The focus of our second trimester science unit is chemistry. Today we defined chemistry as “the study of matter and the changes that take place with that matter”. We discussed the question, “What is matter?”. We looked at the website, CHEM4KIDS. We then explored the physical properties of six household substances.
In this unit, we will study chemistry through the lense of a unit titled Mysterious Powders. During the next 5-6 weeks, our class will be experiencing how scientist investigate and learn about various substances. A simulated environmental problem is the focus for exploring the properties of certain substances and for practicing the steps of the scientific process. The problem is the mysterious appearance of a white substance in a neighboring playground...what is it?...where did it come from?...is it safe for students to go out on the playground???
Students will begin by defining the problem and speculating on possible causes. They then initiate an exploration of six household white powders. They will be using everyday products such as vinegar and rubbing alcohol, and other substances such as iodine, phenol red solution, citric acid, and phenolphthalein solution.Throughout this investigation, the data are collected, compared, organized on a class chart, and analyzed. Using their knowledge of the properties of the powders they have been studying along with their analytical skills, the class will solve the mystery of the substance in the playground.
This unit emphasizes problem solving and the use of the scientific process. Students collect data using their senses, conduct simple tests, and make comparisons. They will use systematic data-gathering skills, organizing skills, and analyzing skills, and then apply what they learned to form a working explanation or hypothesis of the event.
We are very careful about teaching safe working habits. Children should never investigate an unknown substance. This will be addressed and continually reinforced in school. Today we went over the list of basic safety rules that we will emphasize in class during the unit. The students each have a copy.
If you have any question or concerns, please feel free to contact me.