Monday, June 25, 2012

Learning to Be a Scientist: Week 4, Day 1

Continuing Learning to Be a Scientist: the fourth concept is "Scientists make measurements," the first activity is "Hotter or Colder?"

This activity requires a non-digital thermometer that can be put in water and that shows the temperature to go up to very hot and down to very cold. I had a very difficult time finding one like that. Maybe I was looking in all the wrong stores. I was hesitant to buy one online (I only looked on I looked in thrift stores thinking it's an older type thermometer so maybe they would have one. Again, they did not have one. I randomly looked into a used Learning Resources science kit in the toy section of a small thrift store and it had one! It was backed on thin plastic so I wasn't sure how it would fare in the hot water, but it was what I had to work with.

We (George, Builder Boy, and I) started out talking about measurements. We measured our heights in inches and our weight in pounds. Then we measured our body temperatures. The kids, being born in the digital age had never seen a thermometer like the one I showed them. Builder Boy knew about the forehead thermometer that we have. We then measured the temperature of water in three cups: one at room temperature, one with ice in it, and one that I heated up in the microwave. The kids enjoyed seeing the red go up and down. The thermometer thin plastic backing warped some in the hot water (the thermometer maxed out at 120*F) but it seems fine. They recorded the temperatures on the worksheet. 

Then I got out the other worksheet with pictures of people using different kinds of thermometers. We talked about why it is important to measure our body temperatures to see if we are sick with a fever. We talked about why it is important to know what the outside weather is. I used our forehead thermometer to measure their temperatures. Then we took the thermometer outside to test the outside thermometer. I printed out a weather chart I found a link for from this blog. We will be measuring and recording the temperature every day this week. (The Week 6 concept covers recording information, so when we get to that concept they will already have a personal example of it.) I also took them upstairs and showed them the thermostat and talked about inside temperatures. Then we sat down and I read the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library book Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? It had a lot of great information about why we measure the weather as well as also teaching them about the anemometer to measure the wind speed.  

The kids got popsicles as a treat and that gave them the idea of measuring the temperature inside the freezer. Then they took the thermometer around the house trying the temperature of different things. They also had a lot of fun making the red (alcohol?) go up by putting their fingers over the bulb at the bottom. Builder Boy came across a toy timer and he pointed out that timers and clocks measure time.

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