Hope everyone had a blessed Labor Day! I spent my Labor Day with my family and husband– just the way I prefer.
We’ve gotten into the grind of science in the past couple of weeks. In week two, we worked with the same tools that scientists use– the metric system, the scientific method, and experimental design using a control, independent variables, and dependent variables. To assess learning, the freshman physical science classes designed their own experiments. We saw a huge range of projects– some groups wanted to see how feeding Gatorade to plants would affect their growth, while other groups created bouncy eggs by soaking the eggs in vinegar. The projects will conclude with the creation of a slideshow detailing how and why the experiment was designed and the results garnered. My chemistry kiddos researched water crises around the world and designed water filtration systems that purified water into a “drinkable” state (don’t worry– the kids didn’t actually taste the water they produced). This project gave the kids a look into how science is used and how iterative and collaborative design is used in science. While not every project worked perfectly (some kiddos put so much stuff into their filtration design that they didn’t collect a drop of water), we learned how to build and refine a system
Week three saw the beginning of our first tested unit. The physical science students are learning about the states and composition of matter while the chemistry kiddos are learning about atomic structure. The physical science kids have done experiments almost every day of the unit to compare different states of matter and how these states are changed when heated. The chemistry students observed the colors produced by flames of different metallic compounds and are applying that knowledge to the movement of subatomic particles. Some pretty heavy stuff for those chemistry kids, but everyone is following along and comprehending at a high level– at least, that’s what their daily work is telling me!
Our first vocab quiz was the Friday before Labor Day and I’m happy to report positive results. The first period of physical science averaged an 85%– thats a B average! The second period of physical science and the chemistry class both averaged around an 80%, which is a healthy C. As a teacher, I’m looking for ways to increase vocabulary comprehension without making class entirely too boring, and I’m always looking for feedback from the kiddos.
This coming week will (likely) bring the first test in both classes. The test will be based on comprehension of concepts more than vocabulary and will assess whether the kids have been following along in the experiments or just messing around a little too much. I have high hopes for all classes- I’m blessed with some bright and dedicated students! Here’s to having a good four-day week. 🙂