Today in Science 8 we debriefed our starch packing peanut experiments. I was actually quite surprised at how quickly the students picked up on the errors of our experiments. Students identified that:
- different peanuts had different masses
- water temperatures were not controlled well enough
- Stir rates were not controlled well enough
- How the floating peanut was dunked was not controlled
Furthermore, students were able to come up with solutions to the problems. Generally they suggested doing more demonstrations, having someone specialize in a particular step or procedure, and the use of pictures and videos for setting standards. Many of these things are tools that we use for QC in engineering.
As with all group discussions, just because one student offered up a good answer doesn’t mean that all students had the same idea. However, I was very careful to elicit information from almost all students. Usually there will be a few students that claim they don’t have anything to say. For these kids, I give them ample pause time before letting them off the hook; however, I always tell them to keep thinking because I will come back to them. Often these kids are eager with their hands in the air before I get a chance to ask them a second time!