Science Challenge

Week of May 11, 2020

The goal of the NEWESD 101 Science Kit Cooperative is to send out weekly science challenges to our members. The challenges will sometimes be tailored to a grade level, or a more general challenge which can be adjusted or added to based on the grade level you are teaching.


If you are needing any science materials to show demos to your students during your virtual meetings, please let me know and we will do our best to accommodate any requests.


Thank you,

Beth

Grades K-2: Investigating Pendulums

For this challenge, your students will build a pendulum. They will need an item to use as the pendulum (cork, sewing spool, rock, blob of playdough, lego man, etc.) and 2 pieces of yarn or string. One piece of string should be 8” and the other should be 16” and a timer.


  • Tie the 8” piece of string to the pendulum.
  • Students will set their timer for a period of time (such as 30 seconds). How many times does the pendulum swing in that period of time?
  • Tie the 16” piece of string to the pendulum.
  • Students will set their timer for the same period of time as they did for the shorter string. How many times does the pendulum swing in that period of time?


Question: What does the student think will happen? Will the pendulums swing for the same amount of time or will one do more than the other? Which one?


Students should observe that the shorter string results in more swings of the pendulum. Can they explain why?

Grades 3-5: Engineering Parachutes

For this challenge, students will be trying to create the safest parachute. Students will be given 2 examples of parachutes they can build and test with. Once they have those complete, students will use other materials found at home to see if they can design a better parachute that will allow someone to safely reach the ground.


Students should have a timer, a plastic shopping bag, a handkerchief, yarn or string, object to have the parachute drop (blob of modeling clay or playdough (about 1” diameter) or a rock, cork, etc.) and a chair (or other parent-approved) item to stand on for releasing the parachute.


Plastic Parachute


  • Cut 4 pieces of string/yarn approximately 12” in length.
  • Cut a 12” square out of the plastic shopping bag.
  • Tie a piece of string to each corner of the plastic square. Attach each string to drop object.
  • Stand on the chair and drop the parachute, timing it from the moment it is released until the moment it hits the ground. Record the time.


Cloth Parachute


  • Cut 4 pieces of string/yarn approximately 12” in length.
  • Cut a piece of cloth to a 12" square (bandana, handkerchief, cheesecloth, etc.) If you don't have cloth available, skip to the design challenge step.
  • Tie a piece of string to each corner of the cloth square. Attach each string to the drop object.
  • Stand on the chair and drop the parachute, timing it from the moment it is released until the moment it hits the ground. Record the time.


Design your own parachute(s)


  • Cut 4 pieces of string/yarn approximately 12” in length.
  • Tie a piece of string to each corner of the object/material being tested. Attach each string to the piece of clay.
  • Stand on the chair and drop the parachute, timing it from the moment it is released until the moment it hits the ground. Record the time.


Have students report back to you on how fast each parachute “fell” and have them give you their recommendation as to which of the parachutes they tested would be the safest.

Grades 6-8: Chemical Reactions

Students will use household items to see chemical reactions! Students should be able to report back to you their assumptions of what will happen prior to the experiment, and then what actually happened and why. If you have your students film and send you their reactions, and you would like to share with us, we would love to see some!


Inflating a Balloon


  • Students will need a balloon, an empty 1-L plastic bottle (You can use an empty 2-L bottle but may need to adjust the amounts of vinegar and baking soda accordingly), a funnel, vinegar and baking soda.
  • Question: The student should be able to tell you what they think will happen.
  • Put 3 TBS vinegar into your bottle.
  • Take balloon and put onto bottom of a funnel.
  • Put in 1 tsp baking soda into the balloon.
  • Put the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle being careful not to tip the balloon up to drop the baking soda into the bottle just yet.
  • Once the balloon is secure, tip up the balloon, dumping the baking soda into the bottle and into the vinegar.


Questions:


  • What type of reaction took place?
  • How long did it take for the reaction to occur?
  • What happened?
  • How long did the reaction continue?
  • What forms of matter did you observe during the experiment?
  • Why do baking soda and vinegar react when combined?
  • What is the chemical equation for this reaction?