SCHOOL: Grace Christian Elementary School
PROGRAM: A Matter of Science
Scientist: Davis Tate
3rd Grade: A Matter of Science
Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching one of my favorite programs at Grace Christian Elementary School. I was teaching A Matter of Science, which does an incredible job of explaining the three most common phases of matter.
First off, I love Grace Christian, because they have an ACTUAL Science Lab, complete with eye washing station, fume hood, and even an emergency shower! Now, I don’t need any of these safety features, but it feels like it really adds to the experience in a way that a normal class sometimes just can’t quite match! I know walking into a lab setting primes me for a scientific experience, and I have to imagine it does the same for the students!
In the program, we discuss how different phases of matter can change when we add heat, ice can become water, water can become vapor. We also discuss how we can reverse this process by removing heat. We usually demonstrate this concept by freezing some cream and milk to make ice cream! Today was no different, of course, and we had a lot of fun mixing up multiple batches to not only get a hands-on science experience, but a TONGUE-on experience! (Weird way to put that, but y’know, it’s true!)
But in my last class, we lucked into a way to demonstrate one of the harder concepts in the program! During my lunch break, I spent time in the lab preparing for my last session. I was pouring Sodium Hydroxide into cups, and organizing supplies for our disappearing ink experiment, when one of the 3rd grade teachers came in to say hello. After talking for a few minutes, she offered me some water, which I happily accepted. She said she usually has bottles of water, but they were all out, so instead, she brought me a tall glass of ice water.
This was wonderful (Grace Christian has delicious water) and it came in handy during my explanation of phase changes. I always have trouble explaining how a gas can become a liquid. It can be difficult to comprehend how water vapor, which is invisible, can become water, which is visible. But lo! I had right next to me a perfect example of a gas to liquid phase change!
I had not finished my water before the class arrived, and the glass of water was still half full (I’m an optimist). As I described gasses becoming liquid, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my glass of water had collected a perfect layer of condensation on the outside of my glass! I was able to hold up my glass, and explain to the class that the drops of water on the outside of my glass hadn’t leaked out of the glass, but had condensed in the air!
It’s moments like these that I love in teaching. When something that is happening right in front of us can be connected directly to the ideas of the day! It’s an experience I will remember for years to come!
Thanks Grace Christian!!!!