Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mystery Samples

Today, my students completed one of my favorite labs of the year.  The students take film canisters (you know, from back when we had rolls of actual film for the camera) that have mystery items sealed inside.  They shake each canister and make an observation about the sound it makes.  Then, they test to see if it is magnetic.  Finally, they make an inference about what is in the canister.  This lab is so fun to watch, and the kids guesses are awesome!  Sometimes they are right on and other times they are very off, but creative. :-) Inside the canisters are items like paperclips, rubber bands, marble, button, eraser, paper, and toothpicks.  I have 15 canisters and they rotate in groups about every two minutes.  They have to work quickly, but that is part of the fun.  If you don't know what is in the canister more time isn't going to help.

The lab comes from the book Picture Perfect Science.  We do the whole observation and inference section in the book.  I love that I get to read "kids" books to my 6th graders.  They always get pretty excited about the fact that they get story time again.  They all gather around on the carpet at my feet while I read.  Some are too "cool" to act excited, but they love it too.

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