Extending LabVenture! at Lake Region Middle

Monday, June 29, 2015 by Kathy Minigell and Kathleen Tragert

This year we used the lessons we learned from the LabVenture program to first help our students get better acquainted with each other.  We used the cards to have the students make a web and explain their connections.  An ongoing theme in 6th grade science is Systems and what happens when a part of the system is missing or gone.  We used a Bicycle System Activity to reinforce this concept. It allowed students to create their own system as a mini-assessment.

    We then moved on to the study of the  Water Cycle as a system and experiments with water properties.  We have included some photos of the posters/activities that we did.  For all of these experiments, the students were to write a hypothesis, test their hypothesis, and write a conclusion.  One of the photos is of adhesion and cohesion.  The students were to put a drop of water on a drawn river on a piece of waxed paper and blow it along the wavy lines. They were then asked to do the same thing with a small teaspoon of salt poured on the paper.  Another photo shows the experiment about surface tension.  In this experiment, the students were asked how many water drops would fit on a penny.  In the next photo, the students were asked if they could make a paper clip float on water.  They were asked to put the paper clip on a small piece of toilet paper and float that on top of the water.  After a while the paper sinks to the bottom but the paper clip still floats. Students were asked to share their conclusions and develop additional questions they have in reference to water properties.

    In addition we taught the water cycle using Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Infiltration, Discharge, Runoff, and Transpiration. We taught “What is a Watershed” and how our watershed is a part of the Gulf of Maine watershed.  Also we taught what groundwater is and how water filters through layers to clean itself.   Another activity was the identification of Benthic Macroinvertebrates.  This activity shows the effects of water quality in a river/stream system.  Students were able to use their knowledge of systems to explain the processes that were occurring.  As a culminating activity, each student group developed  a poster of one of these systems and presented their information on each system to the class. We have included pictures of three of the posters.

    We are very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the LabVenture Summer Seminar. It enabled us to prepare our students for the GMRI field trip in the fall. We were able to carry the concepts they learned on the field trip in our systems discussion throughout the year. We look forward to the start of school and preparing students with activities based on systems and the scientific inquiry process for our September trip to GMRI.



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