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I read the article “Idea Bank: Melting a Misconception” by Jill Merolla. This article is about a lab performed by high school students. The lab is usually done by freshman students to introduce them into learning how to manipulate variables in experiments. Students begin the lab with taking out their lab design sketches that were assigned for them to do as homework the day before. The teacher wanted the students to read the lab directions and sketch a drawing of what the setup would look like. Merolla (2004) notes that the experiment dispels a common misconception students have about cold water, hot water, and ice cubes. The teacher then asks students about their setups for the experiment. A majority of the students had container sizes, number of ice cubes, water temperatures, and materials on their lists.
To perform the lab, students had warm water (around 95 degrees Fahrenheit) in small beakers and cold water in non-glass containers such as large coffee cans. Students had to first think and create a hypothesis about whether the ice cubes would melt faster in cold or warm water. A majority of students said that the warm water would melt the ice cubes faster, which is the misconception many people have. Actually, the ice cubes in the cold water melted faster than the ones in the warm water. That realization shocked many students and they soon begin to worry about whether they performed the experiment correctly. Merolla concludes (2004) that while performing the lab, students learned about the importance of variables and that ice cubes melt faster in cold water. This lab crushed the common misconception people have about ice cubes melting faster in warm water.
Merolla, J. (2004). Idea bank: Melting a misconception. The Science Teacher, 68-70.
I read the article “Trash Pie: Is Your School Serving?” by Krista M. Hoover and Mary Carla Curran. The article is about an Earth Day activity becoming a recycling program run by third through fifth grade students. Due to Earth Day, teachers asked students about where does their trash like from the cafeteria ends up. The goal was for students to learn how to protect their environment through recycling. In this activity, students were to collect data on the amount of trash from school lunches versus home- packed lunches. Students were to collect their trash from lunch daily and to classify whether the trash was food scraps, paper, cardboard, aluminum or plastic on a chart handout (Hoover & Curran, 2010). By letting students count their trash by hand instead of weighing the trash on scales, they were able to see the connection humans have on the environment. Hoover and Curran (2010) concluded that the majority of trash thrown away by school-lunch students was plastic and home-lunch students threw away more food scraps. The article received its name of “Trash Pie” because the teachers put the data collected from the trash in a pie chart.
Students communicated their data in various ways. First, there was a class discussion about the data. The teacher then explained to the students about the time it took to decompose organic and non biodegradable materials in a landfill. Next, students wrote letters to the principal, school board or local mayor explaining why recycling is important and the need for a recycling program at the school. Soon, the school had its own recycling team and program. On Fridays, students on the school recycling team would collect the recycling bins from outside classroom doors and empty them into one large recycling container. This simple Earth Day activity soon turned into a school wide effort to protect the environment by recycling.
Hoover, K. M., & Curran, M. C. (2010). Trash pie: Is your school serving? Science and Children, 54-57.
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