Tag Archives: insc310

INSC 310 – Light and Sound

This activity is focused around the concept of sound, which goes into the unit of light and sound. The focus was introducing the concept of sounds waves and how they can differ in tune with the use of tuning forks and then with the use of a fork on a string. When held close to the ear, the sound changing and can help to show the students that sound does indeed travel through the air and can change in tone, pitch, and with its wavelength.

The activity itself is very simple and almost mess free. It is definitely one that I would employ with my class, as an introduction to the idea of sound and how it works, though I would try to keep a few things in mind. For one, the tuning forks are somewhat fragile. I would have to either tell the students such and then make sure to watch them as they use them, or I would simply have a single set and show them as a class. Or, I would even have centers set up and have a group come and work with me with the tuning forks so I could keep an eye on the students more easily, but still allow them to have hands one experience with the activity. Even if it would require a few tweaks, especially depending on the class and individual students, I would definitely like to use this activity. I feel it is a good, simple way to introduce a concept that can be rather confusing to students at first.

INSC 310 – Electricity and Magnetism

This activity went along well with the second part of this unit, magnetism. For it, the class began by looking at various different materials and then held a cow magnet up to them to see if they were magnetic or not. It resulted in showing that only the paper clip and the nail were magnetic. The next section focused on where on the magnets the attraction was the strongest. To find this, the class took the cow magnets and held them to enclosed iron fillings. The fillings pooled around the two poles of the magnets. All in all it is a simple and rather fun way to not only introduce magnets and the idea of magnetic attraction, but also act as a way to dissect the parts of a magnet as well.

This was a good activity. It was simple and easy to clean up with minimal mess, thanks to the iron fillings being in a specialized case to test. And while that might be a bit pricey to get, they would definitely be worth the money especially to avoid any dangers of eating or swallowing the fillings as well as avoiding the mess overall. The activity is simple and the various items, like the nail which could be a hazard, can be substituted for safer items without a problem so long as they help to show the magnetic attraction to some metals and not to others and other materials. I would definitely use this in my classroom as an opening experiment to get the students to hopefully take an interest in magnetism as well as a better, basic understanding of it as well.

INSC 310 – Electricity and Magnetism

For this activity, the topic it focused on was electricity. We manipulated circuits in order to explore the ideas of current and voltage in relation to electrical energy. First we looked at a series circuit, where all the light bulbs were all connected in one, single line, and found that the light produced was weak. This came to be because the voltage was shared amongst them. Then we finished by looking at a parallel circuit, where the light bulbs were fashioned so that they each had their own, separate path to the batteries, and the result was the light produced was stronger. The voltage was not shared and thus stronger for both bulbs. All in all, the aim was to see just how voltage and current work with different types of circuits and just how electricity moves through things to power them.

Over all, activity is good for a number of things. It gives students visuals to see and compare the information about voltage that they receive in class. It acts as a good reinforcer for the concepts at hand. It is also very simple and very interesting, which will help to not only engage the students, but also keep their attention through the more dry topics. The only issue is, at least from my perspective, safety. The batteries are toxic, if broken open, and so it is important to make sure that all of them are new and not leaking any sort of acid. If something does happen, you must be sure to inform the students that they must tell you so you can help them to clean up properly. As a final thought, maybe a class set would be a bit too much, and so a single example to show all the students might work better.

INSC 310 – Solar System

The concepts at focus for this reflection was the solar system, and in particular, the phases of the moon. As a class we have been looking at space, the planets, and how they interact. This interaction was explored in the activity itself with us looking at the relationship between the moon, the earth, and the sun. The activity itself was simple with a flashlight, serving as the sun, flashing on a styrofoam ball, the moon, to show the different phases of the moon that we see on earth. We rotated the ball around the flashlight to see how its appearance changed from our point of view and were then able to make assumptions about how the phases work in reality.

The activity is a decent one. It is a simple, low cost, low mess piece that allows students to work how the moon’s phases occur on their own. But while the activity is simple, it is still a hard concept to grasp for some and the visual might not be strong enough for all students to really catch on. I would try to pair this activity with another model, perhaps a video on the web about the moon’s phases, to really enforce a firm explanation for the moon’s phases to students. Another solution would be try and color the balls like the moon and find sun shaped lamps to help with visual reference, though that could potentially be impractical with money and time.

‘Moon and Sun’ replicas

INSC 310 – Energy, Motion, and Forces

For this section of the course, we have been focusing on the concepts of energy, motion, and forces. This is basically looking at how energy is produced and what different things go into creating energy, with the main focus being on potential and kinetic energy. The activity itself focused on showcasing both of these types of energies by having a small, toy car roll back and forth on a ramp. With it, we were able to see just how motion works and how things such as friction can affect it. It also, with the activity sheet, helps to have students practice and learn how to use graphs by graphing the beginning and end heights of the car from the half pipe.

The activity is a good way to introduce and give visuals to the concepts of both kinetic and potential energy. It allows the students to have hands on time and see just how things can move with a controlled experiment. While a good activity, it can be a bit hectic to try and get together and ready. For the sake of time and to lessen confusion, I would probably only set up one ramp in my classroom myself and then have the whole class work together, with my help, to have the car roll on the ramp. It would hopefully make the activity run smoothly and then we can focus more time on the concepts and the graphing than simply trying to get everything to work.

Toy Car on Ramp

INSC 310 – Chemical Reactions

The topic at hand for this activity was chemical reactions. As a class we have been talking about the ways that chemical reactions occur and how bonds are formed or broken between various molecules to create reactions. This activity itself was a showcase for both forming and breaking bonds with chemical reactions. It was a simple activity that had two different sets of materials being added to one another and then observed for their reactions as well as if there was a temperature change during the reaction. It also helped to show which of the two released energy or took in energy, with the Alka-Seltzer creating a reaction that was endothermic meaning that energy was absorbed and bonds were broken while the Yeast created an exothermic reaction where energy was released and bonds were formed.

It was a good activity that helped to show students not only how things can react with each other in a chemical sense, but also show that these chemical reactions differ in type and product. I would definitely use it in my own classroom, and the only real thing I would have to be careful of would be the potential mess. I would have to be clear and tell the students to be careful with the materials as we do not want them everywhere, as well as not to eat any of the materials.

INSC 310 – Properties of Matter

The topics that we have been focusing on, and that relates to this activity, are the concepts of diffusion and osmosis. This is basically the movement of molecules through cells from high to low concentration Both are passive processes, and osmosis is different from diffusion because it focuses solely on the movement of water. This plays into the activity, “Eggs in Vinegar and Syrup”, because we observed directly the process of osmosis with it. The eggs, once the shells were dissolved with vinegar, were both placed into two containers of water and syrup. The ones in water retained their puffy, water filled appearance, while the ones in syrup looked deflated and shriveled thanks to the water leaving the high concentration in the egg and moving to the lower concentration in the syrup.

This is a great activity to show students just how diffusion and osmosis work. It might be a timely experiment that requires a few days, but it is an excellent way to give a physical demonstration of a concept that can often be very difficult for younger students to grasps. They are able to really see how the eggs change and how water and other molecules will move between semi-permeable membranes. It also offers a hands-on approach as well in which students can safely touch and explore the eggs once their shells have been dissolved. It is a fun experiment that offers multitudes of learning styles to cater to student needs and enforce the concepts of matter, diffusion, and osmosis.

Eggs in syrup and water

INSC 310 – Atoms and Molecules

The subject matter that was the focal point for this activity, “Building Atoms with Buttons”, was atoms, their makeup, and how they make up different elements. As a class, we have been focusing on the micro-world and all that goes into such, including what everything is made up of atoms. We looked at an atom with the three basic components that go into them, protons, neutrons, and electrons. We explored how they each play a part in the atom and further how the difference in these components can change the atom’s charge and what element the atom belongs to. The activity itself was a basic, hands on way to give students the chance for hands on learning about the smallest parts of matter. We used colored buttons and a print out of the atom to form different elements as well as see the different charged particles. Depending on what element called for what parts, there would be a different number of three different colored buttons on the atom, with the protons and neutrons in the middle and the electrons in the surrounding shells.

For me, personally, I believe that activity is something very useful for teaching younger students about atoms. Not only do they get to see how atoms work and the different parts that go into them, but they also have the chance to actually make them and feel them for themselves. It allows visual and hands on learners a better opportunity to understand the concepts. The only real thing I would see changing would be perhaps making the activity a group activity using a huge atom and have all the students watch as the class puts together different atoms and elements. That way, the teacher could more easily keep an eye on everyone and make sure that the students are seeing the right way to put together an atom and just what part, the protons, effect what element the atom is a part of.

Picture of the activity, both the visual section and the written portion

INSC 310 – Properties of Matter

For this activity, our subject of focus was the properties of matter. In class, we have explored several different ideas within this topic, including understanding the different states of matter, learning about volume and density, and what constitutes as a physical versus a chemical change in terms of matter. The activity itself, “Mass and Density Activity Sheet”, focused on determining the density and mass of certain objects and whether or not these had higher or lower mass/density to the other objects. The objects in question were various cylinders of the same size and shape. The only difference between them was the material that they were made of. Using scales, we found the different masses of each cylinder and were able to try and determine density with the given mass.

This activity is a bit of a trick for those who do not pay attention. It does a good job keeping in showing students how different materials can have different masses and densities while still appearing as the same size and shape. However, some of the questions, or wording in the questions, is a little confusing, and I would probably try to work with it before I actually gave this activity to a class. All in all though, it is a good activity that helps students to really visualize how different matters can have different properties.

Picture of the activity

INSC 310 – Size and Mass

The topic at hand that we focused on was size and mass. For this topic, the class explored a multitude of different areas dealing with the idea of mass. We looked at how it is measured, the history behind how the measuring system came into place, where certain measuring systems are used, when and how to use them, and basic conversions between different quantitative measurements for masses. The activity that we worked on, “Measurement Activity Sheet”, was a simple introductory exercise to get us, as well as potential elementary students, to start thinking about mass and how different objects can be measured or compared. We measured the lengths of various objects using both rulers and yard sticks and had to determine which was better to use for measuring each different object.

I believe that the activity is a good way to introduce children to the concepts of mass and size. It is a simple exercise that takes things that students are familiar with and has them think about such objects in the ways of measurement. It is a good way to ease them into learning about the topic without overloading their brains with too much at once, or having them unable to understand it because of not being able to relate at all to it. The only thing I think could really improve it, would be to start even simpler.  For instance, have the students work with measuring things with their thumbs and fingers then move onto using measuring sticks and rulers. It could add just a bit more for them to relate to and hopefully better understand the concepts of matter and measurement.

Picture of the activity