Try, Try Again - The Scientific Method

Click on image to access Science at PPPST.com - PowerPoint presentations for all ages!Famed author Clarence Day once said, “Information’s pretty thin stuff unless it’s mixed with experience.” I think Clarence would have been pleased with the experiential hoopla happening in my prior classroom.

My classroom’s science shelf was lined with informative botany, zoology, anatomy, chemistry, taxonomy, biology, and simple machine packets, thick with the promise of splendor for all of us to consider! I have to say that not all, but plenty of our experiments were busts. And, like real scientists do, when that happened, we pulled back, asked questions, considered our data, and try, tried again until we got it right. Together, we experienced the scientific method on a shoestring!

The key word in Clarence’s quote is “experience.” He didn’t say “testing” or “quizzing.” Instead, he was referring involvement, participation, and understanding. Mr. Day is talking about the need for active learning, the focus that helps to create the best kind of supplemental guide for a math or science related book.

Click on image and buy the book!!!!!The guide created for Patricia Newman’s latest, Plastic Ahoy!: Investigating The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, serves as an effective example of experiencing information. Newman crafted this compelling book as if it were a scientific quest to discover the phenomenon known as gyres - large systems of rotating ocean currents consisting of a heavy concentration of trashed plastic threatening to destroy ocean life. Plastic Ahoy!: Investigating The Great Pacific Garbage Patch allows the reader to join with a team of graduate students and become trash detectives by hypothesizing what the effects of plastic garbage might have on the future of the earth’s oceans.

In the guide, the lesson entitled The Summary of the Scientific Method ( pg. 13) serves as an effective example of leading the reader to discover answers to their own burning questions. Kids can use this step-by-step method to formulate a hypothesis and then generate a plan to prove it. Perhaps, much like my days in the classroom, though some of their experiments might turn out to be busts; they’ll have a grand time scientifically trying them over and over again until they get it right.

I only wish I could be here to join in the fun!

Simple Saturday: Ocean in a Bottle

Yo ho, matie! All hands on deck! Do you have the supplies? The clear plastic bottle, the oil, the blue food coloring, and some water? All right then, you scrubbie. Let's sail!

Oil in bottle.Pour the oil in the bottle.

Water, oil, and food coloring in bottle.Pour the water in the bottle. Add about 15 drops of food coloring. Screw the cap on the bottle tight, tight, TIGHT!

Oil and water separates.Shake the bottle. Mix the ingredients all up.

Let it sit for a bit. Have you ever heard the saying, "Oil and water don't mix?" Well, they don't and this project proves it. Notice how the food coloring has blended in with the water? Watch the color change from stormy green to clear blue, just like the sea!        

Wave action.Now let's make some waves! Hold the bottle sideways and gently rock it side to side, side to side, side to side...side to side.....side to side.....

Oooo...erp....where did I put that sea-sick bag?

Simple Saturday Prep: An Ocean in a Bottle

This week's activity has been inspired by the book-made-into-a-movie Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. (I hope this post isn't any kind of spoiler.) I recalled this activity when I watched Max in his boat thrashing about as he sailed to the land where the Wild Things lived. He braved some pretty violent waves, didn't he?

Let's see if we can recreate the wavey and wild thrashing about on a much smaller scale. Shall we?

Let's head back into my kitchen again to gather the supplies needed for tomorrow's rumpus. You'll need a clear plastic bottle, cooking oil, blue food coloring, and water. I added a funnel for easy pouring and a paper bag just in case the waves get too wild and your tummy gets upset.