Floating Away

Room 13 have been learning how to write like a scientist. Our Inquiry topic has been Phunky Physics and our focus has been on movement and forces. First Room 13 learned what a prediction is and how to write one before doing an experiment. We have been integrating inquiry and writing by focusing on the solo verbs predict, explain and observe.  

Learning intention: 

  • Write a prediction and explain your thinking by using a conjunction. 

  • Make observations about what happened in the experiment. 

It is easier now to predict what will happen because I have been learning how to do this. Carter. 

A prediction is what you think will happen. Alysha 

Miss Partridge came to school with a ‘boat’ made out of a  plastic bottle, paper plates, popsicle stick and paper for the sail. The students were very curious to see what would happen when the boat was put into water. First, we watched a video about sinking, floating and density. In the video, they tested out a few different objects to see if they would float or sink. 

For each object, the students raised their hand if they predicted the object would float and put their thumbs up if they thought it would sink. 

The students then thought in their thinking bubbles before peer sharing about what they thought would happen when we put the ‘boat’ into water.  

The plastic spoon floated,  I think the boat will float. Emmy

I think the boat will float and tip over because there is only one plastic bottle, if there was another plastic bottle it would float. Robert 

I predict the boat will float, tip over and then sink because it is not even.  Aiden 

In their writing groups, the students wrote down their predictions and explained why they thought that was going to happen by using the conjunctions because or but. Once we had written our predictions in the writing groups, we tested out the ‘boat’ in water to see if the students' predictions were correct. The majority of the student’s predictions were correct as the boat did float and tip over. After watching the experiment the students wrote down what they observed.  

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Following are some examples of the student’s predictions and observations: 

I predict the boat will tip over. I noticed that the boat floated and tipped over. Finn 

My prediction is the boat will tip over and then it will float because it is a cylinder shape. I noticed that the boat fell over but it started floating because it is a cylinder shape. Sadie 

I predict that the boat will float but it will also tip over. The boat floated and fell over. I think it fell over because it is not even. Ava 

I think the boat is going to float and fall over. I think this because it needs two more bottles. I noticed the boat fell over. Henry

I predict that the cardboard and plastic boat will float because the boat is plastic and the bottle is very, very, very light.  Room thirteen noticed that when we put our boat inside a black box filled with water, we observed that it floated and bounced and dropped the but the wrong way. It dropped because it was kind of tall. Gnapika. 

To go with their scientific writing the students also made their own model 'boats out of paper plates, popsicle sticks and origami paper for the sail. 

Room 13 wondered if the boat would still tip over if we glued two more plastic bottles onto the ‘boat’ one on each side. We did this as a class and the majority of the class predicted that the boat wouldn’t tip over and they were correct as the ‘boat’ didn’t fall over this time.  The student’s thought that the ‘boat’ didn’t tip over because it was balanced and even now. Room 13 asked if they could do another experiment like this one as they enjoyed predicting what would happen and making changes to see if that makes a difference to the outcome. 

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It didn’t tip over because it’s now stable. Callan.

It’s balanced out now. Ava. 

Keywords: Scientific writing, prediction, observation. 

Curriculum links:  Science - Physical World and English - Speaking, writing and presenting

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