I love that my K-6 science laboratory students are fussy. Every now and then, I need to demonstrate a science concept, for safety's sake, but students always remind me that they would rather do the work themselves.
My students are correct: science inquiry requires that they themselves handle the materials, step-by-step.
But, with 21 laboratory classes to teach, at 6 lab tables per class, the demands and costs of teaching the chemical sciences can be frightfully expensive.
My science students want to analyze the elements contained in these liquid and solid chemicals, carefully measure them, and observe their properties before and after they are combined. Our laboratory has worked hard over the past three years to stock glassware and other tools of science. The truth is, our students feel cheated when we don't get to use these tools as they were intended!
Do I think these materials are essential for voracious STEAM students? You bet!
For years now, I have observed that the lion's share of general science education in grades K-6 takes place with worksheets, pencils, and books. Great, but that's not hands-on science inquiry!
Our school district has not purchased new science chemicals since 2002.
Most science advocates are unaware of this fact, and so the cost of chemicals falls to the science teacher, or most likely, never at all.
This project strives to shake the tree a bit, to rally our parents and student advocates to support the early chemistry laboratory. With these chemicals, we will be able to conduct The Burning Gummy Bear Experiment (about the energy potential in calories), The Hot Ice Experiment (about saturation and the heat of crystallization), Elephant's Toothpaste (about exothermic reactions), and a rheoscopic currents inquiry!
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