Science 8 – Students followed a WebQuest to learn about Quarks and Leptons. The class was really engaged, even though they had to share one computer for every three kids. When we reviewed the activity and I randomly called on students, they were all able to give an answer and seem comfortable with what they were saying.
Here is a link to the document I gave them to follow: fundamental particles
Science 8 – My grade 8 students went to playland today. It was another warm and sunny day and an overall good experience. I must admit that I really question the purpose behind this field trip. I’m not sure if it will happen in subsequent years for grade 8’s with the new curriculum.
Science 8 – Students are learning about the development and history of Atomic Theory from Dalton to Thompson to Rutherford and Bohr. They’re also using a PHeT simulation to help picture and understand Rutherford’s gold foil experiment.
Science 8 – My other grade 8 class did their dissection today. Above is a photo of the best example of a retina/optic nerve that we saw. I’ll keep this photo for other classes to see…
Science 8 – I took my classes to TRIUMF at UBC today. It was a good day for a few reasons. First, it was nice just to get outside of the classroom. Second, for many students this was their first time taking public transportation by themselves and a good way to start that process. Thirdly, the facility is just plain interesting.
After our tour I polled the kids to see how they liked it. The feedback was pretty polar. Most kids really liked it and found it interesting. A reasonable amount did not like it all that much. I think this polarization can be explained by the students’ existing knowledge. For those that had a hard time with the vocabulary being used in the tour, the tour was not very interesting. Often times we adults don’t give enough thought into what vocabulary kids know, when giving talks or presentations.
Science 8 – A highlight of the year is the sheep eye dissection. With minimal guidance, students were able to ethically and responsibly dissect the eye. My peer tutor was a fantastic help during this activity as there are a few places that kids have problems, most noticeably when puncturing through the eye the first time.
I got a chuckle from the kids after the lab when they told me that “finally, we got to do a lab.” Apparently a science lab isn’t a lab until animal parts are cut into!
Yikes, no photo today!
I’m getting my grade 8 classes back from my student teacher today, so we spent time catching up on what’s going on in the class and where we’re headed.
Science 9 – Students used compasses and charging/discharging circuits to see where current flowed in a circuit. This is a crucial lab to show that charges don’t originate in batteries. Evidence for this is that charge flows on both sides of the capacitor and charges can’t get past the insulator in the capacitor. As well, there is current when the circuit discharges without a battery.
This is such a great lab to do but it requires the right classroom culture. Students have to want to find answers to the questions being asked of them.
Science 8 – Today there was a province wide professional development day for learning and collaborating about the new curriculum. The above graphic is from the science 8 curriculum. One thing I noted on this day was the importance of the kinetic molecular theory. I believe it will be a crucial unit for going through the curricular competencies. This is the unit where students will be using mass balances, graduated cylinders, collecting data, graphing, etc. I think that topics such as density, viscosity and pressure will all fit into this part of the curriculum. While I don’t think that learning viscosity has any large importance for students, it is clearly a good topic to investigate in order to learn and master certain process skills.
As an aside, a friend told me a story about the kinetic molecular theory. Apparently Richard Feynman was asked about what he thought would be the single most important idea or theory that should be passed along to a new civilization, if we could pass on only one. His answer was the kinetic molecular theory: that all things are made up of small particles which vibrate faster as they heat up. Or something like that. Anyways, it’s important.
Science 8 – Students had 20 minutes today to be tested on their ability to come up with an experiment using the Smarter Science framework. The scenario I presented to them was: I pulled a wooden block along a desk surface with a spring gauge. Above is the rubric I will use for grading their work.