Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Don't Forge the Slow Buffalo!

We had a great discussion today about the scientific method. We talked about each of the five steps (see below) and what they mean to an experiment and to real scientists. We also related a lot of it back to experiments that I will be taking on the zero gravity flight in October. Then we did something that turned out really cool. We designed a page to use this year for experiments. We have some software here at school that allows us to do graphic organizers. We did a brainstorm about each of the different parts and what we thought should be included. I had a few ideas going in but the kids just blew me away with some of the stuff they came up with. So we got about ¾ of the way done. We still have to come up with a way to grade it and a way to communicate our results. I can’t wait to see what the kids come up with for that. The nice thing about this is that the kids really did help build their assignment and they know that it is open. If they see something after we do our first experiment with it that they don’t like, we can change it.

Scientific Method
1. Observe and ask questions
2. Form a hypothesis
3. Plan the experiment
4. Conduct the experiment
5. Draw conclusions and communicate results.

Another fun discussion we had in the middle of the scientific method lesson was about buffalo. Someone asked about kids getting ahead of others during the planning phase of the experiment. Great thought, if a kid is lost, they aren’t going to get anything out of the experiment. So we talked about how a herd of buffalo is only as fast as the slowest buffalo and that the other buffalo need to help protect the slow one. We also talked about how everyone will be the slow buffalo every once in a while depending on background knowledge and experience with different concepts. I think the kids really got it and liked the idea of some people being fast buffalo on some things and not others. So our new class slogan is “Don’t forget the slow buffalo.”

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