Thursday, May 9, 2013

Balloon Skewer

As mentioned before I love science. This is the reason I also love Steve Spangler's site. He has videos, lessons, explanations of all things science, and of course a store (be careful--highly addictive).

I have been focusing on our investigation and experimentation standards because these transcend the grade levels and also encompass many higher order thinking skills. I also thought it would be great review in preparation for our science fair. We are therefore spending our time having fun, fun, fun through rigorous science investigations.

While on Steve's site, I came across this Balloon Skewer experiment and thought it would be great for my kiddos. I was so right! The target vocabulary alone is impressive: stress/strain, elasticity, polymers, and reviewed molecules. Students had to determine if it is possible to poke a balloon without popping it. They all thought it was impossible. They made various observation, took notes, and made inferences based on those observations. In our first attempt, only one of my students succeeded. This caused an uproar of questions. Everyone wanted to know how he did it. This was an excellent opportunity to have that student explain their reasoning, steps, inferences and model what he had done. Of course, now students wanted to do it again to try out their "NEW" learning. The second attempt had 18/20 students successfully accomplish the task. On the third attempt 20/20 succeeded. They really did a lot of learning and had so much fun in the process. This is a win-win lesson for me.