is an egg?
Okay, so this investigation should have been called What's inside an egg? but the children struggled to define an egg. Firstly, they initially only considered a hen's egg, ignoring other bids, reptiles and fish. Secondly, they saw its primary function as food for humans. We cracked them open to look inside for clues!
3. How do different drinks affect our teeth?
This question surprised the children, as we were looking at eggs! The children worked in teams of 4, each choosing a drink to investigate after discussing what would be interesting to compare. They put the shell from their egg into a cup and covered it with their drink choice, making it a fair test by measuring the amount of liquid in each cup. We'll look at them over the next week, recording our observations. Photos to follow!
Our afternoon consisted of a carousel of quick science investigations, considering how to record our findings. I like children to choose how to present their work.
1: How can you make an orange sink?
Why does it float with its skin but sink without?
I challenged the children to make the orange sink. They quickly tried removing the skin. They had a lot of different ideas about why this worked and it sparked some great discussion. The actual reason is to do with the skin holding air pockets. After trying to make it re-float, some of the children tried a small with air trapped inside and made the link.
2: Can we make a slinky sound like a ray gun?!
Granted, this isn't the most scientific question, but I LOVE this experiment!
If you drop a metal slinky, over the banking and jingling, you can hear a quiet 'ray-gun', sci-fi type of sound. It's very hard to explain! However, if you place a paper cup touching the end of the slinky before you drop it, it amplifies the sound and sounds really cool! The kids can experiment with hitting it in different ways and using different types of cup. A slinky can also be used to see how sound travels - if you flick one end, you can see a ripple run along it. It's a great way to show a wave that doesn't look like the sea!
3: What is it?
For this very simple activity, I printed lots of different pictures taken under very powerful microscopes. There was a wide variety: a butterfly's wing, a sugar-beet root (above), a cancer cell (below), bone, toilet paper (below - on the desk). The children chose their own way to record their thoughts. Some drew part of it using a post-it frame (cut a hole out of the middle of a post-it, stick it on and draw what's inside the frame - it helps them to focus on detail); some wrote 'I see, I think, I wonder' (something we've done before); others did a spider diagram of links, questions and ideas. I didn't reveal what they were until the end of the day!
We had a fantastic day and the children really got to challenge their ideas and use their investigative skills. I really enjoy theme days and so do the kids - definitely building some into my next topic!
Hi! I'm Mrs P: passionate primary school teacher!