Monday, December 8, 2014

Inquiry Based Science---M & M explorations----fun stuff!

I've always felt that Inquiry Based Science is the way to go to get the most out of science.  We had gotten into the habit of "read the material-take the checkpoint" and science wasn't fun anymore.  Great info...but not applied or thought about after the fact and thus not retained for long.  So, I came across this freebie that is guiding us through some Inquiry Based Science lessons.  Wow!  We've had so many good discussions already! They've been actively using the scientific method, and coming up with their own questions and hypothesis and what variables could be changed also.  

Here's a fun looking freebie to help remember the steps in the Scientific Method:
There are so many poster freebies out there for this method!  Surely can't get bored!  Change is good, so I don't even laminate them...when one is needing to be replaced, because it's been used and abused, I print a different one.  :-D  You can get this one free at Teachers Pay Teachers.

The downfall, if one can call it that, is that there are so many directions we can take...we can easily spend an hour and a half in history and science...and still have more questions to explore.  Ha!  How do we progress through material but be able to touch on all those other concepts that come up?  We'll get it figured out.  :-)  At the moment I like being more relaxed and touching on many science concepts.   One way we are handling the "extra" questions is by writing our questions on post it notes and sticking them the wall so mom remembers.  :-D  We get to them as time allows.

You can find this book to download free at Inquiry In Action!  I'm very impressed with it!  We tweak it to work for my kiddos, K, 4th, and 6th grade, and we are slipping some Chem4Kids in between the first and the second lessons because dissolving brings up molecules and so on.  Good refresher for them and for myself too!  As a homeschooling mom, I never take the "I know it all" attitude because I surely don't.  I have to relearn or even plain ol' learn it the first time right along with them.  That has pros and cons.  Number 1) I can't always answer their questions but on the other side it makes us all have to dig a little deeper to find the answers and that is ALWAYS beneficial!  Learning to be a life-long learner.

Some pics from our first exploration
Our materials were
foam plates, package of M & Ms, colored pencils, room temperature water.  
We went from there!  It was so fun to put all that in front of them and ask them to come up with their own question about the material.  One of my goals is to get these kiddos back to "I wonder" thinkers ... the first step to problem solving... in my opinion.  
drawing out what they saw on their plates 

It was really neat to see the colors go above and below each other but not mix!  The kids were able to bring in their past knowledge, make new observations, try the experiment changing a variable.  So fun...yes, it's the way to go!  :-D

Variables they changed and explored:
water temperature
color of candy
type of candy
number of candies on a plate

I found that they asked many of the questions that the document suggested they would.  :-)
Problem we came across...those foam plates all raise up in the center...they are not flat. 
Problems are just ended up being a variable.  :-D

What's up next?
* Review on the states of matter
* Gummi bear explorations- physical change-all matter has volume-osmosis
*starting second lesson in Inquiry in Action document.

We've gotten a good start on our History project so they can be relatively independent for this next week, so the focus is on Science in the morning instead of history, I will have some happy kiddos!  Yeah!

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