Science Saturday 2

For this week's freebie I'm linking up one of my Science Saturday posts -- directions for a great inquiry plus a free booklet to record the experiment. Enjoy!

The Great Banana Experiment!


Each year this is the first science inquiry we do, just as soon as we have learned about the steps of the scientific method. I like to start this the second or third day of school and it lasts for about a week. While we are waiting for our results, we can do other experiments that are completed in one class period. I prepare for this before school starts, because I need a yucky banana to set it up -- one that has gotten mushy and is all brown-spotted.

After asking the students who likes bananas and whether they like them firm or soft, I explain that I love to have a banana as part of my breakfast but I can't stand to eat them when they get soft . . . I want a nice yellow peel and a firm texture. Then I show them the banana that was in my kitchen this morning. This sets up the question: Is there some way I could keep my bananas fresh for a longer period of time?

We brainstorm some ideas. The kids can relate to the question, so they usually have good ideas for ways to keep them fresh. I write down all their ideas, which usually include things like putting them in the refrigerator (I have a mini in the classroom), putting them in a ziploc bag or a paper bag, and using one of those special bags that they see advertised on TV. We develop a hypothesis that says that how we store the bananas will make a difference and prepare to test.





Since I started team teaching I have had each class choose two ways to keep the bananas fresh that they will test. That gives us four different ways to test, and both classes follow all four. I try to have the bananas as uniform as possible, usually purchasing them the night before we start and looking for a bunch with five bananas that look the same. The fifth banana sits out on the shelf, just like my banana at home.


Over the next week we observe these five bananas, recording our observations in the science journals. Students are extremely engaged by this experiment -- part of it is their predictions. They all want to be right, of course! The academic language we use in learning the scientific method is the foundation for the rest of the year. Even in the spring we will still be referring back to this activity.


I made a recording sheet for our journals. Later in the year we will be writing all this kind of information ourselves but at the beginning of the year I know my students will need support with this (I always have to remind myself that I have second graders coming in -- not those independent third graders I said goodbye to in June!). That is here for you to download; it's meant to be copied back-to-back and folded into a book.



I have this on page 7 of my notebook; page 6 is blank for students to write about what they observe during the course of the experiment.


While this experiment is going on, we are working our way through the Investigating Questions unit with lots of content area reading and a variety of one-day investigations. Check back next Saturday for some of what we do.




4 comments

  1. I LOVE this! It is my goal to incorporate more science this year. Since I am self-contained I am going to make this a very conscious effort or I may end up "giving my science time away" like I did last year. I am super excited to follow all of your great ideas! Hopefully you can keep me on track. No pressure :)

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits
    www.mrscorbitt.blogspot.com

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  2. I hope you'll share your ideas, too! It's so hard to stay focused on science when math is the subject tested :(

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  3. This is a great back to school, getting back in the groove, science activity! Thanks for sharing. Pinning!
    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief

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  4. Thanks for sharing Julie. I'm excited to do this with my 2nd Graders.

    La Dina

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