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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Hearing and Sound - Science Explorations

The important thing to know about science at the primary level is that the same emphasis is placed on the students skills, attitudes and understandings.  Generally, the inquiry should lead the students to investigate the nature of things, and through their experiments, lead them to become better observers and be able to make a mindful inference.  Curiosity, confidence in their own ability, willingness to try new ideas, perseverance, willingness to work with others in a responsible and co-operative manner and respect for living things are all learner expectations.
Here is an example of an understanding that the students can gain from their shared experiment experience.  The students have already completed two different experiments to learn about high and low pitches.  Those experiments involved watching a ruler vibrate and listen to the sounds and the second was to strike various size nails and again listen to the sounds made.  This time, the students made predictions about what they would hear when a whistle was blown.  The wooden dowel changed the pitch because of the amount of air in the chamber, but the students don't know that.  Will they be able to take what they already know, their schema, and make a reasonable prediction as to what size of air chamber the whistle will make a high pitch and what size it will make a low pitch.
To ensure that the students are safe from germs, a rubber bulb was placed at the end and squeezed to push the air out of the whistle's chamber.
On this sheet, the students had to record their predictions in the first three sets of boxes.
It is only after the students have completed the experiment that they can honestly know if their thinking was on the right track.  Being able to record their ideas, and observations are also important to the science experience.

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