Light Box

In this activity students will learn and observe the effects of a mirror and its reflections. Students will split into groups and receive the proper materials. First we will start with a plane mirror, put the light box on the light box line. Now add the mirror, place the mirror on the line. Watch how the three light lines reflect from the mirror and the direction it is tilted. The reflected light ray should have an equal angle to the original light ray, making an acute angle. Next we test the same thing out on a convex mirror, this time face the mirror in a U shape. Use the light box and mark the three lines and their reflection. What does this reflection look like? It’s different than the last one. This time the convex mirror makes the light rays spread out. In part three we use a concave mirror. Do the same thing but this time bend the mirror into the opposite direction than we did last time. This should be a U shape bending in. The concave mirror makes the light rays initially focus together. This is a great activity for younger aged students. In my classroom I would like to try a colored light box, this would make it a little easier to see and more fun for young students



Electrical Circuits

In this activity students will create and observe a simple circuit using one light bulb and one D-cell battery. They will begin by drawing a picture of circuit by adding the battery and wire to the light bulb. Then I want to ask questions, Will the light bulb be bright with only one battery? What would happen if we added more batteries? Now its time to create one, hook up one light bulb using the alligator clips, to the battery pack so it lights up. Is the light brighter with four batteries? Now its time to measure the voltage of the light bulb, record what it says. Next students will be asked to create a series circuit, using two light bulbs in the series. Measure the voltage of these light bulbs and compare your results to the simple circuit. Play with it a little, what happens when you unscrew one of the light bulbs? Are they still on? or do they both go out? What causes that? Lastly, create a parallel circuit. Hook up two light bulbs in a parallel like array. Measure the voltage of this circuit and record your data. As the student should have noticed the voltage increased through every circuit. The simple circuit was the smallest, series circuit was a little more, and the parallel circuit should have been the highest. I would extend this activity incorporating a buzzer as well as a light circuit.

Electromagnet and Loudspeaker

In this activity students will learn and understand what magnetic force is and the reasoning behind the strengthening and weakening of it. To start of introduce a magnet to your class, show the average strength of a magnet on the board. To start students will be given a 3-inch nail, copper wire, a magnet, a battery, and a bin of paper clips. Have the students wrap the copper wire around the nail 20 times. Next, clip both ends of the battery and using the flat end of the nail pick up as many paperclips as possible. Record how many paperclips you collected with the nail. Now try it again but this time wrap the copper wire around the nail 40 times, do the same things and record it again. Were going to do this multiple times at increments of 20, ending with 80. The students should recognize the correlations between each time the wire was wrapped around the nail. The amount of paperclips picked up should have steadily increased. Ask the students questions to assess what they learned in this activity. The nail electromagnet is stronger when there are more or fewer windings. Then unhook the battery, what happens when the battery is unhooked? It all should have fallen because the nail lost its electromagnetism. I think this is a great activity to incorporate into the classroom, students will enjoy playing around with the electromagnet and testing out what it can do.


Phases of the moon

In this activity students will learn and understand the different phases of the moon. Including the appearance of the moon, the time of the day for rising, time of the day for overhead, time of day for setting, and the time of day for the hidden moon. First I want to start out asking students questions about the moon. Asking if they know what it means when the moon looks different every night, and if they know what it means when the moon changes positions. They will observe that the phases of the moon occur because of the earth rotating around the sun. When you see the moon, the light pathway making that possible starts at the sun, travels to the moon, and ends at your eyes. First we will observe a model of the new moon, students will understand it rises at sunrise, it is overhead at noon, it is setting at sunset, and it is hidden at midnight. Next is the 1st quarter, it rises at noon, overhead at sunset, setting at midnight, and hidden at sunrise. While the full moon is rising at sunset, overhead at midnight, setting at sunrise, and hidden at noon. Lastly the 3rd quarter moon is rising at midnight, overhead at sunrise, setting at noon, and hidden at sunset. Students will use a model to mimic the action of all of this. I would extend this activity by having students observe the moon for a long period of time, for about a week or so students will track the moon and record what it looks like.

Earths Seasons

In this activity students will learn and understand the earth’s position in the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere during the different times of the year. “The earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun, where its closest distance to the sun is 91 million miles and farthest distance is 95 million miles. The earth reaches its closest on January 3rd and its furthest on July 4th. Seasons occur because the rotational axis of the earth is tilted with respect to its orbit around the sun.” Students will use a model to mimic the earth’s elliptical orbit in comparison to the sun. They will observe the summer solstice and the winter solstice in association to the northern and southern hemisphere. Create a data table that includes the 4 positions, the sun exposure, the time of the year, and the month. In the first position the sun exposure will be in the north, time of year will be Summer solstice, and the time of the month will be June. In the second position sun exposure will be equal, it will be the fall equinox, and time of the year is September. Third position sun exposure will be in the South during the winter solstice in December. Lastly, the fourth position sun exposure will be equal during the spring equinox in March. Students will begin to understand the trend and observe “we” in the northern hemisphere see summer in July but in the southern hemisphere they see winter.


Hot wheels

In this activity students will learn and observe potential and kinetic energy and how the change in height has an affect on velocity. Students should review and learn that potential energy is “the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others.” Kinetic energy is “energy that a body possesses by virtue of being in motion.” While velocity is “the speed of something in a given direction.” By this point you should ask students questions such as “what type of energy is due to the motion of a ball?” And “what type of energy is due to the height of ball?” This activity allows students to have fun and create a science experiment at the same time. This is a great experiment for younger students who need to see things visually over just being taught the definitions. It introduces the principles in a fun way, especially with something kids love to play with. First start out asking questions, this helps give the students ideas on what the experiment is going to be about and you can access what level of knowledge they are at. Now, lets begin building, put together a model track that has a U shape. Start your car at the beginning height in the table, that height being 20-cm. Release the car and measure its ending height on the other side and record it in the table. Move onto the next starting point; record the ending point and so forth. Now the students need to graph the data, once that is done they will see a correlation with the beginning height and the ending height.

Simple Machines

Students will learn and observe the use of simple machines in every day objects. Simple machines are any of the basic mechanical devices used for applying a force. Before we begin I want to ask the students a couple of questions. What do you think a simple machine is? Can you name a couple of simple machines? Can you name the use of those simple machines? I will then explain that simple machines are all around us; I want to make sure I am giving enough examples and explanations so they fully understand. I will then hand them a toolbox, this toolbox will consist of multiple tools that are also simple machines. For example screw driver, wrench, saw, screw, pliers, hammer, and more. I will then have them write down 5 tools they found in that box and the use for those machines. I could extend this experiment by asking students to go home and find 5 other simple machines that we didn’t previously talk about. Alternatively I could create an assignment that allows students to create their own simple machine.


Temperature change for Alka-Seltzer chemical reaction and hydrogen peroxide chemical reaction

In this experiment students will observe and learn the temperature changes due to chemical reaction changes, better known as endothermic and exothermic reactions. An exothermic reaction is a chemical reaction that releases energy through light or heat. An endothermic reaction is a chemical reaction that absorbs heat from its environment. They will learn how one correlated with one another and understand what causes this interaction. A cup is filled with 50mL of room temperature water. The temperature of the water, before chemical reaction will then be recorded. Ask students their prediction, predictions help students grasp a “what they thought before” compared to after the experiment. Students will then add an antacid tablet or the hydrogen peroxide. They will observe the temperature change after 1 minute, then again after 2 minutes, and lastly after 3 minutes. How did the temperature change after those 3 minutes? The Alka-Seltzer mixer should have decreased in temperature. In this reaction the energy was absorbed making the mixture colder. The hydrogen peroxide mixture increases in temperature. Due to this increase it did the exact opposite of the Alka-Seltzer mixture. It ended up releasing energy during the reaction causing the temperature of the cup to get warmer.

Acids, Bases, and Neutralization

In this experiment students will learn and observe the chemical changes in different substances. They will mix baking soda and vinegar to see the reaction those two substances create. In this experiment each student or group needs vinegar, baking soda, a clear plastic cup, graduated cylinder, ¼ teaspoon measure, red and blue litmus paper, and cotton swabs. First they will start with a 30 mL cup of vinegar, using the litmus paper they will observe the color of the wet paper and record it on the data table. By doing that students will observe if they vinegar is an acid or base. Then students will then add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the vinegar, they will observe if the mixture creates bubbles, the color of the litmus paper, and the pH of the solution. They will continue to increase the spoonfuls of baking soda and observe the bubbles, litmus paper, the pH solution, and so forth. At this point students should be able to know vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is a basic. The bubbles are a sign of a chemical reaction because they are a release of gas. I see students having difficulty with this activity if they aren’t familiar with the pH scale. I think introducing the pH scale beforehand will allow the students to understand what is going on when the two substances are mixed.


Where Does The Water Go? Experiment 1
In this activity students will explore the possibility of water soaking into or out of potato slices. Investigating what will happen when potato slices are left in different environments and given different variables. In this experiment we use four potato slices (two sliced earlier, two sliced recently), plastic spoons, salt, one cup or water, and paper towels. Next we compare the potato slices. We look at the texture, which bends more easily, making the old one bend more easily. The old one bends more easily because all of the water dried out due to the potato sitting out for hours. The process that happens to both potato slices is called osmosis, which is a diffusion of water across the semipermeable membrane the potato slice cells possess. Osmosis is the movement of water molecules across a membrane trying to reach equilibrium. After about 15-30 minutes the potato slices are taken out, the old one bends more easily still. This whole process happened due to the water going into the potato and filling the space. But as for it sitting out the old potato was easier to bend because the water is drawn out.


Where Does The Water Go? Experiment 2

In the next experiment students will observe the same process with different variables. We see osmosis again; osmosis is movement of water molecules across a membrane trying to reach equilibrium. The water will go in and out of the potato to match the concentration of salt in the solution. We use an old slice of potato and a new slice of potato again. First we need students to make predictions, ask questions. What will happen if you pour salt onto a paper towel? What will happen if you pour salt onto the old potato slice? This will help give students and idea of the experiment before it takes place. Students will observe what happens when you pour salt onto a paper towel. They will then realize nothing happens because the paper towel doesn’t absorb the salt. Then students will pour salt onto the old dried out potato slice. After about 30 minutes students will observe the results. The potato will then have created a puddle of liquid on top of it, bringing that moisture back into it. If the water outside the cell is saltier than the water inside, water will move from the inside of the cell to the outside, dragging that water to the outside like we observed.



Do You Believe In Atoms (And Molecules)

In this activity students will explore the visualization of “atoms and molecules” in water. We will start with 1 cup of hot water and one cup of cold water. Before anything is done have the students predict what would happen when one drop of food coloring is added to the cold and hot cups of water. Once they have made their predictions add one drop of food coloring to each cup, begin the stopwatch and observe what happens to the dye in the hot water and the cold water. “In which cup did the dye mix better with?” “What happened in the cup of cold water?” “What happened in the cup of hot water?” This lesson is essential to elementary aged students, according to standards of learning students will be able to learn and understand the term atom and molecule and be able to apply that to their purpose in our living system. The point of this activity is to show that liquid is made up of something smaller so the food coloring and water are able to mix. But the cold water and the hot water mixed at different rates. Showing the atoms that are present in the cold water vs. the hot water.

Building Molecules and Compounds

In Grade 5 students will learn and understand that matter is anything that takes up space; and occurs as a solid, liquid, or gas. Specifically in this lesson understanding the makeup of molecules and compounds. Students are given the task to complete the models of chosen compounds using marshmallows. Each color marshmallow is code for an element, pink stands for oxygen, green stands for carbon, yellow stands for hydrogen, and the toothpicks stand for the connecting bonds. Students are then given formulas and names of the molecules and asked to build the models. Examples given are O2 oxygen, CO2 carbon dioxide, H2O water, and H3CC(=O)OH vinegar (acetic acid). Just by observing the formulas students should be able to piece together the model by the elements and numbers. Introducing this in elementary classroom could be difficult; I want to make sure I explain the molecules to my best ability to help further the students understanding. When two or more elements combine to form a new substance, it is called a compound. Examples of those compounds are H2O or H3CC(=O)OH. This part could get a little tricky; I need to make sure I allow the students to ask as many questions as they can.


Mass and Density Activity

In grades 2 to 4 the students have already learned measurement and how to find volume. Applying what they have already learned students will now be challenged to find the mass and density of objects. In my classroom I would introduce the equation; density= Mass/ volume. Using this equation I want to put students up to the task to find those numbers to input into that equation. Students have already found the volume of objects and need to find the mass in order to get to the density. Using a scale the students will be challenged to measure the mass of wood, plastic, aluminum, and steel. Ranking them from the lowest mass to the highest mass. Say wood has a mass of 25 grams, plastic has a mass of 55 grams, aluminum has a mass of 105 grams, and steel has a mass of 310 grams. The students will be asked to identify the cylinder with the lowest mass, the cylinder with the highest mass, and the cylinder that has the lowest density and will float in water. If I double the size of the wooden cylinder would it still float in water? How so? If the steel cylinder is cut in half will it still sink? How so? According to the Standards of Learning appropriate tools are given to help find the measurements of mass.

Making Slime

Making slime, a fun way to incorporate science into any classroom for a cheap price. Slime introduces the properties of matter in a different form. Have your class split up into groups if not already split up, you need a cup of glue and water and a cup of borax and water. Put food coloring into the borax and water. Mix the glue solution into the borax. At this point the students should be observing the changes, ask them questions, “What might happen if you ass more water to either the glue or the borax solution?” “If water is added to either the flue or the borax solution, is that mixing process a chemical or physical change?” At this point the students are observing the process of the glue into the borax solution thickening and turning into a slime. Allow them to observe the slime and list its properties. After the students have their fun begin with the questions, “Do you think mixing the glue and the borax is a chemical or physical change? Why?” According to Standard of Learning this is done in grades 3-4. Students will understand the properties of matter whether they are chemical or physical changes.

Topic #1 Size and Mass

Measurement Activity

At the elementary level it is essential to be familiar with simple measurements. Being able to estimate certain objects is important, whether it is in centimeters, inches, or feet. Allowing your student to familiarize themselves with these can be made possible just by simple objects. Allow the students to measure objects around them; this could be a pencil, a book, or even themselves. Once they see that a pencil is around 10 centimeters while their height is 120 centimeters they will begin to understand the difference. Allow them to continue this and to really get a glimpse of the comparison of different objects. According to the Standards of learning students need to be able to estimate the size of objects. For example a question is given with a picture of a butterfly. Students will be asked if the butterfly is closer to 3 inches, 3 feet, 3 centimeters, or 3 meters. As a student they need to be able to analyze this picture and realize 3 feet and 3 meters is way too large. Now they have narrowed it down to 2 more, 3 inches or 3 centimeters. The student will learn and know that 1-inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters. So now they should be able to narrow it down to the final answer.

Volume Activity

At the elementary level it is important to know the volume of objects. First students will learn the measurements and estimations of objects. Once they master that they will be able to apply what they learned into the volume of objects. This will be done in grades 2 to 4. Measurements are used in every day life, whether it is a drink, amount of food, or even a gas tank. Because of this being used everyday it is essential for students to learn the simple measurements. Volume is the amount of space that a substance or objet occupies. Introducing this into a class is simple. Give each student a block of the same size. Allow them to measure this block, the length, the width, and the height. Once they measure that give them the equation of finding volume. This will be Length x Width x Height. Have them input those calculations into the equation. Once this is found have them explore more objects of their choosing. Compare and contrast the volume of a cube and a rectangular prism, ask them what they differences are. According to the standards of learning a student is given an object, they are given the length, the width, and the height. Now a student must find the volume of that object with the given information.