I’m preparing for my science workshop that I will present at the Texas First Grade Conference in Austin next week and I thought it might be helpful to demonstrate how to take a simple activity and integrate the scientific process. Notice all the 21st Century Skills (creativity, communication, problem solving) that will be integrated as well.
Sparking Interest - I’m going to give each participant a strip of paper that I have cut out for them and challenge them to see if they can make it fly. (Cut 8 ½” x 2 ½” rectangles. Cut down the middle 3 ½” from the top as shown. Cut in ¾” slits on either side.) After a little struggling, I will demonstrate how to do it by folding in the two sides and bending each of the top sections in different directions. You can attach a paper clip to the bottom or just roll it up a few times to give it some weight. After giving everyone a chance to make their helicopters and experiment flying them, we’ll all hold our helicopters in the air. On the count of three we will drop them and pat our chests with our palms. It will actually sound like a helicopter flying.
Question – I will show 4 varieties of helicopters made out of different types of paper. What is the best material to make a helicopter?
Hypothesis – Which one do you think will fly best? Why? Label the helicopters A (copy paper), B (construction paper), C (newspaper), D (tag board). Have each child come up to the board and write their name under the one they predict will fly best.
Experiment – Choose 4 children to hold a helicopter high in the air. On the count of 3, each child releases their helicopter. Eliminate the fastest one and put a star by the one that flew best. Experiment again with three. Eliminate the fastest one and put a star by the one that flew best. Experiment with two. Eliminate the fastest and put a star by the one that flew best.
Observe - Ask each child to write or draw what happens as you experiment.
Data – Which helicopter flew the best? How can you tell?
Conclusions & Communication - Encourage students to discuss results with a partner.
*Repeat the experiment to verify results.
*Let children create their own flying objects from paper.
See, we can be scientists, too!
*Don’t forget that you can download a free copy of “I Know a Scientist” from my website this month.