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Chemistry is more than a BLAST!

on April 28, 2016

Students work on chemistry assignment

Students in Mrs. Powderly’s PIE 4/5 class have been learning about the physical sciences this year, thanks in part to the expertise of micro-biologist, Rebecca Connolly, a parent in the class.

Part of that curriculum is chemistry, which delves into the world of atoms and bonds. Lessons in chemistry also involve mathematics and scientific writing. The periodic table was a great tool to help students understand concepts like phases and properties of matter.

The classroom was transformed into a laboratory, which made these concepts working together to record datacome to life. Students were assigned partners and first completed a lab on scientific measurement. They learned about the metric system, and used their knowledge of decimals. The lessons taught the class how to measure volumes of liquids using graduated cylinders, how to measure mass using digital scales, how to measure length using metric rulers, and how to calculate the volume of solids.

Taking their knowledge from the measurement lab, the students then completed a hands-on experiment called, “The Density of Gummy Bears.” This experiment used the scientific method as students had to think to form a hypothesis. “What will happen to my gummy bear when it’s submerged in water over time?” The process involved measuring a gummy bear’s length, width and height (volume), and it’s mass every two minutes for 20 minutes. Then the gummy bears were left submerged in water overnight. The students were excited to see what happened the next morning!

Getting the data in orderOnce all the data was collected, students calculated the density and graphed the relationships between time and volume, mass and density. They had to then formulate a conclusion. Was their hypothesis correct? The students applied the data they collected for proof.

The gummy bear experiment afforded students the opportunity to apply technology to a STEAM experience, in a cooperative peer-learning environment. The sheer joy of using a using a digital scale genuinely motivated students to love calculating, just so they could see the outcome. With this lesson, the real chemistry was the students in action!

weighing a gummy bear on a digital scale observing the appearance of the gummy bear after soaking in water working diligently on the lab experiment parent volunteers help the students with the experiment

working hard to get it right thumbs up means the experiment was a success

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