Last Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Doherty and Ms. Strate’s Class 3 students happily made their way into the Lower School science room, searching for the green marble notebook that had their name on it.
Once they settled in, LS science teacher Mary Ostrover began the lesson. “Your first science experiment is today,” she shared. “And we’re using Skittles to help us learn!” The students gasped and cheered despite learning they were unable to eat them due to COVID-19 health protocols.
Before diving into the experiment, Ms. Ostrover went over “Science Class Agreements” – a list of rules that the other sections of Class 3 aided in creating. Some helpful guidelines included ‘Say something helpful and supportive,’ ‘Be patient with others and yourself,’ ‘Be safe,’ and ‘Share materials.’
“Does anyone have a rule that they would like to add?” Ms. Ostrover asked the class. One student recommended not having “side conversations” and focusing on the task at hand.
Following the introduction, Ms. Ostrover showed students how to set up their lab notebooks. “A lab is like a report that a scientist creates,” she explained. “You always need your experiment title, the date and your chart.” The students followed along, tracing neat lines in their notebooks.
Ms. Ostrover noted that in addition to the Skittles, students would be using hot and cold water for their experiment. “Who can guess the title of our lab? The title also represents the question that we will be answering or solving.”
After a brief deliberation, the intuitive students concluded that they would discover how Skittles react in hot and cold water and thus began brainstorming hypotheses. Some suggested that the Skittles would sink and do nothing when placed in cold water while others thought they might freeze. One group hypothesized that when placed in hot water, the Skittles would sizzle and lose color.
As students discussed their theories, Ms. Ostrover and Rowen Halpin, Lower School Associate science teacher, began distributing the candy and cold water. (Students would receive their hot water, carefully poured by Ms. Halpin, after observing the effects of cold water).
‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahs’ began to fill the room. They watched intently as the vibrant colors slowly lifted from the Skittles and swirled inside the clear cup. “Look really carefully,” Ms. Ostrover advised.
As groups received their hot water, they were fixated on the cup, eager to drop their Skittles inside. “So cool!” One student cheered as the colors swiftly disappeared from the skittle.
“They’re totally white – that only took 26 seconds!” observed another.
As the class neared its end, the young scientists cleared their tables and recorded their findings and observations in their lab notebooks. Ms. Ostrover instructed students to write a conclusion, or statement, to finish the lab report. “You should be answering ‘What happened to the water?’” she explained.
The students wrote quickly and collaborated with friends at their table to incorporate each individual thought. “I hear a lot of great conclusions across the room!” Ms. Ostrover praised.
The scholars headed back to home room buzzing with delight and ready to tackle an exciting year of scientific adventures