Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Physical Science: Session 6

Challenges with Sinkers; Insights

Monique's class

Lesson at a Glance:
Curriculum: Education Development Center, Insights, Liquids Unit
Grade: Third
Topic: Challenges with Sinkers

Nearing the end of their study of the EDC Insights "Liquids" unit, Monique's third graders are attempting to make shapes from two materials that sink slowly — aluminum foil and clay. Prior to this lesson, the last of five on floating and sinking, the students had experimented with a variety of materials that sink and float in three different liquids.

In this lesson, Monique encouraged the class to manipulate all of the possible variables in order to make "slow sinkers" out of the foil and clay. In the process, the students revealed many of the ideas that are common to children of their age group, about the role of air and the placement and position of the object in rising and sinking. After the lesson, Monique commented, “What surprised me was that by this lesson, through keeping extensive journals with diagrams and text, my students were able to interact with the materials in a systematic manner, and engage with each other with very little modeling. Going forward from this lesson they will have had a wealth of experience with the macroscopic properties and behaviors of different materials in liquids.”

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