Last month, students had a chance to observe how changing the shape of an object can change its ability to float. They used an engineering design process in order to make and test their models of clay.
During the month of March students will be working with magnets (Investigation 1: Solids). They will be testing 20 objects with a magnet and sort them into two groups: magnetic and non-magnetic. By doing the activity, they will learn that only objects made of certain metals are attracted to a magnet. Also, they will learn about the magnetic field of a magnet (magnetic field demonstrator will be used) and where is the magnet the strongest. They will investigate pulling power of magnets and the force of attraction and repulsion between two magnets.
The probe called “Big and Small Magnets” will be included into the study of magnets (argumentation in science). The probe is designed to reveal student’s ideas about the strength of a magnet in relation to the size of the magnet. The students will test their claim and collect evidence by using a variety of magnets of different strengths and sizes and a chain of paper clips.
After working with magnets, students will be using a balance in order to make comparisons between two objects. They will record comparisons by using binary symbols:
- greater than/ heavier than (>)
- less than/ lighter than (<)
- equal to (=)
They will use some problem- solving strategies to figure out how to put six different objects in a serial order from lightest too heaviest.
The students will be starting the Investigation 1: Balance. Only pre-assessment to the Unit 2 : Forces and Motion was done in February. This means that all the activities described in the last month blog will be done in March. Also, there will be discussion about symmetry, about how do we know if a shape is symmetrical.
The students will balance not only tag-board shapes but also a pencil (a wire attached to it) on its point with adding one or two clothespins as counterweights. They will balance a tongue depressor on a pencil. They will figure out where is the balance point (fulcrum).
They will do beam balance discoveries which will introduce the students to the concept that the amount of weight, position of weight and position of fulcrum affect the balance. These discoveries are the pre-requisite to the engineering- design process for building mobiles.
As a part of the study of balance, we will visit the website of the artist Michael Grab (gravityglue.com) who is making amazing sculptures by balancing rocks.
The students are continuing the Investigation 4: The Third Degree with the activity called “Cooling Off.” The question of the activity is: “How cold does the temperature of water get when you add ice to room-temperature water?” The students will measure the temperature of room-temperature water. They will collect data on how fast water cools with ice, and graph their results in the form of a line graph. They will learn how to make a line graph and when to make it (changes over time.)
The students will read and analyze few articles related to measuring temperature. Also, they will calculate temperature change from a positive degree to a negative degree and explain how they did it (response sheet).
During the investigation 4 students will set up experiments representing physical and chemical change of matter. They will learn what is the difference between physical and chemical change of matter. They will use the skills gained by measuring matter (mass, volume, temperature) plus pH will be introduced and measured.
Due to the individual science fair projects there will be reinforced the concept of independent variable and controlled variables through setting up an experiment related to the question: “Which freezes faster, fresh water or salt water?”
The students are continuing the Investigation 1: Electricity (Making Connections). They tested materials with a circuit tester (composed of a lightbulb, bulb holder/ socket, D-cell, battery and three wires). They need to finish the activity and write conclusion.
Next, they will include a switch to the simple circuit made with a lightbulb also with a motor. They will compare how is the motor circuit like the bulb circuit and how is it different. They will examine different types of switches. They will observe that a switch placed in a circuit controls the flow of electricity.
They will make schematic diagrams of a battery and bulb circuit as well as a battery, switch, and motor circuit. They will describe trouble-shooting technique, the steps necessary to use for finding out what is wrong with a circuit. They will discover through experimentation that metals that are covered with an insulating layer will not conduct electricity. They will have few probes (argumentation in science) to do related to the flow of electric current in the simple circuits.
Information for the Parents of Students Grades 3 & 4 – Individual Science Fair Projects
- The independent variable should be included in the question of the science fair project.
For example: How does the length of the string affect the pulling power of a magnet?
The independent variable is the length of the string.
- The hypothesis needs to show the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable (results).
- To learn more about the independent variable, controlled variables, and dependent variables (results) visit Science Buddies website at sciencebuddies.org (Project Guide).
- The students need to conduct a fair test that means to repeat their experiment at least three times (conduct 3 trials).
If they are working with plants, they need 9 plants (3 plants per trial).
- All measurements need to be in the metric system-
- Length in meters or centimeters
- Mass in grams
- Volume in liters or milliliters
- Temperature in degrees Celsius
Upcoming Event: All Grades
There will be a new exhibit to see at the American Museum of Natural History entitled “Unseen Oceans.”
The exhibit will be opened to the public on Monday, March 12, 2018.
To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.amnh.org.