Friday, November 11, 2011

Anatomy of a Science Experiment - #ElmersScienceReady

We love science!  In fact, of all the classes we do in our homeschool, science in our favorite.  We’re experiential learners, so the opportunity to explore, dissect, interact and engage using science experiments really appeals to us. 

This year, my youngest son is taking General Science and participates in a homeschool science lab.  My older son is taking biology and lab through our local co-op.  We have a lot of science going on!
Learning the scientific method is critical to good experimentation.  The method of hypothesis, procedure, data and conclusion really allows the boys to not only predict what will happen, but learn to document how it happened, why it happened and what the actual outcome can be.  My youngest and I had the opportunity through our Elmer’s shopportunity to really breakdown an experiment he was doing for General Science into a display he can share with his science lab group.

The purpose of this science experiment is to understand sedimentation: how the layers of the earth are formed when water is present.  To complete this experiment, he first had to come up with a hypothesis: 

Next, he determined the supplies we would use to complete the experiment.
He documented each of the procedures:

Finally, he conducted the experiment:

Adding the dirt layer - he got to break out the shovel for this one!

Layer 2 - adding and equal amount of sand
Layer 3 - he chose colored rocks to make them more visible
All three layers are in place.
Time to shake is all up and see how the sediment settles - hence sedimentation.
The jar after being shaken up.  He'll do this two more times.
Much to his joy, his hypothesis was correct - the layers were rocks, sand, dirt.  Although, he did find he didn’t consider that the rocks would stack leaving gaps that the sand would filter through.
After it's all settled down.

Now to create his display.  I had him go shopping with me to buy supplies.  He chose the Elmer's tri-fold foam board, Elmer's X-TREME stick glue, and Elmer's clear glue.
Lots of supplies to choose from - Elmer's really hooked him up!
Next, he had to put his ideas into action documenting in a way that would be visually appealing to his lab class helping them understand what he did and how it happened.  He worked hard cutting, designing and gluing to make his perfect project.
The new Elmer's X-TREME was great for gluing on foam board - it held much better than regular glue sticks.
As he was working, he decided that he needed a visual and textural way to demonstrate what the outcome of the project was, so he created a "mock" jar with all the sediment inside.
Here's why he wanted clear glue - to stick the rocks, sand and dirt into for his mock jar.
Looks pretty good!
Now he was ready to finish the project! 

He added a couple pictures of the actual jar, and it was all done. 

I may be biased, but I think he did a wonderful job of laying this project out.  His explanations using the scientific method, his example jar and the pictures will all be very helpful when he explains his experiment in lab class.

Nice work!

Sometimes, as a homeschooling family, we forget the importance of demonstrated learning like this tri-fold board.  He had a good time doing it, and I had a fun time doing it with him.  Yay for hands-on learning and Yay! for #elmersscienceready for giving us the opportunity to once again use their products in a creative way!

What experiments do your children enjoy?

***  This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #elmersscienceready  #collectivebias #CBias Collective Bias


  1. Great work, really!

    My girls also love science, especially L. ;D Right now we are doing a diffusion/osmosis experiment with an egg, vinegar, then corn syrup, then distilled water.

    Last week they built DNA models from pipe cleaners and beads. Hands on is lots of fun!


  2. Shyla, We LOVED the egg experiment - how cool is that? That was by far one of my favorites. :-)


  3. What an awesome experiment! We did something similar with just soil to see how it separates in water, but we'll have to try our hands at this one for a different experience.

  4. Love how he added the Jar to the board!

  5. NSAM,

    He was pretty proud of that idea too! :-)



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