Hi! I’m Emily and I am a senior from Vermont. In my four years at Colby I have taken a number of education classes and worked my way to an education minor. Effective science education is very important to me because I have seen classrooms were good science activities can inspire students. I have also seen some science classrooms where students do mindless worksheets without an enduring understanding of the concepts. I wanted to take the Chemistry Outreach JanPlan because my ultimate career goal is to do science education for an organization such as an environmental non-profit or science museum. I had a lot of fun this month both designing lessons in the lab and working with kids out in the schools.
All three of my activities reflect my interest in the natural sciences (I’m an Environmental Science Major)
My first activity allowed students to explore the concept of resource partitioning by looking at how different birds might eat. In this activity students got to learn about how bird’s beak structures limit their diets. Each student had four utensils that represented different birds’ beaks and they tried to collect different food types using the four different utensils. Students collected quantitative data by recording how many units of food they were able to collect in a set time period. They then predicted what each bird would eat if this was a natural ecosystem. In the final part of this activity students matched the utensils they were using to real bird species. The teacher kids for this lesson can be found here for K – 3 and here for 4-8.
My second activity dealt with water pollution and the challenge of removing many contaminants from our water. In this activity students first polluted a waterway by adding common contaminants to a bucket. The contaminants were all of human origin, and included oil, soap, salt, and sand. Students then engaged in scientific inquiry to answer the question of whether it was harder to remove single contaminants or multiple contaminants. To do this students built filters and first filtered water with only one of the contaminants, then filtered the water they have polluted at the beginning. Teacher kit is here.
My third activity was called Geology Crayons and it allowed students explored the rock cycle by replicating it with crayons. First students reviewed the rock cycle and looked at real examples of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. The students then got to perform all of the processes of the rock cycle on crayons to make replicate rocks. They got to keep their rocks at the end of the lesson. Teacher kids of the Geology Crayons lesson can be found here for K – 3 and here for 4 – 8.