Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Halloween...Time for Some Spooky Science Fun

It's Halloween time...the perfect time for some mysterious science investigations.
Third graders spend time learning all about Matter.  I love this unit and wish I could spend more time digging deeper into the content, but it is already on to the next unit.  Here are some of the activities we covered recently.
I like to start all my science units with some sort of read aloud or poem.
I lucked out and stumbled across a poem all about this science topic.
It's called "What's the Matter" and it gives examples and defines matter within the poem.
We glued it into our poetry anthology after working with it during shared reading time.
We are lucky to have many books on this science topic in our school library.  Here are some good ones.  Students are able to take these to read during readers workshop time.
 This is one of my favorites...
 After exposing them to the topic and reading about it in our science book, we created a folder to keep our Matter information sheets and science lab reports.
I love how this student decorated hers with key words like: volume and mass.
 Now that we had a general idea of what matter was, it was time to start working with it. Our first hands on investigation was simply to test whether objects had mass and volume.  This gave students the opportunity to work with balance scales and measuring cups and explore the idea of weight and capacity.
 Through this experiment students proved a rock has volume.  It took up space within the measuring cup causing the water level to rise.
 After learning what matter was, we were on to learning about how physical properties or characteristics of matter may change.  Here was an example of a dramatic change.  We took bars of ivory soap and examined them, noting their physical properties like size,shape, color, texture, etc.  
 Here is a student recording those observations and drawing a scientific illustration of what he noticed.
 Then we microwaved the soap for a minute and watched it expand and change shape and texture!!
The kids were amazed!
Here is another great experiment on physical changes that I did last year.   This one involves gummy candy and water. I plan on doing this one with Halloween gummies next week as we celebrate that holiday with some fun learning experiences.
Again, students observed the gummy on day one and recorded the physical properties. Then
students placed a gummy into a tiny cup of water and left it there overnight. 
 The next day we checked our cups and the gummy had doubled, some had tripled in size!  A great physical change!
Look at the size of that gummy! 
Good scientists always record!  Here is an example of the lab report we used.

We are not supposed to have an official Halloween celebration next Wednesday but how can we just ignore it?  My plan is to sneak some Halloween into another experiment involving the states of matter when we make a special brew with ingredients that are in the form of a solid, liquid and gas.
Interested in using any of these in your classroom?  I'm placing them in my TPT store if you'd like to grab a download of any of these materials or lab reports.  I've included other on mixing solids and liquids.
Check it out here:
Just interested in the Mystery Matter Brew idea?  That I'm offering free to all my supportive teacher friends...hope you all have fun with your little ghouls and goblins next week!