Growing Our Thinking Around Matter

Sunday, 25 March 2018

How We Began

We've been dipping in and out of a study on matter for the last couple of months.

Our first conversation began with the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  The children commented on the snowball Peter put in his pocket saying that it was going to melt. I asked them how they knew.  They explained that it was warmer in the house than it was outside, 

Shortly after, a child observed that the water in his bottle had frozen.  I snapped a photo, shared it with the class via the Smartboard, and asked them to explain the science behind what had happened.    

From there, we used this book to grow our thinking around the three states of matter.

Our Explorations

Out on the playground, there was a lot of interest in playing with blocks of ice.

We brought a few into the classroom and predicted how long it would take for them to melt.  They made predictions in terms of our class schedule (by snack, by math time, etc.)  It took longer than most predicted and wasn't completely melted before they left for the day.

We turned the melted water into an evaporation experiment and are currently measuring time by dropping a gem in the cup for each day that goes by.  Once the water is completely gone, we will count the gems to see how many days it took to evaporate.

A few of our 100th day investigations involved experiences with water.  Children were challenged to make a boat that could hold 100 pennies...

...and predict how much space 100 drops of water would take up!  It was much less than they thought and I asked them to imagine how many drops it would it take to fill up a bathtub, pool, or a lake!

As part of our measurement unit, we used water for the capacity experiences.  One involved finding out whose water bottle held the most!

I also set out some water experiences in the nature center for them to explore during Discovery Time.

Our Questions

Following these explorations, I asked for their questions about water and we used books, videos, and some hands-on materials to answer their questions.

The first question, "Is water wet?" reminded me of questions like, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound?" and "Which came first the chicken or the egg?"  There were no definitive answers, just different ways of looking at it.  The children had a hard time grasping this! One child even wrote me a note letting me know that she was still wondering about this question.

We took turns feeling water and using words to describe it. 

 We did sink and float experiments in plain water and salt water.

 We made a wave in a bottle.

And when the sensory table started to leak, a few children came up with their own solution to catch the dripping water.  I loved this!

Our Challenge

We culminated our study with an ice cube melting race.  I gave each child an ice cube in a little baggie and challenged them to be the first to transform it from a solid to a liquid!

Here are some of the strategies they tried.

placing it on the heater

immersing it in warm water

fanning it

blowing on it

insulating it using their hats and gloves
As you might have guessed, the winner used the warm water strategy!

As I write this, there is lots of real world "melting" going on as the temperatures rise and we transition from winter to spring !

Looking forward to where our spring inquiries will take us!

Thanks for stopping by!


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