All of us know that Valentine’s Day symbolises LOVE. So, why limit it to Human Beings? Let’s spread love and dive into the ocean of Science this Valentine’s Day.
How does one show their love for SCIENCE? It sounds crazy, but I thought to myself if we can love and express it to people, then why not towards Science. There began my search for fulfilling this desire.
A simple experiment with my 6 years old daughter, Aymen, was fascinating enough for me to love science much more than I did earlier. Popularly known as The Elephant Toothpaste, this experiment basically is a chemical decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Oxygen, being a gas, bubbles out. This reaction is very slow in nature. But when you add manganese dioxide or baker’s yeast, it is instant! Adding a dash of soap solution and a pinch of food colour make the reaction a treat to the eyes.
Connecting this to NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, I chose to include ANALYSING AND INTERPRETING DATA as the practice in K-2 category:
”Record information (observations, thoughts, and ideas).
Use and share pictures, drawings, and/or writings of observations. “
I started by introducing my daughter to the concept of recording observations in the form of drawing. This was easy, as she likes drawing stuff.
I could see great eagerness in my daughter’s eyes while preparing the activity. She had umpteen questions, what are you adding, why are you adding it, what is this, what is that….so on and so forth.
Before we started, I had asked her to RECORD whatever she was observed in the glasses. (pic below)
Note- I had intentionally kept 3 glasses containing the same components while1 glass (not in the pic) had just Hydrogen peroxide.
Finally, the moment arrived when I was going to show her something she had never seen before. I added hydrogen peroxide into glass A containing liquid soap, yeast granules and food colour (orange).
A short video below:
Pic of the ‘toothpaste’-
The purpose of the second glass (B) was for Aymen (my daughter) to predict what would happen if hydrogen peroxide is added again. Before I could finish asking her, her prediction was already on her observation paper!
When asked whether she was sure about it, there was no hint of negativity in her reply. As she predicted, we did observe the same thing. she smugly said, “See,I told you amma!” . 😛
Now, time to observe glass ©! I told Aymen that I would be adding something else to that glass (and not the poisonous water [Hydrogen peroxide]). I asked her if she would observe the same thing.
The first reply was YES! But a few seconds later she said “maybe”. She patiently waited and watched while i added plain water to it and nothing happened. Her observation of glass (C) was something like the pic below:
On questioning why it did not give same result as glass A and B, she sat musing for sometime and eventually responded “because you did not put poisonous water in it”.
That moment was enough for me to be satisfied, as I had sowed the seed of thoughtful reflection in her mind.To my amazement, she came out with an “idea” “a plan” (as she calls it) to make the glass C show the same result like the other 2 glasses. She said ”You should throw away the things in glass C and then put the soap, yeast and food colour again and add the poisonous water. Then it will also come out of the glass.”
Here we assume that these young souls cannot plan an experiment! Not only did she ‘plan’ but also conducted it herself!
It is amazing to see how the young, nascent minds can think and do. What happens to them as they learn and become more aware about their surroundings? Where does this ‘scientific thinking’ vanish? Why do they stop asking questions; plan or conduct an investigation; analyse or interpret data; engage in argument with evidence or even share their ideas with the others?
I pose this question to everybody.What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong in making the coming generation think more rationally and scientifically? Think over it for the Love of Science this Valentine’s Day.
Programme Head, DiscoverEd