I try to do as many of the experiments from our science books as I can. The one for the “solid-liquid-gas” lesson was to pour heavy cream into a large jar, shake it for ten minutes, and make butter. We read the steps and looked at the picture, but that wasn’t enough. We needed to do it to get the real effect.
I have a large bin I keep in the room. (Yes, in the room. I know, it is ugly and gets in the way. But I have all my science “stuff” in there, and it comes in awfully handy.) I got a Ball jar with a lid out of the bin, and had a student give me a sticky note. I wrote “CREAM” on the note and stuck it to the top of my clipboard. My clipboard usually makes it home with me, unless I lose it, and I usually glance at it and remember to bring whatever it is that I need to school the next day. I did.
We poured the cream into the jar and I let the 5th and 6th graders take turns shaking it as we went over the science lesson the next day. We would stop and check it every five minutes. After about twenty minutes, we had butter. I had another student bring me a sticky note. This time I wrote “CRACKERS” on it. This note did make it to my clipboard, but not home. So, we just left our jar of butter in the fridge, and the next day, after I remembered, we smeared our very own “homemade” butter on crackers and ate it. I did get a little concerned when one of the students asked if the jar we had used was the same one that my son had used when he brought in acorns which were full of worms. I assured them that it wasn’t -- I didn’t think it was anyway. Surely not?
So, it was very yummy, and they all got the “solid-liquid-gas” concept right on the test. Doing activities and experiments is better than just reading about them.