I was visiting a local scrap-shop last weekend, The Scrap Exchange, when my daughter and I found some cool corks in one of the bins. She seemed to like the smooth and light feel of them. As she was holding one in each hand like tiny weights, I told her, "The cool thing about corks is that they float in water!"
So, of course, we just had to buy a few (for 3 cents each, how could I pass them up?). And of course, right when we arrived home, we just had to make them float in some water. And then, of course, we just had to collect some other little objects to see whether they float or sink. And then, of course, we just had to make a graphic organizer (Okay, so I might've initiated that step...) to show the results of what sinks, what floats, and what sinkish-floats (Flanna made up the last category name, if you didn't already guess that!).
My husband pointed out that it wasn't just weight that determined what sinks versus what floats. It has to do with which objects don't break the surface tension of the water, and their density or something like that. (I'll have to do some research before I teach that part of the lesson!) But for now, I was happy with the idea of teaching some science vocabulary: sink, float, heavy, light, above water, under water, and with helping Flanna learn to observe things carefully and record our process and results. The idea of making knowledge more visual (with graphic organizers) and helping kids organize what they learn is one that I'm always thinking about with my students, and with Flanna, too.
What science experiment or project do you remember enjoying from when you were a kid?
By the way, HOORAY! Just when I was overthinking and making myself crazy about job stuff, I got a fantastic job offer, and accepted it! Starting this summer, I'm going to be a baby language/literacy guru! More on that later! And, YAY!