Real-life science becomes learning for life By Irene Lerner
Seeing the students’ faces light up as they make the connections between content learned and real life is extremely gratifying. It may be even more rewarding to realize that such connections, as well as their understanding of the curricula content, are not fleeting but are rather deep.
In the past couple of weeks, our fourth graders began their Electricity and Magnetism unit. While learning about current and static electricity, elements of a circuit and parts of an atom was somewhat challenging, all of them loved putting their new knowledge to test when it came time to build circuits, test different household items for conductivity, and create electromagnets. In the weeks to come the students will apply their knowledge to their electricity projects which are always unique and exciting.
In the meantime, fifth graders were wrapping up their study of Ear Anatomy and Sound with presentations of their research of a sound machine of their choice. In addition to researching the history of their machine, i.e. walkie talkie, piano, microphone, analog phone, etc., the kids explained the science behind its main working principles and built a prototype of their machine with a requirement that it made a sound. It was quite surprising, and extremely rewarding, to see that quite a few groups of students elected to use their knowledge of electricity, as well as their expertise learned in fourth grade, to create circuitry that involved multiple buzzers to make the noise. Talk about learning for life!
Shira and Aviva proudly display their first simple circuit
The turn tables produce a sound every time they are spun. Underneath the cardboard is an open circuit which becomes complete with the turn of the hand.