Wild explosions, mind-blowing mixtures, glittering slime- there is no denying that science experiments are a popular activity in Ms. Krabbendam’s class! Every Thursday the class conducts an experiment. From “Elephant Toothpaste” to “Massive Expanding Soap”, there is never a dull moment during Thursday’s experiments! While these experiments are entertaining and provide hands-on exploration on a variety of science topics, did you know that they also provide a great way to practice different literacy skills?
Before conducting each experiment the class discusses our hypotheses or predictions. Discussing predictions in the context of the experiment is very similar to making predictions in reading. Students have to think about what they see, draw on prior knowledge, and then decide what they think might happen next.
Sharing predictions is also an opportunity for students to state his or her opinion with reasons as to why they believe that. This provides practice in providing support for opinions, which is a skill that translates into multiple literacy skills including opinion writing and supporting the main idea of a text with appropriate details.
During and after the experiment, we discuss the cause and effect of different components of the experiment. For example, when we conducted the “Massive Expanding Soap” experiment we talked about the cause and effect of putting the bar of soap in the microwave. Students talked about how the heat produced by the microwave caused the soap to rapidly expand. We then discussed what other effects different degrees of heat could produce on the soap.
After the experiment is over, students practice drawing conclusions. We are able to discuss what ended up happening and concluding the end result based on our observations. Developing students’ ability to draw conclusions is a very important literacy skill, especially as they advance in grade level.
Students love experiments and every Thursday, as we conduct a new experiment, students are practicing multiple literacy skills without realizing it!
If you would like to try an experiment with your child, take a look at our class’s all time favorite- Elephant Toothpaste!
1. 16 Ounce Soda/Water Bottle
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
3. 1 Tablespoon (or 1 Packet) Dry Yeast
4. 3 Tablespoons Warm Water
5. Liquid Dish Soap
6. Food Coloring
7. Small Cup
Step One: Pour ½ cup of the hydrogen peroxide into your bottle.
Step Two: Add food coloring to the peroxide in the bottle. Usually 10- 12 drops works best!
Step Three: Add 1 Tablespoon of the liquid dish soap to the bottle. Swirl the bottle around to mix the soap, food coloring, and hydrogen peroxide together.
Step Four: In the small cup, combine warm water with the yeast. Stir for about 30 seconds. If the yeast is not fully dissolved, add more warm water. Be careful not to add too much warm water or the experiment will not work as well!
Step Five: I recommend doing this final step outside or over a plastic tablecloth as it will get messy! Add the yeast mixture to the bottle and watch as the elephant toothpaste is created!