Science class in the Lausanne Lower School was more of a science lab on Wednesday as students took part in three separate projects, each with a different lesson learned.
The morning began with a lab on collecting gas. Students created a flask of water with a stopper and tube and the end of the tube was stuck into an upside-down bottle of Gatorade filled with water. The inverted Gatorade bottle was submerged in a one-gallon ice cream bucket half-filled with water.
"When we dropped a tablet of Alka-Seltzer into the flask, we stoppered it. The tablet bubbled like crazy, and the gas traveled up the stopper, through the tube, up into the Gatorade bottle of water and...those bubbles pushed out the water. The kids were very surprised that the air could do this," Lower School science teacher John Frassinelli said.
After making some changes to the place of the rubber band, the students were able to measure the volume of the gas.
From there, it was studying surface tension by floating a coin on the top of water, no boat or raft needed.
Knowing copper coins sink, students used Japanese yen due to its aluminum makeup. Even though aluminum will sink in water if it's dropped in, another strategy was employed.
"If we gently placed the coins on top of the water, they floated. The children understood that the top of the water, the surface, is a unique place. Air pressure from above flattens out the water, and the water itself sticks to the water around it. Water, although not strictly magnetic in the traditional sense, is considered polar by chemists. It does indeed have a quality that makes it behave slightly like a magnet," Frassinelli said. "The cohesiveness of the water and the air pressure cooperate to make a sort of "skin" on the water's surface, known as surface tension. If we did not break the surface tension, then we were able to float our coins."
The day ended with a study of conductors and insulators.
After discussing the atom and its three main parts, the electron was featured in the activity. Using various materials from around the lab the class created a simple circuit of a AA battery and a recycled Christmas light. After creating the circuit, students "broke" the circuit by inserting various things into it such as paper clips, glass tubes, plastic tubes and coins.
"If the electrons made their way through the things, then the light lit up and the material was identified as a conductor. If the light failed to light, then, of course, the material was deemed an insulator," Frassinelli said.
The lessons learned in the class help empower the students by developing their independence through exploratory learning while at the same time being both challenging and exciting.