Its been a few weeks and already we have done so much!  I’m excited to give you a peak into your child’s day here at SKS.  They have been enthusiastic and eager, and I’m enjoying getting to know them as students.

We started the year discussing the difference between an observation and an inference.  They practiced in several different activities, but the one below seemed to be their favorite.  After completing this, everyone agreed that viewing the world around them objectively is challenging!  Its difficult to interpret a situation without using your prior experiences and opinions.  Its important to distinguish the two in science in order to take data and interpret the results separately.  But, after this activity, they also realized that this is applicable to their everyday life.  48 people made inferences about the pictures below, and there were at least 20 different interpretations.  We all bring our own experiences and opinions into a situation, and the person sitting next to them might see things completely differently than them.  I enjoyed this discussion with them very much.

We then practiced making ONLY observations in our ice balloon lab:

After the lab, they were asked to come with a list of questions based on their observations.  This led us into an introduction into the science fair.  For the science fair, they need to come up with their own testable question.  Many of their questions began with the word “why.”  Why questions are usually research questions, not testable questions.  We practiced creating testable questions:
How many numbers can you find in order in 30 seconds?

Every scientific or testable questions includes two variables: the independent variable and the dependent variable.  Being able to identify these two variables is also important in a science fair project (or any scientific discovery/exploration).
We played around with different variables in the Alka-Seltzer lab:

The 6th grade students are learning about the scientific method this week.  They will have to create a “fair test” in a project called Marble Roller Coaster, which will use everything they have learned so far this year.  They have one day to plan the scientific test and one day to execute and gather data.  On Friday they will share the marble roller coasters with the class, and I’ll send more photos home to you.

Please ask your children about any of the above activities or concepts. Its great for them to think about these things outside of class an try to apply it to their everyday lives.

More to come soon!