How do you think scientists work?
You may answer – may be they work just like us. Or maybe – they pose a problem and find its solution through experiment. You probably might also use the words like – laboratory, hypothesis, solution, chemical properties etc.
Now answer the same question from a 10 – 11-year old’s point of view. Yes!!! Without a doubt, they will find it difficult, but not something they cannot come up with.
We started our unit on Scientific Investigation under the TDT – How The World Works where prior knowledge of the learners was gauged through learning centers.
Students were offered different stations with various resources ranging from readalouds to science books, from videos to powerpoint presentations as well as a gallery walk of evolutions around us.
Graphic Organizers were used as a reflection tool.
The reflection led the students to think and ask questions. And that is exactly what we wanted. This was step one of our scientific method – ASK A QUESTION.
Once we analyzed all different choice of our little Aristotle, we teachers did our BACKGROUND RESEARCH on what to do and how to go ahead with our plan.
Well, the answer was not simple until our students discovered the right path followed by all scientists around the world – THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD.
We began with our Dexters innovating and improvising some useful things for a community in need. They were really curious about how the world works and how they could add to it. Yes, they were talking about science. Their thoughts went from creating eco-friendly money in order to curb poverty, creating best out of waste, to designing voice command wheelchair to help the handicapped. You see, thoughts have no limit.
All these creative ideas were further polished by taking students across the school to observe innovations which they generally do not focus on. There was enthusiasm and curiosity in all the learners and their notes did not stop racing. Our little Alfred Nobels now had a choice to make. Some more provocations were provided to them in the form of some inspiring videos.
This led the students to think and come up with a problem and the steps for their attempt to solve it.
Students thought of crazy ideas, really crazy but doable ideas. Let us take you through some of them –
- Designing a car cum wheelchair for my grandparents with headlights, horn, 360-degree rotation etc.
- Making a pencil of used papers and pencil scrap which grows tree once sown after use. From one chopped tree’s paper, we will grow 100 of them.
- Self-cleaning fan to help homemakers.
- Making compost gas from food waste in societies.
- A car which works with RFID and driving license serves the purpose of a key.
- Fresh fruit perfumes, natural to use and economical.
- Solar oven with a pizza box.
- A solar car which will not need fuel.
It was time to test the hypothesis. Students used their persuasive writing skills and data handling survey questions they learned, to collect the required information to continue with their project ideas. Not only the school team but parents too participated to mentor our young geniuses in their learning.
Designing the blueprint, sharing the ideas, running from people to people, collecting responses, taking interviews, sending out forms and what not, the science unit made the wing chaotic. Designing, assembling, testing, breaking, re-making, discussing, all was evident in this process.
From making the group to breaking it and again regrouping and rethinking by working on the strengths of their peers, this was all done by the same 10-11 year-olds who astonished us with this social skill of theirs. They could collaborate and accept the responsibilities while working with the different set of people.
As students tested their own hypothesis, they could figure out the flaw or missing piece to their unfinished puzzle on their own. This time, teachers across sections became their mentors and were monitoring their each and every step closely. As they were briefed that the PROCESS is important and not the PRODUCT.
Some changed the idea as they could not find the required material. Some found it less innovative, on the contrary, some wished to conduct and design more than one experiment.
Analyze data and draw a conclusion
After all hullabaloo, some students stuck to their own experiments and some switched their projects in search of more feasible ones.
Now since they are nearing the science fair – which is their Summative Assessment task, they do not want to leave any stone unturned. They are eagerly waiting to showcase their hard work and evolution in their scientific knowledge.
This was a tasting for you all, the trivia is still continuing, so charge up yourselves to witness some more innovations.