Monday, March 16, 2009

Having a Blast with Diet Coke and Mentos!

On Friday, we conducted an experiment where we put Mentos into a 2-Liter of Diet Coke and tried to determine what kind of change it was. Some students believed it was a chemical change while others thought it was a physical change. In the world of science, many scientists do not agree on whether it is a chemical change or a physical change in matter. Click here to see one such explanation of the debate over this experiment being a chemical or a physical change by Steve Spangler. Check out the video below of our experiment:

What did you think? Comment and let us know.
-Miss Russell :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fizzy, Bubbly Science!

For the past week we have been
exploring "Changes in Matter." We have learned that there are two different types of changes in matter: physical and chemical. We have learned that physical changes in matter are changes that make matter look different without becoming a new substance. Chemical changes in matter are changes that cause one kind of matter to become a different kind of matter. Today we conducted a lab with the focus questions of "What, if anything, will happen if you combine baking soda and vinegar?" Students made their predictions and then they were off to conduct their experiments. Students found that when the two different substances were combined, baking soda and vinegar, that a very fizzy and bubbly reaction occurred. Together the two substances reacted to produce carbon dioxide. Based on the new matter that was formed, gas, the students were able to successfully conclude that this was an example of a chemical change in matter. Our final experiment for "Changes in Matter" will come tomorrow and it is sure to be a BLAST! (Hint, Hint!) Stay tuned...
-Miss Russell :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oobleck: Solid or Liquid? You Decide!

Last week in science class we began studying about matter. We have learned that there are 3 states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Students have identified characteristics of each of these forms of matter. Today we experimented with a unique substance we will call “Oobleck.”

Through their experiments with the Oobleck, students found that it had characteristics of both a solid and a liquid depending on how it was handled. When students poked the substance quickly with their finger, it acted like a solid, keeping it’s shape. When students poked the Oobleck slowly with their finger, it acted like a liquid, changing shape.

Students had a fun time working with the Oobleck. As always, they were expected to record their experiment on a lab sheet. They also recorded some fantastic questions that they were wondering after the experiment. Some of the questions were “What would happen if you freeze the Oobleck?” “What is the Oobleck made out of?” and “Is it possible to turn the Oobleck into a gas?”

After our initial experiment we even tried to walk on the Oobleck! When we walked quickly the Oobleck acted like a solid and when we walked slowly it acted like a gooey liquid. Oobleck is AWESOME (and a little messy. but totally worth it!)!!
Thanks for checking in!
Miss Russell :)
PS- Oobleck is 1 ½ parts corn starch to 1 part water (and a little bit of green food coloring.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Becoming Better Scientists!

One very important thing that a scientist does is to make a hypothesis and conclusion about a question that he or she has. Today in science class, we practiced writing several "hypotheses" and "conclusions." In order to have a reason to write a hypothesis and conclusion we posed three questions: What will happen if we put a sharp pin next to an inflated balloon?, What will happen if we mix an equal amount of oil and water?, and What will happen if we put some raisins in a container of club soda?
Students worked on restating the lab "question" in their hypothesis and their conclusion. Let's take a look at the oil and water lab. For her hypothesis, Alise wrote "If you mix oil and water I think the oil will come to the top of the water." As luck (or smarts) would have it, Alise was correct. Her conclusion stated, "When we mixed oil and water, they separated because the water was more dense. The oil was less dense so it stayed on top. My hypothesis was completely correct!" In her conclusion, Alise did a fantastic job of restating the original "question," including what she learned, and referring back to her hypothesis.
The students did a wonderful job duing our lesson today. They will certainly be using these lab skills next week as we dive into matter with several fun experiments! Not to give away too many details but here a few a words to desribe some of the labs for next week: sweet, bubbly, crunchy, EXPLOSIVE and SLIMEY! Check back soon. More awesome science stuff to come!!
-Miss Russell :)

PS- Here are the lab results:
1. The balloon popped. 2. The oil and water serparated. 3. The raisins "danced." (moved up and down in the container due to the air bubbles) :)

Check out these cool pictures from science class today:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cool "Green" Cars!

Today in science class, students read a Science Spin (non-fiction) article titled "Cool Cars." The article was about eco-friendly cars. Students were challenged to design there own eco-friendly cars. Students created cars that were both realistic and not-so-realistic. The cars included everything from robotic arms that pick up and recycle trash, to grass covered cars, to cars that run on air and many more "green" ideas. The students used a rubric to help guide them as they worked on designing their car. The kids did a great job designing their cars. You may even see these cars in the future.
-Miss Russell :)