The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Student Observations – Day One

I wrote yesterday about how my students have begun a science experiment to see what would happen if they put a cup of coloured water in a sealed bag and then hung it in the window. They had to make predictions about what they thought would happen and justify the prediction with an explanation. (This is all part of my “what and how” policy, also known as the “Don’t tell me; show me!” policy.)

I told the class that they would record their observations on Wednesday, after the apparatuses had been in place for a couple of days.

Of course, this didn’t stop anyone from making a bee-line to the windows when the arrived this morning to see if anything had happened yet! This filled me with a great sense of joy and excitement because my somewhere-close-to-10-years-old students were excited about looking at water in a bag. Coloured water, mind you, but I don’t think anyone of them really cared about that part of it. They wanted to see whether or not their predictions were coming true.

Some of the bags had what appeared to be fine droplets of water on the sides. Others had tiny pools of water in the bottom corners. Some had large droplets on the sides but not much else. A few had bubbles in the water still in the cups. One student’s apparatus had to be reassembled because it fell off the window. I also had to help four students through the prediction and assembly process. Three were absent yesterday, while the fourth was a new student in our class. (I think it is an indicator of how excited the students were about the projects that cups of water inside resealable bags were more exciting than the prospects of meeting a new student.)

We are going to record formal observations tomorrow, and then again Friday. I am hoping that nothing dramatic will happen over the next couple of days, so then the bags can stay in place throughout Spring Break and, hopefully, there will be a noticeable difference!


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