We had been working towards this for a couple months. We started by going out to our learning grounds to reflect on how often science benefits our communities.
With this reflection in mind, student then went through a multi-stage proposal and procedure process to prepare for “Design Your Own Experiment” Day.
The experiments ranged substantially. Highlights included:
- Manipulating one variable in the classic Elephants Toothpaste experiment.
- Investigating how our eyes move when we are lying.
- Seeing if different solutions will dissolve Gummi Bears.
- Using beads and cups to explore dexterity.
- Doing a pH analysis of the school Learning Grounds.
- Microscopically analyzing cow and pig blood.
I learnt a lot about some of the challenges of supporting such a diverse learning experience. There were certain WHMIS considerations that had to be closely monitored and I will have more clear limitations to what can be explored in order for the day to be safe. As well, I feel I just scratched the surface for how we can reflect on our communities to drive scientific inquiry. Bottom line, I look forward to trying this again with students next year!
James Davidge (@JamesDavidge) is a teacher at the Willow Park School for Arts-Centred Learning. He is also the author of numerous prose and graphic novels.