Playing With Science: A Collaborative Field Trip (and a Collaboratively Written Post)

(This post was written collaboratively by the multiage table groups in our class.)

Our science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field trip was filled with tons of science.  The MAC class paired up with the Ada Harris MAC class and more than 80 kids rotated around the auditorium working with science activities that the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center brought to us.  Here are some of the really cool science projects we got to experience:


Station 1:  Using beans is a good way to measure weight!  Grab a scale, a washer, beans and see how many beans it takes to make it balance.  Left to right, right to left, put a block under the scale.  When you move the block it becomes uneven again because the weight is closer to one side.  Can you think of another way to measure weight?

Station 2:  One of the stations was the paper rocket launcher.  We held a foam stick-like thing that had rubber bands and when we pulled the rubber bands back and let go, the paper rockets blasted off into the sky and then landed on the floor.  When the rocket was launched into the sky it went about four feet high.

Station 3:  Hey look at all of the primary colors!  (But instead of yellow we had green).  We used markers to put colors on the inside of the cup and then poked a colored light into a hole in the bottom of the cup to see how the different colored lights changed the colors of the markers.  If you put a red lights in your cup, then the red in your cup will become bright and the two other colors become more dark.  When we put a green light in, it looked a shade of greenish brown.  What colors would you mix?

Station 4:  Static electricity tubes, balloons, even plasma balls (but not all plasma balls).  When the salt and pepper met with static electricity on the balloon, the salt and pepper clung on.  When the static electricity tube was filled with the electricity balls, the balls would fly over to any static electricity close by.  The negative energy bolts would go to any positive energy atoms from your body that touched the glass.  You can get more positive electricity when you rubbed the balloon on your head because your body has more electricity than the wool does. If you want to try this at home all you need is a balloon, salt, pepper, and static electricity.  But do you know how to make static electricity?

Station 5:  As one of the MAC class groups arrived at station five, they were curious about the wheel and disk that were there.  But before they could ask why the equipment was there, a helper told the group to form a semi-circle.  “Who wants to stand on the disc first?” she questioned.  The first person picked stood on the disc gripping the handles of the single sheet.  Next the kids voted if the person on the disc would move or not.  Surprisingly, the person did not move!  “What if I spin the wheel?” the helper said, her eyes sparkling.  The group seemed confused, but when she spun it and asked the person to rotate the wheel, it moved.  Wide eyed as they all took turns spinning, they listened and learned that they spun because of angular momentum.  And just as they heard FREEZE and had to rotate to station six, they were still spellbound by angular momentum.

Station 6:  As raindrops trickled from the sky, the MAC classes worked busily on experiments and questions.  At the parachute station we used mylar, light plastic, stickers, washers, and string to make sure that the parachute caught the air and slowly floated down because if you were a person attached to the parachute you wouldn’t want to go fast and land with a thud!

Station 7:  At one of  our favorite stations we made catapults.  We learned that the spoon holds objects to throw forward.  We also learned that the force is your hand because your hand is pulling the the spoon to make it shoot forward.  When you let go the catapult works.  When your cork moves closer to the rubber band the object will go farther and when it is closer to the spoon it won’t go as far.  FREEZE!  Clean your station and smile.  It’s time to go to the next station kids.

Station 8:  Here comes a ship, watch out!  One of the stations was about buoyancy.  Buoyancy is floating objects in the water like a beach ball, basketball, and a buoy that’s in a dock.  In this station there was a tub filled with water.  We made a tin foil boat.  Then we put pennies in, one by one.  When we put the pennies in the boat we had to spread the pennies apart so the boat wouldn’t sink.  The boat would sink if the pennies were all in the middle.  Do you know anything that has buoyancy or floats?


Station 9:  Crash!  Boom!  Crash!  The marshmallow, toothpicks, and straw houses vibrated in the “earthquake.”  Houses fell, houses stayed.  If you put the toothpicks in the straws you could make a mini skyscraper.  When earthquakes shake, will the houses break?  They might not if they are stable enough!  FREEZE!  Time to change stations.

Station 10:  On the tenth station, marbles were rolling away, speedily going into loops and step hills.  Whoosh!  “Look at the marble go down the styrofoam slide,” we yelled in excitement.  Everyone used tape to steady their loops, slides, and ramps.  “I caught the marble!”  “Remember how we did it last time?” “We can make it better!” people said exhilaratedly.  One of the things we learned is that the steeper you make the hill, the faster and longer the marbles go.  With lots of tape, and a few iterations, we managed to make our roller coaster for marbles stupendous.  “FREEZE!” Ms. Pat said into the microphone.  “Clean up, then everyone go to the next station.”

When the experience was over, many students left thinking…maybe I can go home and try some of these project again…