This week was great for so many reasons! The students in one way or another stated that they were learning a lot or that they were amazed by concepts that they were learning. As a result they did some truly in depth research because of how fascinating they found the activities we did.
Each activity was really cool, but if they had to be ranked, Monday’s was probably the coolest. They made “lungs in a bottle.” All it takes is a plastic bottle, some balloons, and some straws, as well as glue and tape. Not only did they have fun crafting and putting it all together, watching the fruits of their labor when the balloons inside inflated and deflated like lungs, but many of them learned about an organ they had never heard of before. It intrigued them to learn all about what the diaphragm is, what it does, and how there is a lot more to breathing than just the lungs. In addition to learning how our lungs and airways work, we also discussed some common dysfunctions of the lungs and airways. They were asked asked “If we built the lungs to represent how asthma works, which part of our lungs model would we have to change?” At first, their guesses dealt with the balloons, which represented the lungs. However, after thinking on what they found in their research, they changed their answers., remembering that asthma directly dealt with airways/passages (represented by the straws in our lung models). All of this and further explanation resulted in wide eyed realizations as to how much they did not know before.
A similar epiphany struck them when we discussed light and sound waves later in the week. In our discussion of light waves, they learned why the sky is blue. Initially, a few students hypothesized that it was because the sky reflected the ocean. While doing their own research, they found that the ocean reflects the sky, and the sky is blue due to how sunlight comes through our atmosphere and is refracted. Which then begged and, at the same time, answered, the question “Why does the sky change colors at sunrise and sunset?” This is because of the angle of refraction. This tied perfectly to the previous day’s activity of building catapults out of popsicle sticks and bridges out of marshmallows and toothpicks. Both days, inadvertently, ended up putting an emphasis on the significance of angles, as they play a role in how far a projectile goes when launched and how a submarine uses sonar to find other ships.
Each student at some point this week stated how cool something or multiple things that they learned were. Next week, they get to channel that enthusiasm for all that they have learned into their presentations to daycare children.
These students are developing such a profound respect, possibly even love, for science. I was truly floored, when Andrea chose to stay after program on Wednesday and Thursday to ask me more about the topics we went over and how they worked in other real world applications. I could not be more proud of these Science Giants! 🙂
Written By: Caitlin O’Brien