3/6/2018

Breathing New Life Into the Classroom: Spring forward with scientific investigation

By: Leigh Ann Pernell

As the birds start to chirp and the flowers begin to bloom, the emergence of warmth and color hint that science is everywhere. Springtime offers a variety of exciting learning opportunities through scientific investigation, and it’s super easy to integrate reading, writing, and problem solving into spring-themed lesson plans. If you’d like to experience some creative seasonal learning activities, then try one (or all!) of these hands-on exercises:

Ice Cream in a Bag

This easy experiment not only satisfies your sweet tooth, but it also provides the opportunity to explore the different states of matter.

  • Materials:
    (Makes one serving)
    Ice cubes (enough to fill half a gallon-sized storage bag)
    1 cup half and half
    1/2 cup kosher salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 pint-sized plastic storage bag
    1 gallon-sized plastic storage bag
    Spoons (1 per person)

Procedure:

Mix the half and half, sugar, and vanilla in the pint-sized storage bag and seal tightly. Next, fill the gallon-sized storage bag halfway with ice and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place the sealed pint-sized storage bag into the gallon-sized bag of ice and salt. Seal the gallon-sized bag. Then shake vigorously until the ice cream solution becomes a solid. Open the bag, insert a spoon, and enjoy a yummy treat as you discuss the chemistry that just took place.

Water Walking

This no-frills experiment shows the free-flowing state of liquid.

  • Materials:
    3 clear plastic cups
    Water
    Food coloring
    Paper towels

Procedure:

Place 3 cups in a row – about 2 inches apart. Fill the outer 2 cups ⅔ full of water and keep the center cup empty. Place a few drops of food coloring in each water cup, for example: one cup blue and one cup yellow. Fold a paper towel into a long thin rectangle, place one end in the yellow water, and one end in the empty cup. Now fold another paper towel and place one end in the blue water and one end in the empty cup. After a couple of hours, you will see that the water has moved up the paper towel and down into the empty cup. The blue and yellow water will travel, create a mixture, and will then become green. This is a fun way to explore secondary colors and the free-flowing nature of liquids.

            (red + yellow = orange; red + blue = purple —try them all!)

Disappearing Shell

This simple experiment shows what an acid can do. Vinegar (acid) reacts with the calcium carbonate of an egg shell and produces carbon dioxide gas. The egg will bubble and fizz when placed in the vinegar and will dissolve the shell leaving the egg intact - held in its membrane.

  • Materials:
    Glass jar
    Egg (not cracked)
    Vinegar
    Plastic wrap

Procedure:

Fill the glass jar ⅔ full with vinegar. Carefully place the egg into the vinegar. Cover the top of the glass with plastic wrap to reduce the smell and observe the chemical reaction. Leave the egg in the vinegar for at least 24 hours. The shell will dissolve, but the egg will remain intact. Remove the egg and to examine. It will have a rubbery texture and can bounce—gently.

Carson-Dellosa Helps Spark Exploration

Carson-Dellosa is ready to inspire scientific investigation in your classroom. Our Seasonal Science Resource Book highlights hands-on, outcome-based science activities for every season. Our collection of Earth Science products will be a catalyst for exploration and will help students strengthen their understanding of science. Jumpstarters for Life Science provides short daily warm-ups that will pique students’ interest and promote scientific thinking. These tools spark hands-on exploration, inspire problem solving, and help to keep our growing young scientists engaged in learning.

Scientific exploration is an incredibly effective way to get students to interact with the world. Authentic investigation builds real-world understanding while connecting and expanding upon multiple areas of learning. As spring fever hits, keep kids engaged, inspired, and blooming!