The Little Prince’s friends, the little STEM water explorers

“There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.” – Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Little Prince’s friends, the little STEM water explorers

Author: Ghenea Simona

Date: March 15-22, 2021

Subject (s): mathematics and natural sciences, engineering, practical skills, water density, capillarity, water aggregation states, etc.

Aims of the lessons:

-familiarization of students with elementary notions about certain concepts, water-based phenomena

-involvement of students in conducting experiments, practical and demonstrative scientific activities

-developing a positive attitude towards science and technology

-grow up basic scientific concepts

-discover student love for science and learning.

Age of students: 7-8 years old

Preparation time: one week before the chosen students studied the steps for carrying out the experiments

Teaching time: 5 days

Teaching resources (material & online tools)

Materials:

jars, glasses, pencils, worksheets, eggs, food coloring, markers, bottles, candies M & Ms

Online tools:

   https://youtu.be/mylCQjryPiU     Paxi and the water circuit in nature

 https://youtu.be/oaDkph9yQBs   NASA | Earth’s Water Cycle

https://youtu.be/Oq8iCsV4woE       The Water Cycle Song | Science Songs | Scratch Garden

Chatter kids, Genially, Bookcreator

21st century skills

These lessons aimed at training and developing the following skills defined as 21st century skills:

Critical thinking: Finding solutions to problems

Creativity: Thinking outside the box

Collaboration: Working with others

Communication: Talking to others

   STEM activities create critical thinkers, increase scientific literacy and create the premises for the emergence of the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that support progress, so I believe we need to develop them from a young age.

  My goal is to train students in a solid knowledge base in STEM. So I aimed to integrate Stem activities into the first grade curriculum.

  The curriculum  of first grade  includes contents such as:

  • Water transformations: solidification, melting, evaporation, boiling, condensation
  • Energy sources: water and uses in practice.

  Because the Little Prince’s Friends are extremely curious, I challenged them to find out as much information about water as possible through experiments and various integrated activities.

  Driven by the enthusiasm of 7-8 year olds, curiosity, the multitude of questions that seek answers and considering the great truth that only through play will understand certain concepts at this age, we embarked on a magical journey into the world of water, following systematically making connections between all the disciplines provided in the class schedule, creating significant learning contexts for real life.

  For a week, we entered the world of STEM activities with the help of science, animated by the belief that introducing children to science at an early age helps to develop their brain. Even young children can do scientific experiments. Using materials that children enjoy playing with helps them grow great ideas and understand basic concepts.

  We discovered the role of wonder and error to make sense and to find out things about water, and the active involvement of students ensured the success of understanding some early concepts, adapted to the age level.

  This age stage is an important moment to stimulate the flexibility of thinking, as well as the creativity of the student. In this regard, we insisted on arousing the child’s interest in science, the courage to try and the development of self-confidence. Thus, the game predominated, it was the one who created the context for active, individual and group participation. Also, the emphasis was on the spontaneity and creativity of the answers and not on their scientific rigor. Scientific concepts such as water density, refraction, water circuit, dissolution were explained with the help of attractive experiments, they involved the use of materials easily available, so I recommend them to other teachers, because I noticed that my students were extremely excited, they retained more easily and learning was done by doing, which ensures the retention of information in the long run.

Day 1- Introductory activities

For the first day, I captured the attention with the help of the video https://youtu.be/mylCQjryPiU PAXI AND THE WATER CIRCUIT IN NATURE. With the help of the character, the students learned about the wonderful journey of water in nature, saw in the video about the three states of aggregation and answered questions after watching.

I challenged them to strengthen their creative skills and they built a wheel that through its movements revealed a moment in the water circuit. We have also integrated the visual arts skills and practical skills in this way:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FO33dkbW3VWy2Ggtz8wi83AZSEQVJdPx/view?usp=sharing

The film made by NASA https://youtu.be/oaDkph9yQBs was used to make children aware of the role of water on a planetary level and to describe the areas for which it is a vital source, but also that without water we cannot survive. The illustrated song https://youtu.be/Oq8iCsV4woEabout the water circuit, although funny, due to the multiple visual effects, helped them understand phenomena about which they always asked questions such as: why is it raining, why is it snowing?

Activity 1- Magic arrows

Necessary materials:

• arrows in the form of post-it notes

• An empty clear bottle

• The water

Working methods and techniques:

I used problematization, observation and explanation.

I used two arrows of different colors, I glued them on a white background. The arrows will point in different directions. Then I filled the bottle with water.

I invited the children to gradually move the water bottle in front of the sticky note. As the glass moves in front of the sticky note, something amazing happens.

The arrows seem to change direction! I challenged them to tell me what I thought had happened. Students learned that refraction occurs because light bends when it passes through substances such as water and plastic.

As light travels through a substance, it becomes concentrated in a focal point, usually near the center. After the light passes through the focal point, the rays intersect and make the images appear inverted.

For the following days I divided them into groups and the representative of each group received instructions from me, videos and worksheets with the necessary steps for carrying out an experiment and the necessary materials. The students played the role of little scientists and learning from their colleagues who performed the experiments, they were extremely attentive. self-confidence of the students, gave them motivation and they exercised the act of communication.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qmAGt2nFseqBiCECiZyIcUy-2xtkZFTq/view?usp=sharing

Day 2 

The naughty egg

  You will need the following:

• 2 jars

• 2 eggs

• Salt

To explain some basic water-related scientific concepts such as density, this experiment is magical! The children were observers, they said what they think will happen if we put salt in only one of the jars and they made estimates, predictions.

The children thus learned about density, they noticed

that the egg in the salt-free jar sank, and the other where the salt was, floated. Salt water is denser (heavier) than plain water.

In fact, so heavy that it can withstand the weight of objects heavier than an egg.

They told real life examples where this experiment is illustrated – saltwater basins, etc.

Students solved math problems to calculate the capacity of various containers.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SSnv8icvq13_qwE8EoeBSDy-YkbgKJfk/view?usp=sharing

The third day

M&MS magic

For the experiment you need:

• Plate

• water

• M&MS, Skittles or candies

The student showed his colleagues based on the instructions previously received what happens if we put water over candies. Brainstorming was used to get creative ideas from students about what would happen if we put hot water, vinegar, cola.

They understood the phenomenon of the plate-dissolving of sugar in candies and food coloring.

They have similar amounts coated on them so they dissolve at similar speeds and stay in their lanes.

We applied the scientific method, a very simple process that we do every time we do a scientific experiment. How did I apply M&MS candy to this experiment?

1. Ask a question

This is where the children shine. All children have many questions. For this experiment, our question was “Can we get a rainbow on a plate?” “Will they dissolve?” or “Will the colors mix?” The driving force behind the experiment was the questions.

Research

I researched how a single candy dissolves, small tests were done and I used mathematical calculations for the dissolution time.

“Would one color dissolve more than another?” Once we received this answer, we were ready to address our big question.

Assumption

This is your prediction, based on research and maybe some preliminary tests, about the results of the experiment. The children predicted that they would be able to make a rainbow with MMS and water.

Experiment and test

Then we set out to do some tests. We arranged our M&MS (on beautiful white plates), added a little water and followed the procedure.

Observe and evaluate

They noticed and noted the times, they were amazed by the simple but effective experiment.

Analyze the results

We analyzed the results to determine if our hypothesis was correct, partially correct, or completely wrong.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1epdLwOF3VhnH7K4MVnj0HPZm1iuW4Wsd/view?usp=sharing

On the fourth day there were several activities.

Activity 1-The magician’s overturned glass

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19jRMX-SBoNDo84mWJm3QwYTSOaMBcsZ0/view?usp=sharing

With the help of this experiment, the students learned why the water in the gauze-covered glass did not flow and learned basic notions about air pressure and water.

Consumables required

• Drinking glass

• The water

• gauze

• Large container

What do you think will happen if you pull your hand? The students wrote down the hypothesis and noticed what happened – the water did not flow.

The reason this experiment works is because of the air pressure! In this experiment, the air pushes up from under the gauze and is strong enough to overcome the weight of the water pushing down towards the gauze. The children were impressed, and at home they each tried the experiment.

Activity 2The napkin experiments

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DZQahSMKd9zXfXIRvtyBzCDomWT9LCc_/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MykpSN_h8rIqIC-AUvC5v6O2_I_IFYrf/view?usp=sharing

The napkin experiments are very simple, but with an amazing effect, the students noticing the capillary action (I didn’t use the notion)! I explained what the paper is made of, the role of cellulose and its relationship with water, and on the board I drew the fibers with spaces and by drawing they understood that water wants to fill these spaces. The colors are slippery and that is why they were soluble and traveled with water through the towel to form either the rainbow or various designs.

In the case of the rainbow, it was observed how the water circulates from one glass to another.

Activity 3-Water mil

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1n8MF8DulHRnrMuR03jv2FZXb0Gf2u8MM/view?usp=sharing

Using the SCAMPER technique, I aimed to develop construction skills, creativity, inventiveness, as a premise for future engineering skills.

I challenged him to give another use to plastic cups and cardboard. To help them, when they were still young, I showed them a picture with a water mill from the Eftimie Murgu water mill ensemble. They determined who to staple in the team, calculated how many glasses they needed, measured to find the center of the circle, used recyclable materials, and were amazed when they noticed that their craft wheel was spinning! The Scamper technique was very helpful, I generated the template online with the help of https://online.visual-paradigm.com/.

  I used the questions and guided the students:

Substitute

Can you use plastic cups elsewhere or as a substitute for something else?

 Combine

What if you combined plastic cups with another material, such as cardboard, to create something new?

    Adapt

In what other context could you put the product obtained?

    Modify

How could you change the shape of the mill obtained?

    Put to Another Use

Who else could use the mill created?

Could you recycle the waste from this product to make something new?

    Eliminate

How would you make the mill you created faster?

What would happen if you took some of this product?

Lin said that children are “naturally creative, open to experience and tend to be attracted to new things.” I used this close association to provide opportunities for students to initiate creative thinking processes before asking them to innovate a product.

The fifth day was dedicated to assessment and students had questions answered in an online game about water, presented lapbooks about what they learned about water and presented them, then were judged by colleagues. The Chatter Kids application was used to send messages to protect the oceans for pollution with disposable masks.

The highlight of the Water Day was the meeting with partners from 5 countries from the eTwinning project ARE YOU AWARE? The students presented the products created for a week, discussed and learned from foreign partners.

The pedagogical value of Stem experiments based on the use of water is especially valuable from an early age, because children understand the notions more easily if they observe, if they do.

The method of learning by doing is always successful, so I recommend teachers to devote at least one week to water activities because students will understand the phenomena more easily, will retain them in the long run and you will see them develop extremely many skills in an integrated way.

The assessment process focused on recognizing the learning experiences and skills acquired by students in created contexts. The students’ results were recorded, communicated and discussed with the parents. During the learning and assessment activity, the progress of each student was monitored, encouraged and evaluated.

To develop their digital skills, we used the first steps in coding from Hour of code about programming an A.I. robot. who must be taught to clean the ocean and thus, the students were aware of the importance of protecting the waters.

Student feedback– The students were delighted, they want to carry out even more experiments and they retained the information more easily.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19ojo0lWrfPEz2JcBlCbcGYloZjUZQqp6/view?usp=sharing

https://view.genial.ly/60313527b213870d34e226ae/game-breakout-water-kingdome
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k-zC1BFxoteJ791D1OUTbhxfpqVT_-bL/view?usp=sharing
https://youtu.be/PjZPqgketiU

All the visuals, photos, videos belong to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

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