Science Inquiry and Science Notebooking
Many districts provide hands-on science kits to help teach science through a hands-on, inquiry based approach. While all the kits are a great resource, I particularly enjoy our electricity unit. From creating a filament to testing out conductors and inductors, we record our thoughts and observations through science notebooking. If you are not familiar with these kits, I'd like to share a sample of videos, pictures, and writings from our current electricity kit. I have also included a slide show of a student's science notebook for you to view.
Hands-On Kit Basics:
If you are not familiar with the hands-on science kits, ours comes from Carolina Biological Supply Company. There are six kits available, leaving time for one kit every six weeks. Before you receive a kit, you must go through a one time training session (for each kit) after school. This means you get to play with the kit and experience the lessons as a student.
Some kits I look forward to more than others. I don't jump for joy when the large bag of millipedes (uck) comes in, but I do admit the interest is high for students. So far we have learned about:
- habitats and scientific observation with Fiddler crabs, frogs, and millipedes
- experimented with simple machines such as pulleys, levers, and wheel and axles
- learned about electricity by building circuits and filaments, testing inductors and conductors, and learning about series and parallel lighting
- we will learn about erosion, sediment, and water through our next kit.
So, my student teacher and I created a mini two week electricity unit- cutting down the provided 16 lessons into 10. Here are some of the lessons shown through video, photos, and science notebooking.
Electricity Overview: KWL Chart. It Grew Throughout the Unit.
Throughout the unit, the last few minutes were spent reflecting on what we still wanted to know and what we learned. As you can see, there were a lot of questions and learning going on.
Lesson: Building a Circuit
This is a simple, but needed, hands-on experiment. The nice thing about having a science kit is that all the resources are provided for you. No late night trips to the grocery store needed.
Lesson: What is Inside a Light-bulb? How Many D Batteries Does it Take to Light a Bulb?
Answer: 15-17, depending. I was told by another teacher that it can take up to 60 D batteries to fully light a 60 watt bulb. Wow.
For this lesson, students first investigated inside of a light-bulb, labeled the parts, and predicted/ tested how many D batteries it would take to light a 60 watt bulb. The picture is dark because we had to turn off the lights.
Lesson: Conductors and Inductors
For this session, students were asked to build a basic circuit and use various items to test whether it is a conductor or inductor. Most students predicted metals would be conductors, but many were surprised that this is not always the case. The shocker was discovering how a lead pencil could be a conductor or insulator, depending on where you place the wires.
Lesson: Creating a Filament
Here a student works with creating a filament. We were unsure it was working until we felt the heat. Another student used a strand of hair to test it. Needless to say, the room smelled bad. Very bad. All in the name of science.
Lesson: Series and Parallel Lighting
Series Circuit above. Click on the photo to view a clip on this.
Parallel lighting above. Click on the photo to view a clip on this.
An Extension: Which will last longer-The series or parallel lighting? We are still testing this out right now.
A Closer Look at Science Notebooking
Click on the photo above to look at each page in a science notebook. This will allow you to view many pages inside a student's science notebook.
One of the great benefits of starting a science notebook is the modeling of nonfiction text structures. Students keep up with a written table of contents, glossary, drawn charts, headings, labeling, etc. It's a hidden reading and writing lesson all on its own. Of course, the other benefit would be valuing inquiry through observing and recording.
Here is the book that is encouraged by our science coordinator:
The book is available under Heinemann here.
To learn more about our class, visit us at www.bar.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/bunyia/bunyihome.html