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Science teacher needing ideas

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posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:06 PM
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Not sure which forum this should go, so please feel free to move it to the correct place.
(This is not Cody, this is Cody's wife; I have hijacked my hubby's ATS account while he is in the bath to post this.)

I am a science teacher and looking for a project idea to do with a year 7 class (age group 12 years) on the subject of energy or preferably electricity. We have come to the end of the chapter but not the end of the term so I do not want to start their next subject till after Christmas and would like to fill the rest of the term with fun educational activities that will cement their understanding of electric circuits.

One suggestion is to make a 3D Christmas tree out of cardboard and wire it up with a circuit of LED lights, where they will have to build the tree and wire the circuit. Any better suggestions?

For this particular "time wasting" project we will have 2 hours but not consecutive, and I need ideas by Wednesday. Resources available are plenty of coloured papers and cards, LEDs and batteries and switches. All suggestions will be welcome. Thank you.
Cody's OH




posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by cody599
 


You could teach them to make a battery out of a lemon or lemons?
Here are some kids doing it.


Maybe make it on a bigger scale and power your lights if possible.


edit on 3-12-2012 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by cody599
 


What about the formation of ice crystals or snow flakes??? If you google electron microscope and snowflake it shows some incredible images that look man made but are natural...What a fun subject to teach to kids that age....you are very lucky...and I'm sure there are some negatives too



Link to images
edit on 3-12-2012 by chrismarco because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by DrumsRfun
 


Thanks for such a prompt reply DrumsRfun. Great one perfect for this age group. Lol, I had to laugh though because the lemon batteries is already included in my time wasting plans, we will be doing those later this week. The trouble is that I have a whole 3 weeks of lessons to revise, refresh, reinforce and just generally make sure the kids are going to ace their end of unit test.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:18 PM
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reply to post by cody599
 


More than happy to help if I can.

This one looks cool but you have to click the link from the uploader.


I am still thinking and looking.

www.incrediblescience.com...
edit on 3-12-2012 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-12-2012 by DrumsRfun because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by cody599
 

Hello Cody's wife.


One thing I would suggest is to have them try various wiring arrangements, such as series versus parallel, so that they see the differences. If you ask them beforehand to suggest what the results will be (in terms of led brightness) for a given wiring setup, this will help to test their understanding of current versus voltage.

They can also try more complex setups which are combinations of series and parallel.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by cody599
 


Not to be a wiseguy but "time wasting" and the teachers wonder why people are upset with teachers union ask for raises....I'm sure it was a bit tongue and cheek but please make it worthwhile...



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:23 PM
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Try this




your husband takes baths ?

tell him to take showers next time .. its quicker and use less water !
unless he is sick or something

edit on 12/3/2012 by Ben81 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by chrismarco
 

Sorry bud that's my wife trying to be constructive trying to make a diffrence maybe you should do the same. Her account will be open soon



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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Just another thought -- which can tie in with many others you could try: let them experiment a bit with conductivity. For example, get some demineralized water and set up a simple circuit with a battery, a load (eg led or small dc motor) and some of the water in a saucer or beaker. Let them see what happens if they try running the circuit in series. eg: positive wire from batt (+) to one connection of the load, negative wire from batt (-) into the water, second neg wire out from water and to load.

They might be surprised at the low conductivity. Then have them try tap water and finally some mineral water. (Obviously, don't use table salt because of the nasty products that are produced by electrolysis of NaCl.
) Let them see if it makes any difference if they run double wires throughout, and so on.
edit on 3/12/12 by JustMike because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:32 PM
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I mean no offense here, as I believe this is a product of the system. But nonetheless, this is disturbing to me.

I assume this is a side effect of "no child left behind", wherein, rather than it being the responsibility of the students to study and pass the test, you, the teacher, have to do 3 damned weeks of "time wasting" to assure they all "ace this test" and don't have too much to do before break. What a WASTE indeed!

The intelligence of our future is being dumbed-down through having to sit through classes taught to the lowest common denominator, and not dumbed just enough to allow them to pass, but to allow the dumbest among us to flourish. Well, from first hand experience I can tell you that this creates too much idle time in an intelligent mind, it is totally counter productive, and is moving us collectively backwards.

Again, to the OP, I am not railing on you but on the system. I appreciate that you are putting in the effort to be creative, make it fun, and help them learn. But to feel like you have to spend 3 weeks on self-described "time wasting" activities is, to me, ludicrous.

And for a relevant contribution, demonstrating conductivity by passing a simple circuit connected to a light bulb through water (light bulb doesn't light), and then adding salt and watching the light bulb turn on was a memorable experiment for me from around the same age as your students. Best of luck.

EDIT: just noticed the poster above me had a similar suggestion! Good idea

edit on 3-12-2012 by UdonNiedtuno because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by Ben81
 


Her account is now open
Good luck guys

Peggy Dee is the account name mods please move accordingly.
Thanks



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:47 PM
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This is Cody's wife again, just opened my own account because the suggestions and replies are coming in thick and fast and hubby is out the bath now. Thank you for all the great suggestions, and website links.

I am not trying to "waste time", what I meant was that the class have worked hard and completed the curriculum requirements for the unit about electricity, and I would rather not start a new scientific topic just before the Christmas break, knowing that the excitement of the holidays and the long break from school would make them forget everything and we would have to start again anyway in January. So instead I would like to use the remaining time in this term to reinforce their understanding of electric circuits. However because they have worked hard and earned the time I would like to do this in fun ways, and hence my original post.

My class is mixed ability with a full range of understanding and interests. Some kids get very excited by certain scientific topics but are bored by others. In this class some came alive when we discussed electricity, but they were the same ones who played up and got bored during studies of germs and disease. I'm hoping by introducing some fun projects into the end of the unit I can inspire and excite those who don't get thrilled by electricity. By including the creative / design aspect I will be able to reach more of my class in different ways.

So having put my point across for the teacher, I now wish to once again thank all those who have made some great suggestions. As a science teacher there are some I have seen before but there are others that are new to me, and I really appreciate the time taken to put them forward. It might take me some time to investigate these suggestions so if I do not reply immediately please understand.
Peggy



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by PeggyDee
 


Welcome to ats.
You have seen the good and the bad all in 1 page of a thread.


Welcome.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by UdonNiedtuno
The intelligence of our future is being dumbed-down through having to sit through classes taught to the lowest common denominator, and not dumbed just enough to allow them to pass, but to allow the dumbest among us to flourish.


I agree that our classes are now very mixed, but as a trained teacher we try very hard to differentiate for individuals in our class, to the extent of preparing separate work for the more gifted or slower students. What I am trying to do in this case is simply inspire those who would normally find electricity dull, because let's face it, not every subject or chapter of every subject is of interest to every individual.

By the way, thanks for the ideas too.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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reply to post by cody599
and also to post by PeggyDee
 

A note for both: it's not really possible to move the thread over to PeggyDee's account. That's simply how it is from a technical standpoint. In any case, members need 20 posts to officially start their own threads so (speaking as a member) I'd say that for the present, it's best just to keep the responses here, all in one place. In this case, Cody is effectively the OP but PeggyDee can build up her post count through replies.

For PeggyDee: I appreciate exactly what you are saying, especially in the always-difficult few weeks before the end-of-year school break. Before I moved into adult education I'd taught at all pre-tertiary levels and we often had this same situation, where we'd basically finished the assigned section of the curriculum but still had some lessons to go before the holidays. And yes, it's rarely good value to start a new course unit.

Reinforcing material they have recently studied by giving them some hands-on practical work is an excellent way to help that knowledge "stick". And most kids love playing around with lights.

Oh, a final tip: if you have a few kids that are very advanced and technically minded, see if you can get hold of a few resistors in different ohm ranges and they can try some circuits with them. If there are none on hand, they're very cheap from most of the DIY electrical places and you'd only need a few.

Even a dimmer switch would be good as it's just a variable resistor anyway. (Or any "pots" [more technically, potentiometers] from old radios and the like as they work in exactly the same way.) If you have one available and it's the old type where they can see inside it, they'll gain an understanding of why the circuit resistance varies according to how much of the rheostat's/pot's wire is being used within the circuit.

Some of the TV and home electronics repair places would probably give you a few for nothing if you ask them. A lot of the old circuitry simply gets junked anyway.

EDIT to add: technically, "pots" are adjustable voltage dividers while rheostats vary resistance, but either of them will be useful for kids who want to study this sort of thing. If you have access to a multi-meter that would be great. Then they can see what gets affected and which way (depending on the adjustment of the knob on the rheostat or pot.)

Mike

edit on 3/12/12 by JustMike because: (no reason given)


edit on 3/12/12 by JustMike because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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You could play the Death of a Planet game with them, in which they are a prestigious energy corporation and have to think of ways to destroy the Earth for the sake of profit. You grade them based on how many square miles of earth and ocean they ruin, how many species they drive to extinction, and how much money they make while doing so. It would give the kids unique insight into how the world operates. Bonus points if their corporation buys out alternative energy research facilities and turns them into shopping malls.



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:39 PM
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Thanks JustMike. I apologise. I did not intend to get around the forum rules by posting a new topic as a newbie by using my husband's account. Cody suggested contacting his ATS buddies because he spends a lot of time here and he believes there are many intelligent, friendly and helpful people, who, with these interests, would be very likely to come up with scientific projects for kids, so I tried to make it clear who I was.

I did not expect helpful replies so quickly, but when that happened I wanted to acknowledge and thank those who took the time to reply. However, hubby got out the bath and wanted his pc back. I didn't want to let those people think I wasn't appreciative, so I opened an account and replied to my own thread started in Cody's name.

To DestroyDestroyDestroy - I love that 'destroy the earth' idea. That's brilliant. I'm going to try that in the weeks coming up.


Peggy
edit on 3-12-2012 by PeggyDee because: correcting grammar



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by PeggyDee
 


Get them all to make "an incredible christmas decoration" using a single 1.5 volt AA battery.

Lights, motors, sound, anything.

Small groups or teams would be fun and you would have the most festive xmas classroom in school....cool.

I actually can't stand kids or xmas. Humbug.

edit on 3/12/2012 by nerbot because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 3 2012 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by PeggyDee
 


Just a thought peggy and maybe too advanced for a 12 year old. But you could set up leds and switches and use them to demonstrate binary code. On =1 off =0, perhaps to peak their interest you could explain that this is how their computer functions. This just occured to me while reading the thread and I thought it might be something that you could try.

Oh and a flag for the old man and several stars for you, for being a teacher who wants to inspire.
edit on 12/3/2012 by lonegurkha because: (no reason given)



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