February 15, 2016

The Magic of Science Day

Last week I mentioned that I was working on preparing a Magic of Science Day. This special day, actually morning, was held on Feb. 15, 2016, for some of our first through third graders. Because it was President's Day normal classes were not in session. Often on federal holidays or inservice days, our school will hold enrichment classes for our young students. You might be thinking, "Angela teaches older students. Why is she working with the younger grades?" Many of my sixth graders have siblings in the lower grades, so when this particular day was announced, since I am known as a geeky, science/STEM teacher, I was nominated by my students' parents to be a resource person.

I immediately jumped in, contacting my Science Coach, Dr. Ann Abraham, chemistry professor at Kent State University, our local branch. She graciously volunteered her chemistry students' help and suggested a few ideas for what we could do for the day. We decided to utilize a "station" format for the day wherein we would set up multiple science activities/experiences that the kiddos could rotate through during the morning.

One thing that I knew that I wanted to do was provide the students with take home science kits so that the fun and learning would extend beyond our morning at school. I had purchased a product on TpT during one of the big sales more than a year ago and had never found time to implement with my own students. You can check it out more closely HERE.

I had my sixth graders help me prepare all the materials for the kits several days before our Science Day. They were a great help! They were also disappointed that they weren't able to have their own kit. Shhh, don't tell them but I'm going to try and do the kits for them for over Easter break.

Dr. Abraham brought seven activities along with her college students. She had peacock feathers for our budding scientists to explore the center of gravity and balance. She had a cotton candy machine and a sno-cone machine to explore chemistry, taste, and colored dyes. She also had the children make simple bottle rockets (this one I'm having my kiddos do in a STEM lab). Other stations that Dr. Abraham set up involved investigating objects via UV light and designing a UV bead bracelet. The kiddos also were able to create sand sculptures in a test tube.

My contribution to the day, besides the take home kits, was the chemistry of play-doh. I saw this terrific video on Facebook a few weeks ago and had saved it.

Make Your Own Playdough
SUPER EASY Playdough recipe for kids!
Posted by Whizkidscience on Saturday, February 6, 2016

I got the bright idea to convert the names of the ingredients to chemical formulas and rewrite the recipe. Confronted with this Chemist's recipe, our young scientists had to follow the formula to successfully make a batch of play-doh. Here's the recipe I presented to the kids.

The very last thing that our young scientists did for the morning was to fill their take home kits. My student helpers took charge of this activity.

My helpers were thrilled that they were able to make their own kits, too.

One thing that we could do to improve the event is to include about three more activities. I forgot how quickly younger students will go through an activity. My older students would've investigated deeper and asked a multitude of questions about everything. We finished a little early and had to invite the children to revisit their favorite stations. Over all, however, the day was a success, and I'm looking forward to next year's Magic of Science day.

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