Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exploring Air...

One important component of learning is being able to attach new information to background knowledge or experience.  Many of the investigations within The Science Mommy are about building background, like this one...

Ages: The actual exploration is best suited to Big Kids, but Little Kids will enjoy watching
Materials: Balloon, bottle, two bowls

  • Place the balloon over the neck of the bottle
  • Fill one bowl with ice and the other bowl with hot water
  • Set the bottle into the hot water and watch what happens
  • Move the bottle into the bowl with ice and watch what happens

What's Happening? Here's a snippet of the conversation I had with Connar while he did the exploration...
Mom: What happened to the balloon & bottle in the hot water?
Connar: It filled up
Mom: How?
Connar: It got hot and it expanded
Mom:What got hot?
Connar: um...the water
Mom: Is the balloon full of water?
Connar: No, air
Mom: Where did the air come from?
Connar:  The bottle...oh the bottle got hot and the air expanded
Mom: What is air made of?
Connar: Molecules...oh the molecules got hot and moved around more

I used questioning with Connar to help him understand that air molecules don't expand or get bigger, but when they are hot they move around more.  This is evident in the balloon.  Moving the bottle to ice, cools the air molecules and the balloon deflates. 


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