Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nifty Winter Break Homework

Our amazing music teacher, Mrs. Tamburrino, has asked that we practice, "Fifty Nifty United States" over winter break so that it will be perfect for our play next year! Below are two "Fifty Nifty" videos. The first video shows you all the words to the song. The second video shows you a picture of each state and has great information in it for studying states for Social Studies class! 

Please remember to work on your reading page challenge over winter break as well (reading the blog today can count!)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Phases of Water Gizmo, Activity B

Upon further exploration on our Phases of Water Gizmo, students were challenged to answer, How are the phases of water different from one another?  Our young scientists were able to explore this question because the Gizmo has a magnifying glass that can be dragged over the beaker so they can see the molecules in each phase. 

When students pulled the magnifying glass over the ice, they could see the molecules. They noticed that the molecules were moving very slowly.  
In most solid substances, the molecules bond and although they vibrate, they don't move much. The bonded molecules are what gives a solid its fixed shape. Water is a rule breaker in this respect, because the molecules do slow down but they don't bond together as much as most solids. This affects the density of ice.
When the temperature rose, students noticed that the molecules began to move more rapidly. Because ice is a ruler breaker, you can't really tell the difference between ice and liquid water in this Gizmo. Most of the time, you would see the molecules of a solid begin to move more quickly, and become less bonded.
When students looked more closely at water vapor, they could clearly see that the molecules began to disperse and move more rapidly. There were very few molecules that could be seen under the magnifying glass because they were dispersed and filled up the entire container.

 We added this diagram to our anchor chart. 
 The way the molecules react to temperature change led us to some very good conversation. The students were able to make the connection that ice and water didn't reach the top of the beaker. The liquid water molecules were loosely fit and can flow past one another. This gives water the ability to pour and its shape changes according to the container that its in. Ice acts differently than most solids because it actually expands when frozen. Have you ever seen a water bottle frozen after putting it in a freezer?  Most solids actually shrink when frozen. Water vapor, on the other hand,  has molecules that speed up and move apart to fill the whole container. 

We discussed that most substances when in solid form have the greatest density and when in gas form are the least dense. The density of a substance refers to how much matter is packed into a particular space or volume. With water, however, ice floats in water. The molecules behave differently. Liquid water is most dense, then ice. Water vapor is the least dense.  

Phases of Water Gizmo, Activity A

To extend our study on Phases of Water, after reviewing the terms freezing, melting, boiling, evaporation, and condensation, we then completed a Phases of Matter Gizmo. After becoming acquainted with the Gizmo, students explored three activities to answer three essential questions. This post will focus on Activity A,  How does temperature affect the phase of water?

Students worked through a serious of steps. As they worked, they were able to gain or lose heat and watch as the temperature within a beaker went between -20 degrees Celsius and 120 degrees Celsius. There was a lid placed on the beaker to show how the water reacted as it changes phases. 

In this first slide, students were asked to find the temperature at which ice would melt. Students discovered that the ice began to melt at 0 degrees Celsius. Solid ice would then start to become a liquid.
 After all the ice was water, then students were asked to find the temperature at which the water in the beaker would begin to boil. They discovered at 100 degrees Celsius, the water would boil. They also noticed that as soon as the water boiled, the lid would begin lifting off the top of the beaker.
 They concluded that the boiling water was evaporating and changing into a gas, therefore the lid was lifting. 
 After setting the temperature at 120 degrees Celsius, the students were then challenged to find the temperature at which water vapor would begin to condense and turn back into liquid water. At 100 degrees Celsius, they saw this change occur.
 The temperature of the on-line simulation stayed at 100 degrees Celsius until all the water vapor was a liquid. 
The last task of Activity A was to find the temperature that water would freeze and become solid ice. At O degrees Celsius, they saw this phase change occur.  
 In Closing, we discussed the connections and added to our Phases of Water anchor chart. We also answered the essential question, How does temperature affect the phase of water?

When water gains heat or loses heat, it can create a change of phase. When the temperature reaches 0 degrees Celsius, ice begins to melt. If the temperature of water reaches above 100 degrees Celsius, water will begin to boil. Boiling water begins to evaporate and become water vapor. When water vapor loses heat, the gas will condense and turn back into water droplets. If the liquid water cools to 0 degrees Celsius, the water will then begin to freeze. 

Phases of Water Anchor Chart

This week, we continued our study of Matter and Its Properties. As part of our Changes of Matter third grade standard, students are expected to describe the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling by using familiar scientific terms such as freezing, melting, boiling, evaporation, and condensation.

This is an anchor chart we created for student reference. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tricky Triangles!

For the past two days, our tiny mathematicians have been exploring the attributes of triangles through the essential question: "What are attributes of all triangles?" Yesterday, students constructed triangles with straws and explored the similiarities and differences between them.  During the closing, we compiled a list of attributes of all triangles (see picture below of our closing thoughts). 

All triangles...
  • have 3 sides, angles and vertices
  • are closed figures (no openings or "cracks")
  • have straight lines (no curved lines)
  • no "extra pieces" hanging off
  • are 2-dimensional
As we continue to explore triangles, we will see if we can add to this list. Also, next week students will be exploring the same essential question only instead of thinking about triangles we will focus our attention on quadrilaterals.

What do you notice about these two triangles? What is similar about them and what is different? Leave your comment below!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Missing Factors

Throughout the multiplication unit, students have played games using array cards to become fluent with their multiplication facts. The array cards show students the number of rows and columns in an array, and then the students solve for the product or area of the array. They check their accuracy by turning the card over to find the product. 
4  x 6 = 24

This week, we played a Missing Factor game using the array cards. To play this game, students spread their cards out with the area and one dimension showing and their task was to figure out the missing factor or dimension.  They recorded the problem in two ways, as a missing factor multiplication problem and as a division problem. 4 x ___ = 24   and  24 ÷  4 = ___.   After solving, they turned the card over to find out if they found the missing factor. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Measuring Volume

Measuring the volume of liquids and solids is a skill that takes precision and therefore takes practice. To give students more opportunity to practice, we completed a Measuring Volume Gizmo today. In the virtual lab students used beakers, graduated cylinders, and pipettes to transfer water, and then used a magnifying glass to zoom in on the meniscus and read the volume. 

There are two modes in the Measuring Volume Gizmo, Free Explore and Practice. In the Free Explore mode, students simply practice the skill of transferring water from one container into another and reading the volume in mL. However, in the Practice mode students are tested on their  measuring skills and given immediate feedback on their precision. 

By the end of the task, students felt more comfortable reading the volume of a liquid in a graduated cylinder, and were better able to measure the volume of a solid using water displacement. 

Here is one example of a task that students should be able to complete by the end of their exploration. Fill a graduated cylinder with 20 mL of water, then place a rock in the graduated cylinder. What is the volume of the rock?
(Hint: To answer correctly, be sure that you are reading from the bottom of the meniscus.) 

After the rock is placed in the graduated cylinder, the water displaces from 20 mL to 35 mL, therefore the volume of the rock, or the amount of space the rock takes up, is 15 mL.