Monday, 24 July 2017

Sexto Activities Book is Finished

I have finished putting together the activities book with teaching notes and worksheets for sexto.  Have a great summer holiday.  Jenny
Link to download pdf:  Hands on Science: Sexto

Hands on Science Sexto: Project - Making an Electronic Device

Since the science books finish off with machines, computers and electronic gadgets, I thought that an electronic project would be a nice way to end Sexto.  I've picked out some website links for the students to look at and they can decide what to build after a bit of internet research.  They need to plan their project, make it and then present it to the class.  I suggest getting them to make a video of their project because it is a computer based activity and it will improve their performance. 

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  I have highlighted four links to simple projects but if you have students who can program and know how to put more complicated circuits together on a bread-board then encourage them.

Link to activity (pdf):  Electronic Device project

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 20 - Human Robots

Writing and following instructions is the focus of this computer-free programming activity.  There are two parts, Part 1 is about a simple dice game and getting the students to create robot style instructions for the game using repeating loops.  Part 2 is about a Robot Cafe:  They need to write instructions for a robot to make sandwiches, then they are going to demonstrate their instructions by acting as robots to the class.  You can select which types of sandwich you get the robot students to demonstrate so you can accommodate for not being able to provide all the sandwich making materials.

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  The activity requires the students to write algorithms (instruction lists), use loops (instructions that can be repeated) and put instructions in the correct order.  By acting out the activity rather that doing it on a computer I think that this will be really fun and the students with no programming experience will relate to the concepts better.

Link to activity (pdf): Human Robots Activity

Friday, 21 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 19 - Coding Lab

Blockly Games has a quite easy Maze game which I've used in this activity.  The game has very good instructions and is also available in Spanish.  I'm guessing that most classes will have some total beginners and some students that know loads more than their teacher.  Once they've worked through the first game, let them try another game or a harder game.

This activity is connected to the Objects and Machines unit.  The students need to record what they did to solve the problems in the game.

Link to activity (pdf):  Coding Activity

Monday, 17 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 18 - Magnetism Circus

This is also written in three parts to reduce the amount of equipment required and also to give the students the opportunity to try out several different aspects of magnetism.  Again, you can either have 2 tables for each part or run the activity at the same time as the electricity activity so you only need one of each experiment (this is what I've done in the past).

This activity is connected to the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Part 1 is investigating magnetic fields.  Part 2 is testing what materials are attracted to magnets.  Part three explores electromagnetism and electric - magnetic field interactions.

Link to activity (pdf): Magnetism Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 17 - Electricity Circus

I have written this activity in three parts, mainly to reduce the amount of equipment required and also to give the students the opportunity to try out several different aspects of electricity.  You can either have 2 tables for each part or run the activity at the same time as the magnetism activity so you only need one of each experiment (this is what I've done in the past).

This activity is connected to the Electricity and Magnetism unit.  Part 1 is measuring the electrical conductivity of different materials.  Part 2 is testing the conductivity of some different solutions.  Part three explores static electricity (electricity that is trapped on an insulating surface - a balloon).

Link to activity (pdf):  Electricity Circus

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 16 - Oxygen and Combustion

I saw this simple demonstration in an infantil class and thought that there had to be a way of using this effect (once the oxygen is used up, water rises up to occupy the reduced volume) to measure the amount of oxygen in the air.  After a quick scribble of the chemical equation on paper, the approximate volume change should be about 1/2 the amount of oxygen in the air.  When I did this experiment myself, I was getting about 28% oxygen in the atmosphere;  it is actually about 21% which is not bad considering how basic the experiment is.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  I have written the activity with the students repeating the experiment 3 times and using average values to improve their data.  They also need to use their volume changes to calculate a percentage and they may need calculators to do this.  I have broken the calculation down into smaller steps, if the students are capable, let them do it without the extra help.  There a loads of errors to look out for in this experiment so lots of critical thinking opportunities!
Link to activity (pdf):  Oxygen and Combustion Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 15 - Exothermic and Endothermic Processes

I suspect that any primary science teacher must dread having to talk about exothermic and endothermic processes.  These are secondary school concepts and not really very useful everyday vocabulary so here is what I've put together for teaching it in a more interesting way.  The activity has a list of different mixtures of household chemicals that the students can mix and should give a temperature change. 

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  They measure the temperature before mixing and after mixing and if the temperature goes UP - Exothermic, DOWN - Endothermic.  None of the changes are very big, 5 - 10 oC because we want to work safely but they should be enough for the students to categorise the different mixtures into endothermic or exothermic processes.
Link to activity (pdf):  Exothermic and Endothermic Processes

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 14 - Moonlight and Reflection of Light

I have already written a more technical optics experiment for the quinto book so here I've chosen an activity that is a bit space orientated.  The students are going to make a space box to model how sunlight is reflected off the moon to show why we see the different phases of the moon.  The construction is really easy and the viewing of the moon from different angles is very interesting.  The difficult part will be getting the students to draw diagrams of what they have seen.  In secondary, optics is principally about drawing diagrams of light being reflected - they don't have to get the diagrams perfectly at this stage, but try to get them thinking about where the light is coming from.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  The matter unit touches on light and reflection by different surfaces.  There is a lot of potential for talking about space and planets and there are loads of fantastic videos that could accompany this activity (see NASA or ESA websites).
Link to activity (pdf):  Moonlight Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 13 - Sound Lab

This activity has 4 parts, but mainly requires the computer room.  Part 1 is investigating what sound actually is, Part 2 involves exploring how we experience the world with sound and Parts 3 and 4 are on computers.  I have chosen two websites, the first has a tone generator so the students can play around with different frequencies of sound and test the limit of hearing.  The second is a piece of software that can be used in portable format called Audacity.  It can be used to visualise sound waves.  Using either rerecorded or other available tracks (it takes a lot of file formats), the students can investigate what sound looks like.

This activity is connected to the Interactions unit.  Audacity can simply be used to visualise sound recordings and replay them - compare loud and quiet sounds or compare different types of music eg. drumming, opera, rock music and a pure tone; the sound waves over time look very different.  Audacity is also useful if you want to do sound editing for example, if the students want to make a voice-over for a video.  I worked out how to use the basic features of Audacity by myself so I promise that it is not complicated.
Link to activity (pdf):  Sound lab activity

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Making a simple electric motor - sexto

I was looking at an activity in the text book about making a very simple electric motor and just could not work out how it could possibly work using the instructions in the book.  Basically, what is is the text book is impossible - it has wires connected to either end of a 9V battery for a start (the terminals are actually both on the same end), it does not show the magnet (rather important for something that needs electricity and magnetism) and it says the wire needs to be coiled 30 times round but only shows 5 coils.....TERRIBLE! 

So I looked up what it should actually look like and found this beautiful description of how to make the motor that should actually work.  The website is from the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and I will have a go at making it once I have bought some of the copper wire.

Link to web page:  Instructions for making a simple electric motor

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 12 - Measuring Density

This activity starts with the students measuring the density of water (the basis of the metric units system) and then they go onto calculating the densities for some other materials such as metal, rock, potato and wood.  To do this they measure the mass of each object and then they measure its volume using Eureka Cans.  Eureka Cans are easy to make using plastic jugs or 1L plastic olive containers and plastic straws.  With mass and volume measurements for the object, it is possible to calculate its volume easily.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  The students will use a simple equation to calculate density and with real numbers, they can classify why some things float while others sink.  The activity is fun and quite messy with water spilling onto the floor.  Beware with calculators:  The students need to divide the mass by the volume and most calculators have ÷ as the divide sign.
Link to activity (pdf):  Density Activity

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 11 - Using solubility differences

I have already written a solubility experiment for Hands on Science (4o) that was about dissolving sugar so I thought I would write something a bit different here. 
In this activity, the students can investigate the alcohol soluble and insoluble components of plants.  The basic extraction procedure used here is especially good for soft leaved aromatic herbs like mint.  I extracted the water, colour (chlorophyll) and smell (menthol) from the leaves and left the alcohol solution to evaporate till I had a green sticky residue that smelled of mint.  I've brought maths into the activity by getting the students to find the masses of their plant samples before and after extraction to quantify how much material was soluble in alcohol.  The dried out brown plant fibres are the insoluble remains of the leaves.

This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  I used mint, carrot, rose petals and turmeric root.  The students can make observations about what is going on and they can also calculate how much material is soluble.  I have listed this in 3 parts but I don't think that they would be complete classes and parts 1 and 2 can be done on the same day; part 2 is quite short.

Warning: do not try to wash up the evaporated alcohol soluble residues, they are super sticky and quite staining.  I had yellow hands the next day when I washed my tupperware containers - use plastic plates and throw them away afterwards!  
Link to activity (pdf):  Solubility Activity

Monday, 3 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 10 - Materials Classification

Classification is important for identifying lots of things, especially in biology (animal and plant taxonomies).  By asking yes/no answer questions such as "is it a natural material?" the students divide their group of materials until they isolate individual materials.  This builds organisational skills as well as getting them to think a bit more about the materials that are around us all the time.
This activity is connected to the Matter unit.  In this activity the students will construct a classification system for material using taxonomy.  There is a lot of vocabulary (adjectives) practice here to describe the materials, plus there are opportunities to work of question construction.  I found that about 8 different materials was sufficient to cover an A4 page.    

Link to activity (pdf):  Material Classification Activity 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Hands on Science Sexto: Activity 9 - Natural Variation

Reproduction is an amazing process, but it is not perfect because we are all different, we are not clones.  By mixing genes from two parents, and possibly having a few random mutations too, children are different from each other - they get different mixtures of genes from their parents.  Mutations also lead to a species evolving as individuals become more different. 

This activity is connected to the Reproduction unit.  In this experiment the students will collect data by measuring leaves or shells or some other living thing and use the measurements collected from the same species to generate a correlation graph for the species (blue).  If the students try to put measurements from other species onto the graph, they don't fit the line (red) because they don't share the same dimension correlations.  It is advisable to do the graph in mates in Spanish because they will probably need a lot of help to plot their data.

Natural variation in populations is an interesting approach to reproduction because it helps to explain how a class full of students are all humans but all different.  I planned this experiment with plants or shells but it can also be done with the students as representatives of the human species too.   

Link to activity (pdf):  Natural Variation Activity