Neatest science experiment(s) you do all year

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by Ms.Jasztal, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 26, 2009

    My favorites are launching rockets, Halloween Science (Steve Spangler), and "building" cells with JELLO at the beginning of the year. How about you?
     
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  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I love Alka-Seltzer rockets.

    The kids also made edible cells at home and brought them to school. Most were cake (yummy), but there were a few gross ones. They had to label each part and talk about the function.
     
  4. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    My kids love to make water cycles in bag. They also have fun and learn a lot when we take ice cubes outside. Then they have to show me how to turn the solid into a liquid, a gas, and back to a liquid. All of this is done without instructions, so they have to really understand the concepts of evaporation and condensation to make that happen.

    We also make mirror "mazes" where they have to set up 7 mirrors and the light from a laser has to reflect off of each mirror, around an obstacle and hit a target.
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Mine make the edible cells in class, but it's such a great idea and I have loved using it the past three years. It's strange imagining not doing the edible cells my first two years of teaching. My first year, I did perhaps one or two of the experiments I do now- and I've evolved into doing a trillion!!! (I remember they did Alka-Seltzer rockets, fingerprints, and this other experiment where they have to take a rubber ball to compare skeletal and heart muscle during exercise. I just do the last two now because my dad has this massive rocket launching machine he brings in that fascinates them. He started bringing in that machine my third year, too...)

    Goopp- that's a cool idea, too. We spend a few days on weather- not long, but your idea may work well. Now when kids want to make a solid in the freezer, do you have one in your classroom, or do the kids march down to a freezer somewhere to place their bags in? I may do this in smaller (novelty-size) bags so it doesn't take up much room, but it's a good idea.
     
  6. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I have one for the rock cycle that I think the kids will really like. this involves using crayon shavings to "create" a variety of rocks. They get to use burners to melt the crayons (igneous) and they get to use mallets to pound them into metamorphic (rocks). I figure with burners, hammers and the potential for a mess, I can't go wrong. :lol:
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oooh, how do you make water cycles in a bag?
     
  8. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I got all starry-eyed until I thought, This is mollydoll; she's HIGH SCHOOL. I don't know if my school would be pleased with me using burners or not, though that sounds like a blast. :lol::lol::lol:
     
  9. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    You could easily demo the melting part. And then let the kids at the solid crayon shavings with the mallets. Or use books or something safer.

    I don't know what kind of burners my school has, but I am sure I can borrow some from the chem labs.

    I didn't invent this lab, btw, just read about it in the geoscience education journals and it sounds like a great way to make an abstract concept more tangible. Plus the mess factor.

    There might be another substance that would work without heating. You need something liquid at room temperature that will also solidify at room temperature or at least stay solid long enough to work with, something that can be shaved up to create sedimentary rock clasts and then can be pressed together for "lithification" and then pounded to heck for metamorphic.

    Can anyone think of some sort of food item that might meet all of that criteria?

    I just thought of something. I remember reading some tip somewhere about melting down crayons and reusing them as something. Anyone know what I am talking about? It would be nice to do that and give the results to some elementary teacher instead of just throwing it all away.
     
  10. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I use gallon ziploc bags. If you don't have a lot of window space, you could use quart bags. Have students draw the water cycle on the bag with a sharpie. Label a lake at the bottom as accumulation, clouds as condensation, rain drops as precipitation, and I do arrows going up to clouds as evaporation. (make sure they put their names on their bags too.)

    Put a about a cup of sand in the bottom of the bag. Add a capful of water, you don't need a lot. Have kids knead the bag to get the sand damp. Zip closed the bag, except for about an inch. Have kids blow in the bag to fill it with air and zip it the rest of the way. Tape the bags to a window. After a few hours, have them look at their bags. They will actually be able to see the condensation on the sides of the bag, and they should be able to see precipitation running down the sides of the bag. We leave ours up for about a week and look at them every day. They really get the "cycle" part because it happens over and over. Once you are tired of looking at them, let them take them home. If they add a little water and blow them up every once in a while, they will last a looonnng time in a window at home.

    A bag of play sand at Home Depot is about $5 and is more than enough for 125 bags...so you can share with your team or save it for next year.
     
  11. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    The water cycles don't go in the freezer, see instructions above. I just use ice from the cafeteria to do the outside experiment. If you give them ice in a clear plastic cup, sooner or later they figure out how to melt the ice on the sidewalk and place the clear plastic cup upside down over it to catch the evaporating water and then it condenses back into a liquid.
     
  12. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Gotcha. I think my mind was racing into another quadrant there. :rolleyes:
     
  13. dcalhoun

    dcalhoun Companion

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  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Jul 26, 2009

    Soooo cool.
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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  16. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Jul 26, 2009

    This isn't really an experiment, but one of my kids favorite activities is dissecting owl pellets. Does anyone else do that?
     
  17. ktshafra

    ktshafra Rookie

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    Goopp- My kids dissect owl pellets too. They love that one. I enjoy seeing some of the girls pick around the pellet then eventually get totally into it. It's exciting to see them not fear getting their hands dirty.

    Another of my class' favorite experiments is the Electric Pickle. I use it as a culminating activity for our electricity unit and gets a great reaction every time. The directions are a little lengthy, but if you Google 'electric pickle' there are a few sites with great directions and pictures.
     
  18. Jungle

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    Jul 29, 2009

    Since I am doing a camping theme this year, the first day of school (if it's sunny) we will be making solar cookers to make s'mores. Then I plan to have them do the roller coaster experiment where they take the tubing and try to get the ball to stay on while they make hills and loops. I found a neat experiment I plan to try when we get to electrical circuits where they have to create the tallest possible lighthouse that still lights up. I found it while googling science experiments. Oh! Another favorite I just thought of! I give the students a few items - 2 index cards, a straw, a paperclip, and a pipecleaner and have them build a car out of it. They have to try to figure out how to make the car go the farthest down the slope. (It doesn't have to look like a car) They go wild trying to outdo each other!
     
  19. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    You can also give them some materials and a raw egg. They have to make something to drop the egg so that it won't break. I have mine work in groups to do this. Then, lay a tarp on the floor, stand on a chair and drop them to see if they break. They love it.
     
  20. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    For our sound unit, I gave the groups water, 3 glasses, and sticks. I told them they had to use the materials to play me "Mary Had a Little Lamb" by the end of class. It was loads of fun. That was 5th grade though. I'll need new ones this year.
     
  21. doubletrouble

    doubletrouble Companion

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    I am very interested in the halloween science. What is this?
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 29, 2009

    Go to Steve Spangler's science website, and I think Halloween science experiments show up on the front (or you may have to do to a minor search). The Atomic Slime costs, but it's worth it...
     

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