This week Room 7 have taken part in a couple of Science experiments with twists: the scientific concept that we were told that we were experiencing was not what was really happening. I conducted these as I wanted to encourage the students to think critically about the validity of references.
On Tuesday we conducted an experiment called "Light vs Sound" where we blew up balloons filled with icing sugar and popped them to see if we would see the balloon explode before we heard it, as light travels faster than sound. However, when we are so close to an event like this, our brains cannot perceive the difference . Some of the students were sure that they heard the balloon first, while others were unsure. They were all interested to learn that the experiment was flawed and couldn't believe it was published in a book.
On Wednesday the students tried to see sound. We created mini drums out of glass jars with balloons stretched over the top of them. We then placed sugar granules on top of the balloon and hummed, trying to see if we could make the sugar vibrate. The science book I brought in explained that the sugar would vibrate because of the sound that they made, but it asked the students to hum quite close to the jar. Some of the students then realised that it was their breath that was causing the vibrations instead of sound. We then watched a video about how we could see sound, but the scientists performed this experiment on a much larger scale. It was this video that really caused discussion, as the students now had different evidence from different sources. Many of the students blogged that it was 'up for debate' whether the sugar moved due to the humming or their breath.
I found these lessons really fun to teach and really enjoyed the discussion that emerged from them. I hope to continue this discourse in my reading lessons as I will support the students to think critically about the texts that they are reading and to look at primary and secondary sources.