Friday, October 12, 2012

Grow Me Observation Jars!

Hello Science Friends,
Call me crazy but I love Growing Brains this time of year. I used these in my classroom last year and had a lot of fun with Grow Me's. Last year we used these brains for some observation and notebooking activities. This year I wanted to change a few things about our activity. Instead of having just another object to compare the growing brain to, I wanted to have a brain that we grew in water and a brain that we did not put in water. When we remove the brain that has been in water and "grew" we would have a dry brain to compare it to and this way we always knew the actual size of the original brain and it helps us to see just how much the brain changed.
Last year, this is how we started our activity. We compared the brain to a decorative rock so we could have an idea of the size of the brain. We also thought of different items the brain was similar in size to. But like I said, it was so hard to really remember the size of the brain before so that is why this year I have purchased two of every Grow Me because we need to be able to compare the dry to the wet brain. 

We added our brain to our jar, added water and added our magic yellow tablet. We observed the reaction.

We added another magic tablet and observed the changes and made predictions.

This activity provided us the perfect opportunity to observe, discuss, notebook and communicate our understandings with each other.

We even had a little fun pretending to be The Scientist of the Day during our Science Meeting! During our Scientist Meetings we get a chance to use Science Vocabulary, share our understandings and learn the thinking of each other.  

I think we are ready to start some serious investigations!
This year I have changed the activity up a little bit. I now have several Observation Jars. I plan on using them during our Science Time and as a choice writing activity in other parts of our day. In Science, the Observation Jars will serve as the activity that the children can work on if they finish Science Investigations early. This is a great way to have children practice notebooking which can sometimes be difficult for young children.
I like to use Tub Tints instead of food coloring anytime I need to add color. Tub tints do not stain and are less messy and are perfect for Kindergarten Science. You can find them in the bath section or toy section in most discount stores. The children know that these jars are for observation only. When we need to remove and item to look at it an adult will help. I always explain that if someone decides to open an Observation Jar, it will be the last time they will be allowed to use it. I did not have any problems at all last year.
So where is the Science in this activity? It falls under the category of Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student develops abilities to ask questions and seek answers in classroom and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to ask questions about objects, plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations, collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words and communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations. I am excited to incorporate the use of primary balances with this activity this year! If you would like to create Observation Jars for your classroom you can find the canisters seen here at Walmart, Tub Tints were found at Target and Grow Me's come from Dollar Tree. Have fun investigating!

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