I’ve been waiting all year to start my Scientific Method science unit. Last year, it was my first unit, but I decided that this would lend itself to some fun hands-on activities to keep up with my students who already think they’re on summer vacation. What made doing it at the end of the year even better is that we are reading the novel, Jake Drake Know-It-All, which is about a boy who uses the scientific method to enter a project into the school science fair. I love when I can incorporate multiple subjects together, and it’s difficult to do when we have a set reading curriculum.
Last week, I tried a new science activity that I have never done before. I loved it because it is simple, and I already had all of the supplies for it at school! I found the directions over on this website.
You will need a clear plastic cup, water, a coffee filter, and a non-permanent black marker.
Before doing the experiment, I posed the question, “What will happen if you draw a black line on a coffee filter and let one end sit in water?” The students needed to make a hypothesis using an if…then… statement. Most of the students either said that the water would turn black, or the coffee filter would turn black. I also had them draw a before picture of their coffee filter on their paper.
The students will need to cut the coffee filter down a bit to fit nicely inside the cup. Then, they will draw a horizontal line using their non-permanent black marker. I passed out some flip chart markers because their markers are about ready to retire since they’ve been using them all year. I wanted to make sure they had a fresh one for this activity. Once the black line has been drawn, they need to put about an inch of water into their cup and place their coffee filter in the cup so that one end is sitting in the water. Now, the students must observe the changes that happen. I let them sit for between 5-10 minutes so they could get the best results.
When the coffee filter is done changing, the students sketched an after picture and drew a conclusion. The students were very comfortable rejecting their initial hypothesis and described what actually happened.